The LTI standard becomes part of every major LMS

Is your LMS LTI-compliant?

With the growing acceptance of the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard, and the 2.0 version on the horizon, LMS platforms are becoming more fluid, with content flowing in and out via many third-party tools.

LTI provides an open, standard way for third-party tools to connect to any LMS (Learning Management Systems); and a wide range of outside software can be implemented. Also, as an open standard, it avoids vendor lock-in. This means that if a school migrates to another LMS, existing third-party tools that are LTI-compliant will continue to work with the new system without needing to tinker any further.

Samples of third-party applications that are sitting out on the cloud include the video capture program Panopto; the digital storytelling and collaboration app VoiceThread, the anti-plagiarism software known as Turnitin, and an asynchronous learning tool called YouSeeU that can be used for online student presentations and discussions.

The Canvas LMS is leading the LTI charge. It maintains an LTI directory of compliant applications at, listing over 125 apps. Included are familiar names like YouTube, Khan Academy, Twitter, WordPress, McGraw Hill Campus, CourseSmart, Ted Ed, Wikipedia and DropBox. Some apps require an administrator to install them, but others are designed for a user to plug into the LMS themselves.

A list of both platforms and tools that are certified to be LTI-compliant is maintained at

Some large institutions, like the University of Michigan and Western Governors University, are already building according to LTI standards.

Coursera will offer 50 MOOCs in Spanish

By the end of the year, will offer 50 Spanish-language MOOCs.

This initiative comes as a result of a partnership with the Carlos Slim Foundation, a Mexican philanthropic organization.

“Our alliance with Coursera will allow training in Mexico, Latin America, and in the Hispanic community in the United States, promoting human capital at the highest level,” said Carlos Slim Helú, the businessman and philanthropist behind the foundation.

The partnership will focus on courses tailored to Latin America’s employment needs in computer science, health care, and public health.

The Carlos Slim Foundation plans to reach low-income communities by offering MOOCs at its Telmex Digital Libraries, a network of more than 3,000 computer centers that provide free Internet access. announces MOOCs for K12 teachers

Coursera, a leading MOOC provider, has announced that it will begin offering free professional development courses for K12 teachers. Many of the courses will focus on the skills that teachers need to effectively design and teach online courses.

The courses will be provided by seven leading schools of education, including the University of California at Irvine (UC Irvine) and Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education, along with several other partners such as leading museums and other educational institutions.

“MOOCs will definitely become an important piece in a teacher’s professional development,” says Melissa Loble, Associate Dean of Distance Learning at UC Irvine. That’s because MOOCs are easier to fit into a busy schedule than an on-site course and they offer a broad range of topics to study, she adds.

For instance, courses involve integrating engineering into science, engaging students through cooperative learning, and putting the new Common Core standards into action.

> MOOC: Emerging Trends & Technologies in the Virtual K-12 Classroom

MOOCs go to high and middle schools

MOOCs can be a great way to supplement and enhance K12 students’ curriculum. These courses can work very well for blended and individualized learning –because they can be a solution for students who need extra time to succeed.

Some K12 educators are beginning to incorporate them into their classrooms.

MOOCs can help students accomplish their personal goals, such as learning new languages, or studying specific disciplines. In this type of learning environment, MOOCs would be similar to attending after-school activities, field trips, visiting museums or researching topics of interest.

Some revealing samples we have extracted from this article:

  • Andover (Mass.) Public Schools’ students get high school credit for the course but no grade upon completing the courses.
  • The University of Miami’s Global Academy, which is a virtual high school, developed its first MOOC specifically for high school students last year. The three-week course focused on preparing students –mostly juniors– to take the SAT II test in biology. Also, the high school has provided a MOOC to prepare students to take the Advanced Placement calculus exam.
  • The math, biology, and physical sciences’ teachers from Brown University Continuing Education from both middle and high schools are using the MOOC as a mini-unit in their classes, or as an after-school project.
  • Enterasys launched a MOOC initiative to provide students who are interested in learning more about IT. The free technical education classes provide technical skills achievement in fundamental areas around IP data networking, wireless technologies and security concepts—all key areas of recognized growth within the IT space. Unlike traditional MOOCs, the Enterasys MOOC is self-paced and students can attend the weekly scheduled module when it is best for them.
  • Reynoldsburg (Ohio) City Schools’ eSTEM Academy combines MOOCs with live classroom instruction for grades 9 through 12. Teachers use the online content along with the problem-based learning work that is part of the academy’s goal.

Additional readings:

The World Economic Forum launches a learning platform for professionals seeking up-to-date strategic knowledge


The World Economic Forum (WEF) has created Forum Academy, a new learning platform based on the Open edX technology that provides audiences with the opportunity to participate in discussions, addressing global, regional and industry-oriented challenges through courses.

“The Forum Academy is poised to satisfy the need for up-to-date strategic knowledge demanded by professionals who need to keep abreast of fast-changing landscapes across regions and business sectors,” explains edX.

These courses in Forum Academy will allow leaders to access the knowledge of a dynamic, global network of experts. The first course, “Global Technology Leadership”, includes leaders from Carnegie Mellon University, University of Michigan, and Tom Preston-Werner, CEO and Co-Founder of GitHub.

Higher education partners with Hollywood to produce a MOOC
This is what happens when MOOCs, marketing and mass media collide:

AMC, the cable television channel, is using a MOOC to promote a popular show, “The Walking Dead” .

The channel has partnered with the University of California, Irvine (IC Irvine), and four Ph.Ds to teach the course titled “Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead.” According the official registration page, the course explores the spread of disease, social structures, and the role of the government in public health, among other themes.

Just take a look at the courseware to see that is not a crazy, stupid course:

  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs—is survival just about being alive?
  • Social order and structures—from the farm and the prison to Woodbury
  • Social identity, roles, and stereotyping—as shown through leaders like Rick and the Governor
  • The role of public health in society—from the CDC to local community organizations
  • The spread of infectious disease and population modeling—swarm!
  • The role of energy and momentum in damage control—how can you best protect yourself?
  • Nutrition in a post-apocalyptic world—are squirrels really good for you?
  • Managing stress in disaster situations—what’s the long-term effect of always sleeping with one eye open?

The course has engaging lectures, interviews, articles and academic resources. It uses key scenes from the show to illustrate aspects of learning. Students are able to participate in large and small group discussions and test their learning with quizzes.

Instructors use video lectures, discussion forums and social media to provide learning materials throughout the eight-week course.

The platform used for this MOOC is the Canvas LMS.

Experts agree that this partnership between higher education and Hollywood is groundbreaking and provides an interesting insight into the future of marketing, education and educational content.

The impact in the corporate learning industry

Another key trend of 2014 will affect the corporate learning sector.

It is no longer enough to train your employees to do their jobs more effectively.

A successful learning and development program should encourage the growth of the organization while establishing a culture of continuous learning.

The $60 billion corporate learning industry is technologically outdated. This year we will see how some leading organizations start to implement new, advanced technologies and platforms such as Open EdX and Canvas.

Learning in the workplace is going to change dramatically.

What to expect from education technology in 2014

The one guaranteed constant in education technology is change, and that change is definitely accelerating.

Among all trends in education technology expected to make waves into 2014, we’ve found the following from a report in The Journal.

  • Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) into classroom programs. Tablets are less expensive devices and are seen as a better option than traditional laptops. Learning is increasingly becoming mobile and sites are implementing responsive designs to accommodate all forms of technology.
  • Social media as a teaching and learning tool. When combined with meaningful engagement, social media technology can be a powerful tool to reinforce learning and establish effective communication skills.
  • Digital Badges. They serve to validate the importance of after-school programs and other informal learning opportunities.
  • Open Educational Resources (OER). They will soon be widely used in K-12.
  • iPads’ growth. Learning has become increasingly interactive and can happen anytime, anywhere.
  • Learning analytics. They can help instructors identify struggling students; they can boost course and college completion.
  • Learning Management Systems (LMS) for blended and online learning continue to gain a stronghold, mainly when it is about creating flipped classrooms. It results in improved student performance.
  • Gamification of education. Effectively designed games can stimulate large gains in productivity and creativity among learners, because they impact positively on problem solving skills, motivation and engagement.