Google Classroom Does Not Support LTI
Arguably, the biggest difference between Google Classroom and other LMSs is Google Classroom’s lack of support for the LTI standard, developed by 1EdTech Consortium. The LTI standard is designed to give publishers a method to develop content that could be integrated into any LTI-compliant LMS. While many major LMSs, such as Schoology, Canvas, and Moodle, have adopted the LTI standard, Google Classroom has not.
LTI works by allowing users to launch into an external application from the user’s LMS. The content contained in the application also appears within the confines of the LMS. Since Google Classroom does not support LTI, users will have to log in using a G Suite API SSO integration. Users who log in using SSO with Google will typically start on the developer's external application and sign into their account there. Once signed in, the user can then use the integrated features of the application, such as assignment creation and grade passback, with the Google Classroom instance.
Google Classroom Does Not Support Full Rostering
Many platforms and applications require that users are pre-provisioned accounts before the user logs in. Meanwhile, Google Classroom forces developers to provision accounts “on the fly” when users log in. Additionally, course rosters cannot be automatically updated through the API. If a student logs in using Google's SSO but leaves the class, then the developer of the app must manually remove the student. Applications that require rostering from a provider, such as OneRoster, will have an extremely challenging task of reconciling that data with the list of users from Google Classroom.
In addition to LTI and rostering challenges, developers who wish to create Google Classroom integrations may run into additional issues that must be considered.
For example, the Google API requires that developers submit an application for verification if the app uses certain sensitive scopes. Many of the functions of the Classroom API require the use of a sensitive scope. Developers should plan on having to submit their application and make a case to Google for needing to use the sensitive scopes.
The Google Classroom API also is updated frequently. Furthermore, Google does not offer support for the development of Google Classroom integrations.
Onboarding is another problem that every educational application has to solve. On top of the rostering issues discussed earlier, the onboarding process will require educating school administrators, teachers, and students on how to use the integrated features in the application. For schools that use G Suite for Education, the tech admins must also whitelist the app so their teachers and students can properly access your content.
How to Overcome the Challenges
These challenges are more frequently faced by developers who are new to the G Suite and Google Classroom APIs. Onboarding a school onto an edtech with a new Google Classroom integration is often more challenging than one might expect. Aspects of integration, such as rostering and sensitive scope verification, can act as roadblocks to an otherwise successful product roll-out.
Read More on Google Classroom
Here are other articles we’ve written on Google Classroom to help you on your integration journey:
- How to Implement SSO for Google Classroom
- How to Whitelist an Application in Google
- Should I Integrate with Schoology or Google Classroom
- What Information is Available Through the Google Classroom API?
- How Your App Can Sync Assignments and Grades with Google Classroom
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