Trying out the Google Apps LTI

Community Champion

Collaborative spreadsheets and presentations will be very useful in helping to promote learner interaction in our online courses! While waiting for a plumber at my house over the weekend, I decided to watch  and it was a very worthwhile video. I couldn't wait to try out the Google Apps LTI today.


The major advantage in using the LTI is that it adds spreadsheets (Google Sheets) and presentations (Google Slides) to Collaborations (in addition to Google Docs). Another advantage is that students are not required to enable Google Drive under their Account settings (as they are required to do when we are not using the LTI).

Instructor steps

  1. Instructors must create a free Google account
  2. Enable Collaborations in a course.
  3. If Google Apps is not installed at the Account (Institution) level, use the Apps tab under course Settings to select Google Apps.
    Google Apps LTI
  4. Then, click on the install link at to generate and copy the key/secret that allows you to install the Google Apps LTI in a course.
  5. Installing the Google Apps LTI in a course automatically enables Google Drive on the navigation menu. Note: when I logged in as a student, I was able to access the Google Drive files, so some instructors may want to disable Google Drive from the navigation menu.
  6. When creating a collaboration, use the “Collaborate Using” drop-down to select Google Apps
    New Collaboration with Google Apps Options
  7. Even though the LTI adds two more options to Collaborations -- spreadsheets and presentations -- the icons for all files are the same, so it helps to name the collaborations with the type of file (document, spreadsheet, presentation) like this:

Name the files by file type
Student steps

  1. Students must create a free Google account
  2. When they access a Collaboration in Canvas created by an instructor, or begin to create a new Collaboration, they receive a message (and are required to) click a button to connect Canvas to their Google account.

Tip for Instructors
New Collaborations result in blank documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Many times, instructors like to start students off with a template. After we create a Collaboration, we can go to our Google Drive account and replace the blank files. Note: This did not work through the LTI link to the Google Drive files, but worked when directly in a Google Drive account.

Replacing blank files with a template in Google Drive:

  • Open a Presentation: File>Import Slides to upload your presentation template
  • Open a Spreadsheet: File>Import to upload your spreadsheet template, select Upload and Replace Spreadsheet, Import (see an example at
  • Open a Document: The only method that worked for me was to Copy>Paste from the existing Word template. It worked well and kept all formatting, including styles, tables, links and headers

*I noticed that there is an Office 365 LTI Collaboration and am hoping to test that soon: