Add an external app to your course in Canvas

On this page:

Identify installed apps

External apps (also commonly called external tools or LTI tools) are tools and utilities, usually from a third party, that integrate seamlessly with Canvas by virtue of their conformance with an open standard called Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI). Apps make it possible to extend, augment, or replace Canvas's core capabilities with additional or alternative features.

At Indiana University, many external apps have already been installed by the Canvas administrator to make them available to use immediately. Some may be visible in your course already, but many are hidden by default, so you'll need to expose them to use them in your course. Most are installed in all IU courses, but some are restricted to specific campuses, schools, or departments.

For a list and descriptions of the tools installed in all courses on a given campus, see External tools available in Canvas. Your course may have additional apps installed that are not listed in that table. To see the list of tools installed in a specific Canvas course:

  1. Log into Canvas, and navigate to your course.

  2. In the course navigation menu, choose Settings.
  3. On the course "Settings" screen, select Apps.
  4. On the Apps tab, select View App Configurations.

    On the "External Apps" screen, you'll see all the apps installed in your course:

    • Apps with a lock icon to the left of their name were added by an administrator at the university, campus, school, or department level and cannot be modified or removed.
    • Apps without the lock were added directly to the course by an administrator, teacher, or a role equivalent to teacher. To modify or remove course-level apps, see Edit or delete web redirects and apps in your Canvas course.

Add IU-approved apps from the App Center

Some external apps have already been vetted for integration into Canvas courses at IU, but have not yet been installed. You may install any app that appears on the App Center page (Settings > Apps) in your Canvas course. To add an IU-approved external app to your course, follow the instructions in How do I use the Canvas App Center in a course? from the Canvas Help Center.

Request apps for your course or unit

Apps that have not been approved and added to the App Center must be vetted to ensure they do not present a security risk to the faculty and students who use them.

As an instructor, if you use an application managed by a vendor with whom IU does not have a contract, and it collects protected student data, you may be subject to sanctions, according to university policy Disclosing Institutional Information to Third Parties (DM-02). If your intended use will collect any FERPA-protected data in a third-party tool, do not use it before working through appropriate institutional offices to get a contract with the service. For guidance, see Cloud resources for teaching and/or consult your campus teaching and learning center.

Approval process

The approval process for integrating an external app into Canvas can take several months, and involves getting proper contractual agreements, a UISO security review, and approval from university Data Stewards. External apps that replicate services offered by other tools integrated in Canvas will likely not be approved.

To ensure that an app is reviewed in a timely fashion, submit your request by the dates below:

  • January 1: Summer semester
  • May 1: Fall semester
  • September 1: Spring Semester
Submitting your Canvas integration request by or before the dates above does not guarantee that an external app will be approved.

Submit a request


Details about submitting a request for an external app are available to the IU community on this page.

To view all the content available to you here, use the green Log in button at the top of this page to log into the Knowledge Base.

Expose and use external apps in your course

Some pre-installed apps are visible by default, while others are hidden. Apps that you install yourself may appear immediately; others need to be manually enabled or inserted by the instructor.

Also, external apps can be used in many places in Canvas. Where and how the app can be used depends on the nature of the app itself. For example, many of the IU-approved apps (such as MathType, GraphBuilder, and LTI Maps) are designed to allow you to insert content from an external source into the Rich Content Editor. Apps like Turnitin are used primarily for accepting, processing, and/or grading student work and are exposed in Canvas assignments.

See below for general guidance on how to expose or enable external apps in Canvas by tool location. The best way to find out where an app is intended to be used is to read the documentation for the app.

  • Course navigation menu: Some external apps are visible in the course navigation menu by default, but many are hidden.

    To add a hidden tool to your course navigation menu, see How do I manage Course Navigation links?

  • Modules: External app module items are usually added manually by the instructor. To add an external app as a module item, see How do I add an external tool as a module item?
  • Assignments: External app assignments are usually added manually by the instructor. To create an external app assignment, see How do I add an assignment using an external app?
  • Rich Content Editor: To access external apps designed to work with the Canvas Rich Content Editor, in the editor toolbar, choose the Apps icon (Apps icon), and search for the app you want.

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Last modified on 2024-02-23 16:23:46.