Partner Integration (PI) Glossary

What is VitalSource LTI 1.3 Partner Integration (PI)?

Our Partner Integration (PI) aims to create the easiest experience for getting our users into a publisher's courseware platform through the VitalSource LTI tool. To do this, we build the integration to take advantage of single sign-on (SSO). Single sign-on allows the user to be "signed" into the publisher's courseware by clicking "Launch Courseware" or by using deep links. This allows for a codeless user experience where users don't need to leave the VitalSource (VST) LTI tool to access publisher courseware.

PI Glossary

Below is a glossary organized by when users interact with the feature: 

  • Courseware: Digital, online solution that facilitates a virtual classroom experience. By a large number, they will include online assessments, which can include automatic grading. They can also contain additional learning resources such as videos, tutorials, virtual labs, etc. This courseware is designed, owned, and operated by the publisher. Due to this, features will vary between the different courseware platforms.

  • Instructor Sign-Up: Since instructors are given free access to the courseware platforms, there will always be some kind of approval or sign-up for the instructor to be verified. Some publishers will allow VitalSource to approve the instructor automatically, just by the instructor simply launching from the VST LTI tool. Others require the instructors to follow a different sign-up process through their site.

  • Learning Management System (LMS) Course: This is the course within the institution’s LMS. Generally, these courses are set up by the LMS admin, on behalf of the instructors. Users are rostered into these LMS courses and then access the VST LTI tool from within their respective LMS course/s.

  • Courseware Course: Similar to LMS courses, the publisher’s courseware will often have a respective course association within the courseware platform. Generally, this means that one LMS course and one courseware course will be paired together.

  • Courseware Course Creation/Copy: To create the course within the courseware platform, some publishers require the user to log in directly to the courseware to create or copy existing courses. Our goal is to work with the publishers to allow for this action after accessing the courseware from the VitalSource LTI tool. But, not all courseware platforms will support this.

  • Full VST LTI Proxy: Just like we install our VST LTI tool in the LMS, we are able to work with the publisher to set up VST’s Launch as if it were an LMS. This allows us to act as a “proxy” between the school’s LMS and the publisher's courseware platform.

  • Single Sign On (SSO): Single sign-on means VitalSource has created a trusted and secure connection with the courseware platform. The result is that the user will be “signed” into the publisher’s courseware simply by clicking the “Launch Courseware” link or accessing courseware content via a deep link. After arriving, they will not be asked to re-authenticate or sign into the courseware.*

    • *Note: The very first time a user arrives in the courseware through this integration, they will be asked to sign in to an existing account or create an account.

  • Deep Links: Deep links allow users to be taken directly to assessments and other materials within the courseware.

      • In the LTI 1.1 integrations, a deep link was required for every single grade-able item. This is not the case with 1.3, as there is a new protocol, the Assignment & Grade Service (AGS), "which seamlessly syncs grades, progress, and comments from the LMS platform’s gradebook greatly reducing faculty effort and the chance of errors" (1).  This LTI 1.3 integration is more scalable and doesn’t require deep linking for every grade-able item.
  • Grade Sync: Instructors will often use the LMS to deliver and display student grades. Using the Assignment & Grade Service (AGS), VitalSource is able to pass the grades from the courseware’s assessments back into the LMS.

  • Equitable Access (EA): Equitable Access provides every student convenient, day-one access to all their required course materials at one predictable, equal, and affordable rate.

  • Inclusive Access (IA): IA is like EA, except it’s scoped to a course - instead of all courses.

  • Opting: In both EA and IA, the user will have a chance to "opt out" or back into the program.

  • Opt Record API: Some publishers will allow for users to log directly into their courseware platform. Building out an API with the publisher allows us to send a user’s opting status in near real-time. This means that if the user opts out of their course materials and tries to access the courseware outside of the integration, the publisher will know the user has opted out. This is important to publishers, as they can ensure that users do not gain access to the courseware for free.

  • Course adoption API: Some publishers want to know when a course’s materials are ready and paired within Launch. We have found they use this information in one of two main ways:

    1. They have a dashboard that informs the sales team when they can go in and train the faculty on the integration.

    2. This API informs their courseware platform directly. This can be in the form of start/end/census dates, or to prepare the course for Inclusive Access.


1. 1EdTech: Why Platforms and Tools Should Adopt LTI 1.3


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