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Using external third party tools

There are times when an external or third party tool which has not been vetted by Toronto Metropolitan University is needed for the continuity of the course, providing engaging means for students, or for the delivery of exams. With this, there are two important things to keep in mind when integrating an external tool or app into your teaching:

  1. Transparency, i.e. letting students know what they are getting into, and
  2. Consent, i.e. letting students decide whether they want to share their information

To ensure transparency and consent, the following steps are recommended: 

  • Review the terms of use or end-user license agreement (EULA). Some things to look out for: 
    • Is the app allowed to share personal information and with whom? 
    • What is the privacy policy? 
    • Where is data stored?
    • For apps that can be accessed via a Google account, determine what data from the students’ Google accounts will be shared with the app, i.e. personal information/profile, contacts, Google Drive files, calendar, etc.
    • For assistance with any of these questions, we recommend contacting the Privacy Office (
  • Include in the course outline that the course will use an external, third party app and whether it will require students to register or create an account. If the student needs to create an account on the external system, let students know they should not use the same password as the one they use to access
  • Let students know what kind of information they will have to provide to the app in order to use it. Keep the information provided to the app to a minimum (only what’s absolutely needed).
  • Provide students with the context for what they are expected to do in the third party app. For example, are students using the app to complete ungraded quiz exercises, create some form of work to submit as an assignment (visualizations, infographics, concept maps, etc.), or will they be expected to participate in a discussion where sensitive topics or opinions are discussed? 
  • Provide an alternative for students who, for any valid reason, may choose/have to opt out from using the third party app. If the use of the app contributes to a graded component of the course, students who opt out should be provided with an alternative way to earn the same grade.

If you are interested in integrating an external third party app or program not supported by Toronto Metropolitan University into your remote classroom, use a  (google doc) checklist (external link)  has been prepared to review key considerations for yourself and your students. 

Note that for a third party app to be integrated with D2L Brightspace, DMP/CCS will have to conduct a privacy impact assessment (PIA) and security assessment, as well as an accessibility audit. These processes take time to complete and must be planned for well in advance. For more information contact