Community Contributor

Learn how to extract the context id within a course and create the csv file needed for the Zoom LTI integration.


3 7 2,498
Coach Emeritus

I've been making some recordings recently on the theme of dealing with with coronavirus shutdowns that so many schools have been experiencing.  I posted one of my episodes earlier dealing specifically with using Zoom to remote proctor a written exam (Using Zoom to remote proctor an exam) but thought I'd create another post to contain all of my recordings and keeping adding to it.  The focus of the recordings is more around questions we are getting asked right now at my school, so if they don't seem well organized and linear, that is why.  But, I figured some people might still appreciate them.

Episode 1: Hardware considerations for Zoom and Recording

Episode 2: Scheduling Meetings in Zoom

Episode 3: Notifying students in Canvas about Zoom Meetings

Episode 4: Proctoring a written exam using Canvas and Zoom

            Addendum to Episode 4: Using CamScan and Canvas Student to submit a paper assignment or exam

Episode 5: Embedding Simulations in Canvas (Science type stuff)

Episode 6: Using the Canvas / Zoom Integration to Schedule Zoom class meetings

The Rickster

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Community Member

342085_Contingency Plan.png

During COVID-19, all online educational platforms have a responsibility to our teachers and students. I co-founded Instructure in 2008, and I recently co-founded the Derivita online math system with Ryan Brown. As you can imagine, the education community is incredibly close to my heart.

Many of you have already felt COVID-19’s impact on your classrooms. If you’re already using Canvas, the change from teaching in a classroom to fully online will be a bit easier.  But teaching math remotely without an online math system can still be incredibly tricky.

To aid you in this transition, we are offering the Derivita math homework system for free, Spring and Summer semesters. We will also install it on your Canvas course in under 24 hours, so the disruption you are already feeling will be minimal.

See my post introducing Derivita New Math Engine for Canvas 

Email us at info@derivita.com, and we will do everything we can to provide you with guidance. 

You can also find us at derivita.com, where you will learn how students around the world use our online system to learn math from their own homes. An online classroom does not need to be a lost learning moment for your math students.

We are privileged to serve the wonderful education community. We care about you, and we’re here to help.


Devlin Daley, CEO at Derivita, Co-founder of Instructure

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Community Participant

Hi Fellow Admins,

Hope you are all making though this crisis. Have any of you come across this when using Respondus Lockdown Browser.

I have been able to hack the browser and allow it to open new tabs. 


The vendor is blaming it on Slow Internet. 

Thank you 

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Community Champion

A long, long time ago, in an office somewhere in my building (I'm guessing), a conversation probably nothing like this took place:

vintage secretary

"Okay, it's time to implement the new LMS, Canvas."

"Hooray! Anything special we need to do?"

"Well, we should probably decide if our Canvas instance should be one big bucket of stuff, or if we need sub-accounts for our 5 separately accredited colleges."

"I'd think sub-accounts by college would be smart!"

"Definitely. Oh... wait... We're integrating Banner with Canvas, right?"

"Of course!"

"Well, we have Banner set up to essentially treat our district as a single entity."


"Well, there's no easy way to tell Canvas which sub-account the course should be in."

"Oh. One giant bucket, it is!"

Fast forward a year or two. The transition from Blackboard to Canvas is complete. Faculty adoption is growing rapidly. Online course offerings are expanding. Requests for adding account-level LTIs keep coming. Data and outcomes and analytics are hot topics. People begin to question with more regularity why we don't have sub-accounts to keep these things useful, streamlined, and logical. The answer continues to be "because we don't have Banner set up in a way that makes sub-accounts possible". Fast forward a few more years. People are asking at least weekly why we can't do a thing that can't be done because we don't have college sub-accounts. The requests finally prompt action. The action hits numerous brick walls. There is a script written that seems to solve the problem by moving the courses from the root account to the correct sub-account after the fact. Testing is going well. There is dancing and singing. Then someone performs a section sync in Test Banner, and the course in Test Canvas gets thrown out of its sub-account and back to the root account. Canvas insists that "account" should be sticky. Testing continues to prove that Banner is a jerk and refuses to listen to what Canvas says. Other avenues are considered and defeated. Tears are shed. And here we are, seven long years into our Canvas adventure, without any hierarchy whatsoever. And we've exhausted every reasonable idea, short of demolishing the entire Banner > Middleware > Canvas structure and starting from the ground up.

cartoon guy at computer

So what's the point of my blog post / stream of consciousness rant / discussion prompt / cautionary tale / plea for help? Well, first, my words of advice:

  1. If you are new to Canvas, consider your account/sub-account structure, very very very carefully.
  2. Canvas is a wonderful company full of wonderful people, but they do not have expertise in your SIS of choice, so make sure your SIS of choice is ready and willing to work with you on establishing (and maintaining, and adjusting as needed) a good integration with Canvas.

And my points of discussion:

  1. I know people have created a sub-account structure "after the fact". What makes our situation challenging is the way we set up Banner. We are unable to change how Banner is configured.
  2. We have had various vendors swear they can help us using APIs. This may be true, but they neither understand our Banner setup nor possess actual, practical, deep Canvas knowledge.
  3. We are still using Luminis Message Broker as our middleware. My understanding is that LMB is an outdated tool. But the alternatives (Ethos, ILP) are described to me as not mature enough, not robust enough, and/or possibly not compatible with our current portal (or version of).
  4. We haven't completely ruled out turning off real-time events and doing automated batches. BUT we have a bazillion (actual number) Banner users across our 5 colleges who would need to be re-educated on new processes and that is... daunting.

The plea:

  1. Is there anyone out there that knows Banner really well AND knows Canvas really well AND is not already working full time for a Banner/Canvas institution? We have tried the "hire a consultant" route, and a creature with such expertise (in the land of hire-able consultants) appears to be rarer than a 3-legged unicorn.
  2. Has anyone had a similar situation and come up with a miracle workaround that they'd be willing to share? I will pay you in cookies and a coffee mug that says "You're Awesome!" [side note: don't search Amazon for "You're awesome" coffee mugs. Someone apparently decided not to stop there and made all the mugs NSFW]
  3. Please consider this an open discussion, and throw any ideas into the comments, no matter how wild and insane they might sound. Tag any groups or spaces I missed, or any smart folks who might know something, anything. It's possible there will be points for creativity, but it depends on whether I'm continuing to lose ground in the Community. I once made it to 17th. Those were the days.

Thank you in advance, Canvas friends!


Also tagging Canvas DevelopersInstructional DesignersHigher EducationHigher Education SIS

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The Story

A common frustration of teachers using Canvas at an institution is when their course navigation gets messed up by an admin. A teacher may have been teaching their courses for a couple of weeks and then all of a sudden, their institution adds a new LTI that has a course navigation launch and it messes up their course navigation in all their courses. Then their students start asking about the new LTI and the teacher has to tell them all they aren't using it and hide it in their course settings


However, the story is worse for those instructors who don't know to customize their course navigation. Before you know it, they have a course navigation list that is so long that students have to scroll to see everything on it (see image to right). Core Canvas tools will hide themselves if they aren't being used (light grey items), but not with LTI's. So now those teachers have their students asking about each new tool and wondering why their teachers aren't using it...

Taking Control

Part 1 - Installing New LTIs

As the Canvas admin, you have the ability to decide, when an LTI is installed, whether you want it to be visible or not. Most LTI vendors want to encourage your teachers to use the tool and they enable it by default. A simple edit can help you avoid the above hassle for your teachers, while allowing you to roll the tool out to the teachers who need it.

When installing an LTI tool, the 3rd party provider will generally provide you a URL to configure the tool. If installing the tool from the apps tab in Canvas, the URL's for the installs can be found at the tool's detail page on https://www.eduappcenter.com/. These URLs should end in .xml which is the format needed to configure an LTI tool. Navigating to these URL's in your browser should take you to a page that looks like this:

<blti:title>Course Wanda Fish</blti:title>
<blti:description>This tool adds a course navigation link to a page on a fish called "Wanda"</blti:description>
<blti:extensions platform="canvas.instructure.com">
  <lticm:property name="tool_id">course_navigation</lticm:property>
  <lticm:property name="privacy_level">anonymous</lticm:property>
  <lticm:options name="course_navigation">
    <lticm:property name="text">Course Wanda Fish</lticm:property>

The trick is to find the <lticm:options name="course_navigation"> part of the xml file so we can customize it a little bit. We just need to add one more line after this and then we can install the LTI by pasting in XML. So here are the instructions:

  1. Copy and paste the XML into a text editor (Notepad for Windows or textEdit for Mac)
  2. Find the <lticm:options name="course_navigation"part of the code
  3. Copy and paste the following code immediately below the course navigation line
    • <lticm:property name="default">disabled</lticm:property>
  4. Follow these instructions to install the LTI via XML
  5. Enjoy the new LTI being hidden by default

Part 2 - Editing Existing LTIs

If you already have LTIs that are visible by default that you'd like to change, you can do that by using the Canvas API. There is a lot to working with the API that I will not go into on this post, but if you have a Mac you already have "cURL" installed by default so you can copy and paste the following code to update your LTI tools. If you have a PC, you can try and follow the instructions here to install cURL on Windows.

You will need to:

  1. Copy and paste the following code snippet to a text editor
    • NOTE: If the tool has other custom navigation parameters they need to be added to avoid breaking some functionality
      • View the existing parameters by viewing the response from step 4
    • curl -X PUT 'https://<canvas>/api/v1/accounts/<account_id>/external_tools/<external_tool_id>' \
             -H "Authorization: Bearer <token>" \
             -F 'course_navigation[default]=disabled'\

             -F 'course_navigation[*CUSTOM PARAMETERS*]=VALUE"

  2. Put your Institution's Canvas URL where <canvas> placeholder is (school.instructure.com or vanity URL)
  3. Put the Account/Sub-Account ID where the <account_id> placeholder is
    • The can be found by navigating to the Account/Sub-account in Canvas and looking at the url. It should be https://<canvas>/accounts/123 with number 123 being the account_id
  4. External tool ID can be found by updating the <school> and <account_id> fields in the url below and then navigating to it in your browser
    • https://<school>/api/v1/accounts/<account_id>/external_tools?per_page=100

    • You may want to download this Chrome Plugin to make the text more organized (similar plugins exist for other browsers)
    • Find the LTI tool you are looking for, the LTI should be a number. eg:


  1. Update the <external_tool_id> placeholder with the LTI id number
  2. Generate an API Token
  3. Replace the <token> placeholder with your new API Token
  4. Copy and paste the edited code snippet into Terminal (on mac) or Command Prompt (on Windows after you install cURL)
  5. Hit Enter and watch the LTI be hidden by default in all courses. 

*Note, your teachers may have to re-enable the LTI tool in their courses to have access. So you may want to send out communication about this change before you do it.

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🛑 Please Read the Following before using this guide

This document is for a legacy implementation of Google Analytics on a deprecated version of Google Analytics no longer offered by Google. Do not attempt to use it. Instructure no longer uses Google Analytics in Canvas, and therefore updated documentation on using Google Analytics 4 (or similar) will not be provided by Instructure.  

An alternative option for Canvas usage data supported by Instructure is our Impact by Instructure product. Please reach out to your Instructure CSM or Sales representative if you'd like to explore this option.

If you still want to use Google Analytics, you should look into some of the below community resources if you are configuring Google Analytics for the first time. 


Using Google Analytics means that your institution is subject to Google's terms of service. Please verify with your institution's legal team before installing Google Analytics in your Canvas instance to ensure that you are in compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

New Custom Dimensions & Updated Script - May 31, 2019

A core code change to Canvas on Aug 28, 2019 may have broken your implementation of Google Analytics. Please install the updated code to restore functionality.


The steps below will help you get set up to use Google Analytics for Canvas. If you'd like to know more about why you might want to do this, please watch this Canvas Live session.


Create a Google Analytics Account

  1. Sign into Google
  2. Navigate to https://analytics.google.com  and click Sign Up
  3. Fill out the Form as desired, using your Canvas url in the website url field (eg: https://example.instructure.com) (or vanity url if you have one)
  4. Click "Get Tracking ID" button
  5. Accept Terms of Service
  6. Copy down the "Tracking ID" (eg: UA-12345678-1)


Set Up Tracking By User-ID New

Allows for more accurate session unification based on the user's Canvas ID, granting better user overtime metrics

  1. Navigate to the Admin Portal (If you just created your account you are already there)

  2. Click on "Tracking Info" to expand the menu item

  3. Click on "User-ID" option

  4. Read the agreements and follow the prompts


Add Custom Dimensions to Google Analytics Updated

This will let you pass custom variables from Canvas to Google Analytics such as User ID's, User Names, Course ID's and more.

  1. Navigate to the Admin Portal (If you just created your account you are already there)
  2. Click on "Custom Definitions" menu item
  3. Click on "Custom Dimensions menu item
  4. Click "+ NEW CUSTOM DIMENSION" button
  5. Add the following dimensions in order (If your index number is incorrect shared dashboards may not work)314355_pastedImage_7.png


Add Custom Javascript to Your Institution's Theme Editor

** Custom Javascript has been known to break things in Canvas. As of writing this post, May 31, 2019, it is working, but be aware that could change in the future.

  1. Download the attached Javascript File (If you cannot download for browser security reasons, you may copy and paste the code into a .js file from github. Minified Script. Non-minified Script.)
  2. Edit the File in a text editor
    • You'll need to customize line 3 (if using the minified version), or line 168 (non-minimized) with your tracking id number. Updated
    • //Working as of Aug 28, 2019
      function removeStorage(e){try{localStorage.removeItem(e),localStorage.removeItem(e+"_expiresIn")}catch(t){return console.log("removeStorage: Error removing key ["+e+"] from localStorage: "+JSON.stringify(t)),!1}return!0}function getStorage(e){var t=Date.now(),o=localStorage.getItem(e+"_expiresIn");if(null==o&&(o=0),o<t)return removeStorage(e),null;try{return localStorage.getItem(e)}catch(t){return console.log("getStorage: Error reading key ["+e+"] from localStorage: "+JSON.stringify(t)),null}}function setStorage(e,t,o){o=null==o?86400:Math.abs(o);var s=Date.now()+1e3*o;try{localStorage.setItem(e,t),localStorage.setItem(e+"_expiresIn",s)}catch(t){return console.log("setStorage: Error setting key ["+e+"] in localStorage: "+JSON.stringify(t)),!1}return!0}async function coursesRequest(e){let t=await fetch("/api/v1/users/self/courses?per_page=100"),o=await t.text();o=o.substr(9),o=JSON.parse(o);var s=JSON.stringify(o);return setStorage("ga_enrollments",s,null),parseCourses(e,s)}function parseCourses(e,t){if(null!=t){let s=JSON.parse(t);for(var o=0;o<s.length;o++)if(s[o].id==e)return s[o]}return null}function gaCourseDimensions(e){custom_ga("set","dimension4",e.id),custom_ga("set","dimension5",e.name),custom_ga("set","dimension6",e.account_id),custom_ga("set","dimension7",e.enrollment_term_id),custom_ga("set","dimension8",e.enrollments[0].type),custom_ga("send","pageview")}function googleAnalyticsCode(e){var t,o,s,n;if(custom_ga("create",e,"auto"),t=ENV.current_user_id,o=ENV.current_user_roles,custom_ga("set","userId",t),custom_ga("set","dimension1",t),custom_ga("set","dimension3",o),n=window.location.pathname.match(/\/courses\/(\d+)/)){n=n[1],s=0;try{let e=getStorage("ga_enrollments");if(null!=e){var r=parseCourses(n,e);null===r?coursesRequest(n).then(e=>{null===e?(custom_ga("set","dimension4",n),custom_ga("send","pageview")):gaCourseDimensions(e)}):gaCourseDimensions(r)}else coursesRequest(n).then(e=>{null===e?(custom_ga("set","dimension4",n),custom_ga("send","pageview")):gaCourseDimensions(e)})}catch(e){if((s+=1)>5)return custom_ga("set","dimension4",n),void custom_ga("send","pageview")}}else custom_ga("send","pageview")}!function(e,t,o,s,n,r,a){e.GoogleAnalyticsObject=n,e[n]=e[n]||function(){(e[n].q=e[n].q||[]).push(arguments)},e[n].l=1*new Date,r=t.createElement(o),a=t.getElementsByTagName(o)[0],r.async=1,r.src="https://www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js",a.parentNode.insertBefore(r,a)}(window,document,"script",0,"custom_ga");
      googleAnalyticsCode("UA-12345678-1"); // customize google analytics tracking number here‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍
  3. Save the javascript file after making changes
  4. Upload the javascript file into your institution's Theme Editor
  5. Navigate back to Google Analytics and view real-time data to see if it is tracking real-time users on your account. Know that you may have to wait for 15 minutes or so to be able to see custom dimension data.


Build Dashboards & Reports in Google Analytics

  1. You may wish to get started by downloading the following dashboards:
  2. Build your own and once you get it the way you want, share the template URL in the comments on this document!


Embedded Custom Javascript File

There were issues with people copying the embedded Javascript. Please view the scripts on Github.


Changes Made (May 31, 2019) New

The updated script has undergone significant change. Below are some highlights of what the updated script does. The updated script is mostly backwards compatible with the previous version.


General Changes

  • Updated to remove any jQuery dependencies. Modern javascript is being used (may not work on Internet explorer). This means that API calls are now asynchronous and non-blocking. Improves performance.
  • Fixed a bug that meant some pageviews were never sent.
  • Added a timeout if API requests fail to avoid server spamming
  • Added support for Google Analytics User-ID tracking
  • Altered API Endpoint & Data Caching
    • Instead of pulling the course information (/api/v1/course/:course_id), the script pulls a user's courses ("/api/v1/users/self/courses?per_page=100") which includes an enrollment object and caches the returned value into local storage. The associated enrollment object allows us to set the "Canvas Course Role" dimension. Caching the data should also result in significantly better performance due to reduced API calls. If a course does not appear in the user's course list just the course_id and user dimensions will be sent (should only be for Admins and public courses).  Also it will only pull the first 100 enrollments for a user (let me know if you need support for pagination with the revised endpoint).

Dimension Changes

  • Canvas User RoleUpdated
    • Instead of filtering for a best match of a user's roles and only returning 1 value this is now a comma separated array of all of a user's roles. When filtering on this value, look use something like "contains" & "student" to get any users with a role of student. The data is still pulled from environmental variables. You should be able to build better Audience Segments from this data. (ie: Students should only have user, student, and maybe ta roles).
  • Canvas Term ID New
    • This can be a valuable filtering tool as much of Canvas built in reports filter on terms
  • Canvas Course Role New
    • By altering the way the script queries the course data, we are able to now capture the exact role the user has in a course. If a user has multiple user roles in a course, the value assigned to the pageview will always be the first role in the array. This should be a very useful dimension for building reports and analyzing course usage. If you think capturing all user roles will be helpful, let me know in the comments.

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