Services vs Authorities
There are two major system classifications in ELMSLN; authorities and services. Authority systems are those that only have a single deployment. The current authorities are online, inbox, media, and comply. The implication for these systems is that if you go to online.elmsln.local/sing100, you are still within the online.elmsln.local database. All course records on this system are nodes in effect.
In a Service, all course "folder" paths are actually different, sandboxed Drupal sites. For example, courses.elmsln.local/sing100 is a different Drupal site / database from courses.elmsln.local/stuff200. Some examples of services include courses, studio, interact, discuss, and blog.
This means that Services could (theoretically) be radically different from each other, which is by-design capability to allow for maximal flexibility in adopting the system to teaching styles. Authority systems are those who's functionality is considered core to the larger operation of the network. These are also largely more thought of as infrastructure and less spaces for innovation.
For example, we don't need an innovative email system, we just need something to store and bridge communications between systems. CIS / online is a giant routing / logistics system, it really needs to be rigid; whereas the place students experience material doesn't.