ICCSD Phone Service Issues

*UPDATE: 8:36 AM, 11/15/18* We believe that phone and voicemail service has been restored and operating as usual throughout the district.  We will continue to monitor this situation for further developments. 

ORIGINAL POST: We are currently investigating an issue that is impacting phone and voicemail service within certain schools and facilities in the District.  I will post an update as soon as we have information regarding causes and/or an estimated time of service restoration.  

Canvas Trimester Transition

One of the challenges we’ve faced in terms of implementing Canvas over the past year has been trimester transitions.  We are confident that we’ve now ironed out issues that have impacted students and teachers during previous transition periods, such that teachers should continue to have access to course materials and the Canvas grading system through the weekend following the trimester transition.  

In order to ensure a smooth experience for teachers submitting their first trimester grades, we will be pausing the PowerSchool/Canvas sync for enrollment data from Thursday, November 15th until Sunday, November 18th. During this time, the most current enrollments for your second trimester courses will not change and new student enrollments will not appear in Canvas until Monday morning (when the sync has been resumed).

You will still be able to sync your grades from Canvas to Powerschool during that time, however, when the sync resumes at 11:00 PM on Sunday (November 18th), you will no longer be able to sync your first trimester grades from Canvas. You will still be able to enter the grades manually into PowerSchool. While this may seem unusual, this is made necessary by a technical limitation in Canvas that does not allow us to have two trimesters syncing with PowerSchool at the same time.

Course Cross-Listing Reminder

As a reminder, if you are planning on cross-listing your second trimester courses, you will want to make sure that is done before you start syncing your gradebook. Directions for cross-listing courses are available here.

Partial Network Outage on Monday, November 19th

Portions of the district will experience a network outage beginning at approximately 6 PM on Monday, November 19th, and lasting for 5-6 hours.  This outage is due to work being done by the City of Iowa City on a fiber route along Dubuque Street that will allow for construction of a new building in the area.  

Affected buildings will include schools in North Liberty and Coralville, schools in the western portion of Iowa City, and Longfellow Elementary School.  For reference, users of portions of the City of Iowa City, Johnson County, City of Coralville, and University of Iowa networks may be affected by this work as well.   

We don’t expect district-wide internet access to be impacted, and expect that the affected locations will come back up with no lingering effects when work is completed on Monday night.  

Network Issues This Morning

The Iowa City Schools experienced a network problem this morning that has resulted in some computers and printers losing network access.  If you cannot access the internet on your computer or tablet, or if a networked printer is not printing properly, please restart the device.  After a restart, network access should be restored.  

How to restart a Windows 10 computer

How to restart a Chromebook

How to restart an iPad

If you still cannot access the internet after a restart, please submit a support ticket or call the Helpdesk at x4357.  

Technology Blog and Canvas Login Page Maintenance on Sunday, November 4th

I’ll be performing updates to the server that hosts the ICCSD Technology & Innovation Blog – this blog – and the Canvas login page this Sunday, November 4th, at 6 AM.  I expect that any outages will be confined to the hours of 6 AM to 9 AM, with little to no risk of outages beyond that timeframe.  

During this maintenance window, the tech blog will not be accessible, and the Canvas login page – http://iowacityschools.instructure.com – will not be available.  Students, faculty, and parents can still log in to Canvas early Sunday morning, however, at the following addresses: 

Students and Teachers: http://iowacityschools.instructure.com/login/saml 

Parents: http://iowacityschools.instructure.com/login/canvas 

Data Interoperability?

No, no, no … you’ve gotta say it like, “data interoperability!”

Over the past several days, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with district leaders from around the country as we learn together about a fantastically riveting topic: data interoperability! (see, I said it right)

So what is data interoperability? 

In a nutshell, data interoperability relates to the ability of systems that create, store, or consume data to seamlessly talk to one another.  Once the systems can speak to one another, data can be pulled – generally in real time – for analysis, regardless of what system the data originally resides in.

Continue reading Data Interoperability?

Citrix Virtual Application Server Updates

We’ve revamped the ICCSD virtual application server! Here are a few exciting things we’ve done to improve the user experience.

  • Branded login page
  • New and improved background servers
  • Improved login times
  • App optimization for better processing and graphics performance
  • Profile cleanup and reconfiguration
Continue reading Citrix Virtual Application Server Updates

Canvas: Advanced Instructor Workshop

For those teachers who would like to take a deeper dive into Canvas, I recommend checking out this Canvas: Advanced Workshop slide deck.  This resource can serve as a self-guided launching point to learn more about how Canvas can be leveraged in your classroom.

Among the topics that are included are: 

  • Google Integration
  • Instructor Basics
  • Assignments and Grading
  • Assessments
  • Discussions
  • Text/Email Notification Settings
  • Mastery Paths (individualization/personalization)

Further, you’ll find a link to enroll in Kung-Fu Canvas, our Canvas course for instructors, where you can explore Canvas topics from basic to advanced. 

Emergency Alert Test Postponed to October 3rd

UPDATE: The emergency alert system test originally scheduled for September 20th has been postponed until October 3rd at 1:18 PM Central due to Hurricane Florence. 

Original post (dates updated): In order to avoid any confusion in our classrooms, I wanted to share this notification that on October 3rd, 2018, the Federal Emergency and Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) beginning at 1:18 PM Central.

In our classrooms, students and teachers with cellphones are likely to receive test alerts – including an audible notification – at 1:18 PM on Thursday.  

Solving the “Google Authorization” Issue in Canvas

We’ve had relatively few ongoing technical issues with Canvas, but one of the problems that’s been a nagging issue that’s impacted our students and teachers is an issue with embedded Google documents. 

One of the features of Canvas is that it integrates with Google Drive; teachers can embed Google syllabi, assignment descriptions, sheets that students can collaborate on, etc., within Canvas.  Further, students can submit Google Docs as Canvas assignment submissions, embed Google docs in wikis and discussion boards, and so forth.  

Continue reading Solving the “Google Authorization” Issue in Canvas