Canvas: Requesting External Tools


There are a number of external tools (also called LTIs or apps) available that extend the functionality of Canvas. Some external tools are pre-installed in Canvas and can be enabled in a course by adding the tool to the course navigation or by accessing it when configuring an assignment. See the Canvas External Tools guide for a list of the tools currently available for all course sites.

External tools are associated with textbooks, practice tests, ways of collaborating between peer learners, and supplemental published materials that integrate into the LMS. External tools frequently have accessibility challenges due to the nature of the material. Some publisher’s lack commitment to accessibility, for example in their use of frames. Inaccessible collaboration tools offer a high degree features that benefit non-disabled learners, which do not consider the needs of diverse learners.

Requesting External Tools

  1. Consider the list of available tools in course navigation settings before looking into external options. Many pre-approved tools will appear here and can be activated by enabling them on your course navigation menu.
  2. Check the ITS Tools and Services listing provided on the Safe Computing site. If the external tool is not listed, fill out the Canvas Learning Tools Interoperability form to request the external tool installation. Once we receive your request we will follow up with with you regarding the reason for use, and the course the external should be added to.
  3. ITS Teaching and Learning will provide a conditional installation, which installs the external in a specific course only—not for use by all Canvas instructors. We will work with the tool provider to secure a FERPA agreement and an assessment of tool accessibility.

Canvas Tool Approval Steps Diagram

External Tool Approval

In order for a external tool to be provided for all Canvas instructors, ITS Teaching & Learning must first secure a FERPA agreement. Teaching & Learning will reach out to the external tool provider and ask them to sign a FERPA agreement. This will ensure that student data is treated responsibly and the University of Michigan will maintain ownership of any data. In addition, Teaching & Learning will also request an accessibility assessment of the tool.
Note The process of approval can take some time. ITS Teaching & Learning will notify the requestor when the external tool is approved.

If the external tool is approved for use by all instructors in Canvas, the tool will be added to the list of approved external tool on the Safe Computing site. The listing will include a description of the tool, what data has been approved, and links to more information.

If the external tool is not approved for use by all instructors in Canvas, there are two outcomes:

  • The tool may be approved for use only by the instructor who requested it.
  • The tool is not approved for any use due to data stewardship or security concerns.


Approval Steps

  1. Request
    Instructor requests new External Tool (LTI) installation for tool not currently installed at account level.
  2. Conditional Installation
    ITS installs the External Tool at course level and begins tool assessment.
  3. Tool Assessment
    ITS contacts tool provider to obtain FERPA agreement and accessibility assessment.
  4. Review
    FERPA agreement status and accessibility state are assessed and determination is made to approve/deny installation at account level.
  5. Installation
    Approved tools are installed by ITS at account level.
Last Updated: 
Tuesday, April 13, 2021