Area9 Rhapsode™ is designed to be used either as a standalone platform with full authoring, curation, delivery, analytics, user management, etc. capabilities, or to integrate easily with other education or business applications. Our strategy is to use open, mature standards for both user and data integration.
Integrations typically involve some combination of:
Authentication (including password management) is provided by Rhapsode, but usernames are provided by, for example, a periodic upload from an HR system. Users log directly into Rhapsode and the LEARNER dashboard.
Single Sign-On (SSO)
Access to Rhapsode is controlled via a username (normally email) and password from another existing system or service. Users see the Rhapsode LEARNER dashboard when logging in, and select between assignments there.
The user launches a Rhapsode assignment directly from a 3rd party Learning Management System (LMS), completes the learning in Rhapsode LEARNER or READER and returns to the LMS for result overview and further courses. The user normally never sees the full Rhapsode LEARNER Dashboard, and instead selects modules and courses directly in the LMS.
Rhapsode has an ability to pass data between Rhapsode and a third party Learning Record Store (LRS). This may require some customization and data translation, but we do support the xAPI (formerly also known as TinCan) standard for data exchange. We also make data available for manual or automated download in CSV format.
Using a robust set of Area9 APIs, Rhapsode can be extended with custom integrations. These require custom development, and usually also interaction with the customers development and/or IT departments.
It is important to understand the pros and cons of these approaches to ensure we reach the solution and dataflow we aim to. For example, an LRS integration can easily exist together with the others, while LMS and SSO integrations in parallel may generate unintended consequences or complications for learners, and designs need to be carefully planned.
LTI is the most modern and versatile LMS integration standard. Rhapsode supports v.1.0, 1.1 and 1.1.1 of this standard. This will allow users to launch courses directly from the existing LMS, and the result (user progress, completion) of the courses will be handed back to the LMS platform and be available in the originating system.
SCORM 1.2 is an older and more widely utilized standard for LMS integration. Rhapsode can send the pass/fail and score information back to the LMS. SCORM is relatively “plug and play” and in most cases no additional configuration efforts are required on the part of the customer (though testing and some tweaks may be required). Area9 will supply packages to be loaded into the customer LMS system. Area9 Rhapsode does not support the SCORM 2004 standard.
Advantages.: There is no additional IT development work on the part of the client; integration is set up very quickly.
Limitations.: The information typically passed back and forth is limited to unique user identifier and “completion” status or Pass/Fail/Score. Depending on the LMS, additional metadata may be able to be exchanged, but it will require custom development.
Rhapsode has preliminary support for importing OneRoster v1.1 CSV format. When this is implemented, it will be possible for a customer to send a zip file with Learners, Classes, Enrollments and Resources CSV files, and have them imported into Rhapsode. The OneRoster format consists of “simple” tables in a CSV format, which makes it relatively easy for a customer to create the format.
The Rhapsode platform supports OpenID Connect for single sign-on integration. This is a widely adopted standard that most suppliers support and it allows for out-of-the-box integration with little configuration. All the main Identity Providers now support OpenID Connect (Microsoft, Google, Oracle, Okta... ).
OAuth2 can be used for SSO, but each vendor has a slightly different way of using it. If a customer requires SSO via OAuth2, it is likely that we can adapt Rhapsode to support it with a minimal effort.
Rhapsode does not currently support SAML 2.0, but support is on the roadmap. SAML existed many years before OpenID Connect, but is quickly being replaced with OpenID Connect. Customers who uses an Identity Provider from an external vendor will most likely also support OpenID connect.
Rhapsode does not currently support LDAP or Active Directory.
Advantages of SSO: Allows Area9 Rhapsode™ to be accessed directly, bypassing the LMS.
Rhapsode users will be able to access Rhapsode without needing to use a separate login and password. If the user is already signed in, then the Rhapsode Login page will be skipped automatically. SSO integration allows the customer to use many more of the Rhapsodes features. For example the Classes, Reports, Assignments and Refresh Assignments. Using this approach, more comprehensive meta-data can to be passed to Rhapsode, typically for reporting purposes. For example, grouping users by organization, function or geography, or to restrict access to particular reports. This may require customization and/or custom development.
Limitations: It requires configuration of the customers IT-system, and therefore the customers IT-department needs to be involved, and it requires more planning with respect to resources and processes on the client side. Integration is achieved via a web-service. The data exchange can happen as frequently as client desires (normally once daily but can be more frequent if required).
The customer will host a Learning Record Store (LRS), and Rhapsode will be able to insert statements into this LRS. The statements will describe different events in Rhapsode. The statements are in the form of a Actor, Verb and Object. For example:
The LRS can be used (by the customer) for data mining. A design workshop will be needed with the client to agree on which statements to pass.
This is typically implemented when a client has already built a custom application and they want to expose Area9 Rhapsode™ within the application, or requires tight integration into a business application. For example, our partner, Trackman (www.trackmanuniversity.com) had already built their online university and they exposed Area9 Rhapsode via an ‘iframe’ inside of their application. We typically use the LTI standard for this type of integration, but we have the ability to create custom APIs for integration in salesforce automation, CRM or ERP systems, for example.
Advantages: Fine grained control over the look-and-feel and user experience.
Limitations: This approach requires development time for both the client and Area9, hence there is more time/cost involved.