Why eLearning Applications Would Implement Schoology SSO

By implementing a SSO for Schoology, applications allow school admins to manage accounts and passwords through Schoology – rather than the app. This would let edtech developers not have to build (or manage) a database containing sensitive passwords – a plus. And apps wouldn’t receive as many support tickets from users who are having trouble figuring out how to sign in. Why? In this case, school admins are responsible for managing Schoology passwords already. So, it wouldn’t make sense for an app to do that as well. And the tickets that would get directed to the app, now would just stay with Schoology.

By building SSO solutions into the app, developers will also be able to do further integrations – think course syncing and grade passback. Integration features like these let apps act on behalf of authenticated users. Many schools are interested in apps that can provide these functions (and more) with Schoology. Schools with RFPs for these integration features, ultimately seek a realistic end-user experience.

Method 1: Schoology SSO through API Integration

Schoology can facilitate an SSO integration through the Schoology API. When integrated, users can start on an edtech website or mobile app, and click a "Sign In With Schoology" button. Schoology then prompts the user for a username and password. The app never sees the password the user entered.

After signing into Schoology, the user is redirected back to the website/app with a code that corresponds to the account. Using this code, the app can ask Schoology for more details about the user, such as personal information, course enrollments, or assignments.

Schoology gives school admins 2 options for where to authenticate:

  • Schoology's website directly, or
  • a custom domain that users at their school are directed to.

If you haven't planned for these scenarios, you could run into problems when trying to sign in users who need to log in at a different URL.

Method 2: Schoology SSO Through LTI

Schoology supports LTI 1.1, which is now depreciated. LTI apps are designed to be accessed within a course in the LMS. LTI apps must be configured by a teacher or administrator so that students in the course can access the app. Students and teachers can then launch into the application by selecting the tool from the course in Schoology. The process of launching the tool lets the app verify the user's identity and grant the user access.

With a Schoology LTI integration, SSO is always initiated from the LMS (i.e. students won't visit a website or mobile app to access the resource). After the LTI launch, the developer receives a set of URLs that can be used to perform further integrated functions, like grade syncing.

What are the challenges of SSO with Schoology?

There are some issues that app developers may encounter when trying to integrate an SSO solution into the app.

  1. Many apps try to identify users who sign in through Schoology by a user’s email address. Doing this can lead to problems and leave users vulnerable.
  2. Developers may also try to assign a universal role to students, teachers, and administrators in the app based on the user role in Schoology. But Schoology allows users to have multiple roles depending on the context – making roles more complex.
  3. With LTI’s multiple versions, each LMS handles LTI integrations differently – even if the LMSs support the same version. So, an LTI app for another LMS – like Moodle – doesn't always mean the app is going to work the same way in Schoology.

‌Read More on Schoology or SSO

Here are other articles we’ve written on Schoology or SSO to help you on your journey:

If you're looking for a partner who can help guide you through developing Schoology or SSO integrations (like these), then let’s introduce ourselves. We’re Edlink!