Third-Party Tools

In addition to the robust features included in Canvas, JHU uses a wide variety of third-party instructional technology tools. The tools that exist in the Blackboard environment will be migrated to the Canvas platform using a phased approach.  

Check our feature release page if you are looking for optional, built-in Canvas features.

University-Wide Tools Guides

  • Ally – automatically check course content and files uploaded by instructors for accessibility issues and allow students to download content in different formats to meet their unique needs.
  • AEFIS (Assessment, Evaluation, Feedback & Intervention System) is an assessment management platform that includes solutions for syllabus management, curriculum mapping, course/program learning outcome(s) assessment, and more.
  • Course Evaluations & Surveys (formerly EvaluationKit) – captures and analyzes student feedback integrated directly in participating Canvas courses.
  • eReserves – Delivers course materials in electronic format to enrolled students in a stable environment.
  • LinkedIn Learning – Add LinkedIn Learning content into curriculum via Assignments and Pages.
  • Microsoft OneDrive – creates collaborations and assignments with OneDrive content
  • Microsoft Teams Classes – is for chat-based collaboration, file sharing, and online class meetings.
  • NameCoach Recording Tool – is used to voice record the preferred pronunciation of names.
  • Starfish – is an early alert communication tool that supports student success.
  • Turnitin – Check assignments to promote academic integrity.
  • VoiceThread – Collaborate and share interactively. 

Tools that Span Multiple Divisions

  • Gradescope – Used for grading paper-based, digital, and code assignments, syncs your roster.
  • H5P – Makes it easy to create, share and reuse HTML5 content and applications.
  • Kaltura – Creates and manages video content depending on your division. 
  • Panopto – It is a Video content management service integrated with Canvas in many divisions.
  • Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor – Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor provides two tools to help faculty remotely proctor tests published in Canvas.


Many tools require that faculty and students’ browsers have third-party cookies enabled to work properly.
  • Some tools are available throughout the university, and others may be school-specific. 
  • SafeAssign, for plagiarism detection, is not available in Canvas since it is a Blackboard-specific tool. Most divisions utilize Turnitin instead for their courses for plagiarism detection.  
  • Canvas Studio is not available in our instance of Canvas since schools have contracts with Panopto or Kaltura.  
  • Canvas does have a portfolio tool called Portfolium Folios. JHU has the free version (not Premium Portfolium). 

How does Canvas differ from Blackboard? 

Generally, third-party tools are not unique to Canvas or Blackboard.  They are external tools that have been integrated into the Learning Management System.  Although some tools apply across most of the university, some are school-specific. In some cases, the method of launching or using the tool may differ in Canvas. In these cases, guidance will be provided.  

Best Practices and Accessibility 

The university has vetted the current tools for compliance with accessibility and privacy standards.  

Requesting a 3rd Party Tool 

Faculty, staff, and divisions can request third-party tools to be added to Canvas. All tools are required to go through a review process to ensure they are licensed and comply with FERPA, ADA, and JHU policies.

Approval Process for Third-Party Tools

The LMS Steering Committee determined that the following review needs to be completed before adding a new tool:

  • In conjunction with the requester, the vendor must complete the IT data security risk evaluation and obtain approval.
  • The requester and the division must complete a summary of the tool and provide documentation on their accessibility standards and roadmap. They must also work with the vendor to provide access so an accessibility review is done on the product. (Request this document from your teaching and learning center).
  • All 3rd party tools will need to be supported by a divisional or departmental budget and appropriately licensed.
  • The division teaching and learning center and the requester must test the product to ensure it works with existing university and divisional Canvas configurations before installing it in production.

Timeline for Approval and Installation

This approval process can take 4-8 weeks, depending on the speed and complexity of the product, so we recommend building in that time to your request. Also, to help ensure the stability of our Canvas instance, there are specific deadlines for requesting tools for an upcoming term. Talk to your divisional teaching and learning center for more information or if you would like to request a new tool.