PebblePad integration with Canvas - more trailblazing on the open standards front.

by Richard Dando


PebblePad integration with Canvas - more trailblazing on the open standards front.

~ Integration and open standards ~

JUNE 22nd 2017· by Richard Dando



Hello and welcome to our latest blog post, which discusses all things integration. Here at PebblePad we've always liked to think of ourselves as trailblazers when it comes to eportfolio, integration and open standards. And I think it would be fair to say that another company doing more than a reasonable job of blazing a trail in the VLE/LMS market is Instructure with its Canvas offering. We are delighted to be an Instructure Partner and we've been working with the team at Canvas (yes, a double dose of trailblazing) to develop a PebblePad-Canvas integration, scheduled for release in August this year. Below you can read more about our longstanding commitment to open standards, a little bit about what it means to be an LTI certified portfolio platform and, of course, the heads-up on our new, and rather nifty, integration with Canvas.

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Banner showing open sign in shop window
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Open standards

PebblePad has always been committed to open standards. How can you promote a life-long, life-wide learning platform if your learning system operates in isolation? So what’s our history of trailblazing in the open standards arena? Well, we were the only portfolio platform ever to implement the IMS ePortfolio specification (based on IMS's content package spec) and when that failed to gain traction we worked collaboratively with the Universities of Nottingham and Newcastle to develop a brand new portfolio specification called Leap2a.

We were one of the very first learning platforms to embrace Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) as a fledgling specification and we were able to use our influence and friendship with that very clever fellow Stephen Vickers (now working for IMS) to suggest some enhancements that have moved from draft ideas into evolving versions of LTI. And now? Well, now we’re a certified LTI 2.0 platform and we were extremely proud to be the first portfolio platform to have gained certification.

As an LTI certified platform, PebblePad supports:

  • LTI 1.0 and 2.0 as a Tool Provider
  • LTI Content Item as a Tool Provider
  • LTI Outcomes service 1.0 and 2.0
  • IMS Membership/Rostering Services offered by the Tool Consumer

PebblePad is also developing as a Tool Consumer with a range of LTI 1.0 and 2.0 services supported. Find out more about LTI here on the IMS website.

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Canvas by Instructure Logo

Our new integration with Canvas, scheduled for release in August of this year, will support the following:

1. Assignment linking and rostering

Canvas Instructors/Tutors will be able to create a direct link from a Canvas assignment into an assignment on Pebblepad's assessment space, ATLAS. The integration will also automatically synchronise all members of the Canvas course with the corresponding PebblePad assessment workspace and, rather cleverly, assign the correct role permissions (e.g. Tutor/Student) in something which is also known as rostering.

The image shows how content from PebblePad's eportfolio platform can be embedded in Canvas assignments
Image 1 shows how PebblePad content and resources can be embedded within Canvas assignments.
Image shows roles in Canvas being mapped over to PebblePad's assessment space
Image 2 shows an example of how role profiles (e.g. Course Designer) are assigned in Canvas.
Image shows roles in Canvas being mapped over to PebblePad's assessment space
Image 3 shows how the integration maps and synchronises roles assigned in Canvas to PebblePad's assessment space, ATLAS (student memberships are also mapped through the integration but are not shown in this example).

2. Allowing Canvas to make use of PebblePad resources

Instructors/Tutors will be able to link to PebbePad resources using content-item (for example, a case study template) for students to complete as part of their assignment in Canvas.

Image shows a PebblePad template which can be launched directly from a Canvas assignment
Image 4 shows an example PebblePad template being launched directly from within the Canvas assignment.
Image shows a PebblePad template being submitted for assessment
Image 5 shows a completed PebblePad template being submitted to an assessment workspace for grading.

3. Grading

Canvas instructors will be able to grade submissions in the PebblePad assessment workspace (e.g. a completed journal of reflections) and students' grades will be sent back to the Canvas assignment as soon as the release of feedback and grades is authorised from within the PebblePad workspace.

Image shows a PebblePad template being graded in PebblePad's eportfolio assessment space, ATLAS.
Image 6 shows how the completed case study template (as shown in Images 5 and 6 above) can be graded in PebblePad's assessment space.
Image shows grades being passed back to Canvas from PebblePad
Image 7 shows how the integration passes grades assigned in PebblePad (Image 6) back to Canvas.
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Richard is PebblePad's Head of Brand & Communications and joined Team PebblePad as a consultant in 2012 after working in a range of L&D roles in the charity and technology sector. On any given day you're likely to find Richard with a sketch pad and more coloured pens than you can wave a stick at, leading on all things creative and strategic on the communications and brand front. Richard is super passionate about all things PebblePad, and spreading the word about PebblePad and the amazing things it can do really has become his technology baby. Outside of work, he’s the proud dad of two happy, human children.