The Western Canadian Learning Network represents school districts in Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon and the Northwest Territories. 51 districts receive WCLN support in all things online learning, with a soft spot for Free, Open Source Software. They include:
- Open Educational Resources
- Sustaining Teaching Communities
- Staff Training
- Cost-Saving Initiatives
- Industry partnerships
- Support for the delivery of online learning through the Moodle LMS.
WCLN is a relatively sizeable and diverse community of schools. Each institution is autonomous when it comes to its own LMS setup. But they all need to deliver the same core curricula for basic and middle schoolers. There was little persuasion needed to bring them all aboard the Learning Tools Interoperability train. Being in one of the most Open-friendly places on earth does help, to be sure. In any case, thanks to LTI pooled instructional design resources allow for a higher quality of educational content. An Open Source LMS acting as both LTI “provider” and “consumer” is the icing on the cake, as it enables schools to exchange best practices and solutions without fear of license violations. Moodle is the recommended choice, but schools are free to choice their LMS. THei
WCLN supports the development of LTI Message Handler plugin, currently maintained by Colin Bernard. It is the only LTI plugin for Moodle that is in active development. A surprise, given the consistent interest by the open learning communities on interoperability and decentralization.
Other Moodle plugins do provide LTI support. But the killer app of Bernard’s plugin is its “message handling” capability. Built to replicate Canvas LMS‘, it has the potential to connect its growing LTI app marketplace to Moodle.
Another feature many will welcome in this plugin is the flexible “iframe” sizing. When Moodle is set as the “LTI Consumer,” the window embedded on the LMS pages are no longer “laughably small and impossible to view.” (Bernard’s words.)
LTI Message Handler last update as of writing was March 2019. It currently support Moodle 3.4 to 3.6.
Bernard is both the developer of the LTI plugin that works as a connector, and a series of educational games and media activities for the consumption of the WCLN community through said connection. He splits his time between WCLN and Lingel Learning, Certified Moodle Partner and provider of full-cycle services from hosting to training and consulting, where he works as a Moodle Developer.
In addition to the plugin, WCLN provides additional documentation about the LTI configuration, and some basic guidance on plugins and even Moodle hosting options.
WCLN’s Moodle site maintains a vast offer of courses for their members across a wide set of topics, from basic curricula to personal management and professional development. Faculty from member schools can download content, or connect to it through LTI.
Longstanding FOSS in education initiatives make of the maple syrup land a haven for Open EdTech. The 14th largest Moodle nation (in registered sites) is at the Open Data and OER forefronts. Interestingly, they are ongoing nationwide thanks to public support, but with minimal help from the central government. Canada’s education system is instead managed independently by the provinces and territories.
Download the LTI Message Handler plugin for Moodle LMS
Tested for compatibility with Moodle 3.4 to 3.6 only.