Boston College TAO Canvas Integration Breakthrough

Boston College

ASSESSMENT & EDUCATION - TAO and Canvas Integration for Higher Ed

The Challenge

Boston College, home to over 14,000 students, needed a new system that could replace the Item Bank integrated into the Canvas Community. The College reached out to Breakthrough Technologies because of their extensive experience and expertise on open-source platforms. The BT team knew that TAO integration was necessary in order to give Boston College the system enhancement that they wanted, without making the change obvious or inconvenient to students and professors.

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Michael Russell is a professor at Boston College, which is located in Newton, Massachusetts. In 2015, the College granted him $50,000 so he could seek help to improve the system that allowed for teachers to directly communicate with students, post polls, and alert students about any upcoming events. This Learning Management System (LMS) is called Canvas. Because Russell was unhappy with the performance of some of the system’s features, he asked Breakthrough Technologies to help him find a solution.

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The integration between TAO and popular Learning Management Systems, such as Canvas, allows institutions to take advantage of open-source platforms to address gaps in item-banking or test creation.
Mike Russell, Boston College

The Solution

The goal of this project was to set up a TAO installation on Boston College’s servers that would integrate with the existing Canvas professor-to-student communication system. In order to successfully complete this task, Breakthrough Technologies had to test whether or not TAO could properly communicate with Canvas. The Learning Tools Interoperability (LTIs) of Canvas and TAO allow for the two to connect with one another seamlessly.  Now, Boston College has access to configure the TAO system to suit the needs of their university. The flexibility and cost-effective nature of this simple, open-source solution gives Boston College a more customizable approach to their campus-wide, electronic communication.

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