Category Archives: Announcements

Getting Tech Support During the COVID-19 Closure

Iowa City Schools students, families, and staff can reach us to obtain technical support using any of the methods listed below. Also, please check out our opens in a new windowFrequently Asked Questions page to support home use of technology during the COVID-19 school closure.

ICCSD Helpdesk

Hours: 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday – Friday

Phone: (319) 688-1950

Chat: Use the chat option available in the bottom right corner of this page during business hours.

Spanish language support is available at the ICCSD helpdesk.

After-Hours Help

Hours: 4:30 PM to 10:00 PM, Monday – Friday

opens in a new windowClick here to reserve a time slot

opens in a new windowPearson Education has partnered with the Iowa City Schools at no charge to offer after-hours technology support through their customer service centers in Iowa City and San Antonio, TX.

The District has coordinated with  Pearson to help support District students, families, and staff, though please be aware that certain types of requests will need to be referred back to the District.

Spanish language support is available via the Pearson after-hours support.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please opens in a new windowcheck this document for current answers to the most common questions we’ve received during the COVID-19 closure.  

ICCSD Providing Home Computer and Internet Access During COVID-19 Closure

It is important that students and families are able to gain access to educational, news, and communication resources during this challenging time.  To this end, Iowa City CSD’s Technology & Innovation staff are preparing to make Chromebooks available to elementary school students who do not have access to computers within the home.  Families of elementary students that do not have access to a laptop computer, desktop computer, or tablet in the home may complete this request form or call (319) 688-1950, after which you will be contacted with instructions for picking up the device.  We do ask that requests be made by families who lack computing resources at home, as we wish to ensure that devices are available to all families in need of service. 

While secondary students have been assigned a Chromebook from their school as part of the secondary one-to-one Chromebook program, we recognize that some students may have left their school-issued Chromebook at school prior to leaving for Spring Break.  If a secondary student’s Chromebook is still at school at this time, please contact the ICCSD Technology Helpdesk at, or by calling (319) 688-1950.  

We have also worked with telecommunications providers to identify opportunities to provide for internet access to District families with no existing internet service. If your family does not have internet service at home, please fill out this form or call (319) 688-1950 to arrange for district-provided internet access.  Once your form has been submitted, we will contact the telecommunications provider and assist in arranging for the establishment of service during the COVID-19 related school closure.  Again, we ask that requests only be submitted in cases where home internet is currently unavailable, as we want to ensure that resources are available for all families in need of service.  The ICCSD Technology Helpdesk is expected to remain open throughout the school closure, and will be available to support use of district-provided technology beginning Tuesday, March 24. You can contact the Helpdesk by emailing, using the chat option available in the bottom right corner of, or by calling (319) 688-1950. 

Canvas info overload!

Canvas is an incredibly powerful learning management system (LMS). The amount of customization available for courses is incredible and the basic functionality of the system is fairly intuitive. But sometimes having all this choice and information thrown at you can feel kind of overwhelming. For this reason, the Technology and Innovation Department is going to publish a series of Canvas info guides and how-to’s in an effort to help make sense of the feast of options we have available in Canvas, but don’t always know what to do with.

We have data about how we, as a district, use Canvas. While that information isn’t always relevant to a teacher’s or staff member’s day-to-day routine, perhaps knowing a little more of the big picture will help put your own usage into a larger context.

Since Canvas was first introduced at ICCSD in the Spring of 2017, we have seen its use at the secondary level increase exponentially. This can be measured by several different metrics including number of courses in which Canvas is used, number of teachers or students using it, number of assignments or discussion topics within all courses, and even number of files uploaded to the system. However, the most relevant statistic to overall activity within Canvas is the number of page views. Counting page views gives us a sense of the number of users, frequency of use, length of use, and depth of use all rolled into one number.  The patterns that arise in the numbers of page views can give us insight on Canvas usage from year to year or even from day to day.

Take Canvas use at West High School, for example. Here is a graph of daily page views at West between Oct. 14 and Nov. 15 of this school year. Can you spot the weekends?

This regular pattern emerged over time but didn’t exist at the onset. At the beginning of our Canvas implementation, between May 18th and June 2nd 2017 there were approximately 2000 page views total at West. This isn’t a high number, which makes sense. It was the end of the year when this new system came online. 7 teachers, teaching 196 students, decided to dip their toe in the water and created a handful of assignments in Canvas.  Each of those students clicked on a page about 10 times over the course of 2 weeks. Everyone was just trying this out.

At the beginning of the 2017-2018 more teachers at West were ready to hit the ground running. Starting on Aug. 23, for the first two weeks, the school averaged about 30,000 page views a day. The activity tapered off a bit after that as some teachers, having tried Canvas, decided to go with a more traditional content organization format. But by the end of the 1st Trimester the school had racked up 1.6 million page views across several categories including content pages, assignments, quizzes, files, grades, announcements, collaborations, conferences, groups, and other general pages.

The 1st Trimester the following year, 2018-2019, West saw about the same amount of Canvas usage as the previous T1, approximately 1.6 million page views. It looked like there was saturation and that perhaps this was the most use the school was going to get out of the system. But as the year went on the Canvas usage grew steadily. In the first full week of the 2019-2020 school year, the page views at West exceeded 60,000 for 3 consecutive days. It was clear that the school had entered a new phase of its Canvas implementation.

This was also apparent by the fact that the Helpdesk was getting inundated with requests for help with Canvas like never before. It was somewhat perplexing until we took a look at the data and realized that the Canvas usage across the district was much higher than it previously had been. This put all the help requests into a new context. It was good that people were needing help. It meant that there were more new users working to implement Canvas in their classrooms.

By the end of the T1 this year West High School alone had clocked in at over 2.8 million page views, a 75% increase from the previous T1. Given approximately the same number of students, this represents an increase of about 800 additional page views per student over the course of the trimester. This pattern is consistent with usage at the other high schools in the district, including significantly increased usage at the Junior High level as well.

There are multiple factors that contribute to this odd pattern of usage stagnation and then explosive growth. One interesting factor is something that is happening behind the scenes which we can tease out by looking at our data on manually created courses. These are Canvas courses that are created by teachers and students (yes, student created content!) rather than being imported through PowerSchool. These include ‘sandboxes’ where teachers try out new features and functions before implementing them in their classes, PLC courses where teachers and coaches are teaching and learning about Canvas or other teaching tools, and even some courses created specifically for student collaboration. The graph below represents district wide page views of manually created courses between August of 2017 and now.

During the first year, as a district, we averaged about 2,000 page views a week for courses of this type. In the second year that doubled to about 4,000 page views a week. And in the third year, this year, it tripled to approximately 12,000 page views a week! The amount of teacher and staff learning about Canvas and through Canvas has been increasing dramatically. This shows that even during times when it seems like there is stagnation in usage, teachers are still collaborating and developing their Canvas skills, which then serves to launch our Canvas community to the next level during the following academic cycle.

So regardless of whether you are just starting out on your Canvas journey and aren’t sure where to start or you are a veteran, daily Canvas user, you are part of a vibrant and growing community of users at ICCSD. There are many opportunities for collaboration and to receive assistance whether its from the Helpdesk, a neighboring teacher, or an instructional coach. Don’t hesitate to reach out!


Jan 17th Help Desk Hours

January 17th, 2020 the Help Desk will be closing at 1:00 PM but will remain reachable by chat and email until 3:00 PM. 

Help Desk Live Chat

Starting at 11:00 AM today, the Help Desk can be reached by phone at x4357, by email at, or by live chat.

In order to start a live chat access the ticketing system or the Tech and Innovation Blog and in the bottom right corner click on “Chat with Us”. 

Once you fill our the contact infromation and hit “start a live chat” you will enter the Help Desk queue and we will be with you as quickly as possible.