Introduction to LTI Names and Role Provisioning Services

Introduction to LTI Names and Role Provisioning Services

What is LTI Names and Role Provisioning Services?

Names and Role Provisioning Services is a recommended upgrade to provide deeper integration of LTI enabled products, providing access to a list of users and their roles within an organizational context such as a course or program.  Names and Role Provisioning Services enables instructors to automate the provision of student lists via LTI to an external tool. LTI does not pass user information in its default configuration. Using Names and Role Provisioning Services user information can be passed in a safe and secure manner. The Membership feature also allows instructors to be given a display showing the activity of all their students.  

What education use cases are supported by the specification?

LTI launch messages will pass details about a user and their role in the current context as part of the launch message which can be used by the receiving tool/application to provision new users. However, there are many cases when a tool needs to have a list of users ahead of time in order to set up the learning activity. This service allows tools to request a list of the data they would receive when a user launches without having to wait. This may include their name, email address and role depending upon how the relationship between the two systems has been configured.

Who is this important to?

It is important to teachers who need a list of students within an external tool in order set up a learning activity. It also benefits some third party products which need to know how many users are enrolled in a course, even if they never actually launch into the product.

What problem is being solved?

Setting up students to use a learning tool for a new session can be time consuming. Having a list of users for a course allows an external tool to pre-provision accounts and expedite the process when a user launches for the first time. It also allows instructors to be given a display showing the activity of all their students, including those who have yet to get started. An external content provider may also use these lists for licensing their products.

What are the spec features?

  • Provides access to all the data specific to users which would be received when/if they were to launch into the external tool/content
  • The list may be requested for the context (e.g. course) or limited to only those users able to access a specific launch link; in the latter case, the data provided will give access to the associated gradebook column (if any) to read and write grades for each student
  • May include both active and inactive members
  • Requests may be for only users with a specific role, or for all
  • A change history (differences) option may be provided to identify added and deleted members
  • All transactions are secured by the same LTI credentials as for launch messages

What is the normal process flow?

The Tool Consumer (typically an LMS) launches the Tool Provider. The Tool Provider performs a request for a membership list. Tool Consumer responds with the list for the requested organization context.

Does this update or replace one or more existing specs?

This service provides access to a membership list for a single context at a time, and does not offer any functionality for third parties to update the list. For more complete membership provisioning services such as the 1EdTech Learning Information Services (LIS) specification or the 1EdTech OneRoster specification should be used; this service offers a small but useful subset of those specifications for most LTI integration scenarios.

What additional information is important about LTI Names and Role Provisioning Services?

This service returns members in specific requested organizational groups and not system-wide.