LTI Talks Back with Content Item Message

Here’s a common use case…a teacher finds something online she wants all her kids to use in the classroom. So she copies the URL and pastes it into her learning system (LMS, Google Docs, whatever). This is so common, it adds up to a lot of work (tens of thousands of teachers pasting hundreds of URLs).

I don’t know if this wass the use case the folks at IMS had in mind when they wrote the new Content Item Message spec, but they could have. The new spec works like this:

  1. A teacher launches a “ContentItemSelection” tool from her learning system.
  2. Using the tool, she finds something she wants all her kids to use in the classroom and clicks on it.
  3. The ContentItemSelection tool sends the URL—and everything needed to LTI Launch the resource—back to their learning system.

That’s it. Done. No copy and paste. No “Create Link” forms to fill in. No strange codes to look up.

When she, or any of her kids, launches the resource; all the relevant LTI information is sent along so resource acts appropriately. For example, it may appear in “teacher mode” when teacher launches the resource, but in “game mode” when students launch it.

I have a simple example running on that you are welcome to play with. Here’s a short movie showing how easy it is Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

Source code for my sample websites can be found at

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