There are two messages that students might see while they are working in LMS-based courses that connect to NROC servers via an LTI connection (Developmental Math with PreAssessments and Developmental English).
"Your connection has expired. Please reconnect through your LMS."
What It Is
This message is the result of a security check. Basically, we are telling the student that their session has not been properly authenticated, so they need to establish (or re-establish) their identity through their course in the LMS. This security layer prevents anyone from hacking the URL in a way that could affect another student's data.
We use the LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) protocol to initiate a session between your LMS and the NROC course manager/player. This way we know who the user is (from data provided by the LMS) and that they are validated (they have logged in to the LMS with valid credentials).
When the student clicks on an LTI-connected link in the course, they get a "session token" from NROC. If this token expires, then the student will see a message on the screen with the text "Your connection has expired. Please reconnect through your LMS."
The most common scenarios where a student might encounter this message are:
- By bookmarking the URL of their session and attempting to launch it outside of the LMS.
- Refreshing the screen while working in a session that was launched in a new tab or window (not embedded in the LMS).
If the student is working on a session that is embedded in the LMS, and they refresh the page in that environment, then the LMS is making a new and valid LTI call to the player. No message is displayed and the student can continue working.
If the player has launched in a new window/tab and the student refreshes the screen, there is no new LTI call. Our system sees a new request using a URL that is not correctly tokenized, so it is rejected and the student sees the "reconnect" message.
The solution to this message is simply to reconnect by launching the link again, i.e., close the window/tab and click on the link in the link in the course. This will launch a new session with a new token.
It may not be possible to prevent this from ever occurring during the normal course of student progress. But if your LTI links are set to open in a new window or tab, then it is more likely that students will encounter the message (due to a screen refresh).
Some institutions prefer to force the links to open in a new window, especially if their students use devices with a small viewport (screen). This is perfectly fine, just be prepared to advise students on how to resolve the situation.
There was a time (around 2018) when we recommended that links should be opened in a new window, due to the way browsers were changing their security protocols and creating connectivity issues for our users.
Your LMS administrator can likely tell you if they set up the course this way on the basis of our older recommendation. In that case, you are welcome to change them to "embedded" as we have resolved the browser security issue by implementing this token requirement.
"Your progress has been paused. [Resume]"
What It Is
This message is for time tracking purposes. If they leave the player for any reason, the timer is suspended until the student hits "Resume".
The session timer allows us to get a log of the time the student spends working directly in the player. The message indicates that the student's session (token) is still active, but the session timer is paused.
This message appears only when the student pauses the session by leaving the window or tab where the player is running, or when the student has been inactive for 30 minutes.
When the student returns to the player window, they must click on the "Resume" button to start the timer and access their work again. This scenario does not require a new session (we want to continue the original session), so it does not require a new session token.
Students simply click on the "Resume" button to continue.
There is no way to prevent this, other than to close the player before switching to another activity.
The likelihood of seeing this message depends on the student's behavior as they work through the course. If they have a tendency to leave their work and visit another tab, they will see it more frequently.