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.
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.
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:
Assignments and Grading
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.
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.
We’ve received a number of support requests from individuals (students and teachers) who are missing courses in Canvas. In the vast majority of cases, the Canvas enrollments are correct, but the user dashboard is customized such that the courses don’t appear when the user logs in. Check out the steps (and video) below that show you how to customize which courses appear on your dashboard.
Changes to the Canvas app and authentication system in early August caused our previous instructions for using the parent app to no longer work. Please follow the instructions below to create a parent/guardian account, to access Canvas Parent from a computer web browser, to set up the Canvas Parent iOS/Android app, and to obtain a student pairing code from a student account. Teachers can find instructions for how to obtain student pairing codes here.
We were notified today (see below) that Canvas has identified an issue – based upon ICCSD’s submission of the problem – with imports of assignment categories into Canvas from PowerSchool. While imports are working for some teachers, they are not working for others.
Canvas Support has sent us an update to apply which they believe will solve this issue. If you have had troubles importing assignment categories over the past few days, please try again after the update has been applied. We’ll update this post as soon as we’ve been able to implement this fix.
While I try to avoid getting too technical or specific in these blog posts, I’ve received enough questions on this topic in the past few days to think that it warrants its own mention. The issue is this: whereas our high schools and junior highs have 7 or 8 periods, PowerSchool has as many as 14 periods, depending on the building. When Canvas synchronizes section names from PowerSchool, it uses the PowerSchool period numbers, meaning that the periods shown in Canvas don’t necessarily match the actual period of the day. This results in section names that seem to indicate period numbers that don’t even exist, such as this section at North Central JH – an 8-period school – that appears to take place during period 14:
One of the sets of guides we’ve prepared focuses on teachers’ use of Canvas. Check out this resource here, where you’ll find walkthroughs focusing on basic Canvas use, course-building, grading, assignments, and more.
In addition to the district-created guides linked above, parents wanting to make use of the Canvas Parent app should check out the guides available for iOS and Android.
A technical limitation in Canvas does not allow two trimesters to be active at one time. As a result, district Canvas enrollment sync for third trimester is paused until Sunday evening, allowing teachers to finish second trimester grades and collect assignments without any technical problems.
This may result in students having incorrect third trimester enrollments in Canvas. PowerSchool is not impacted by this pause and students should use their PowerSchool schedule for class schedule data. Canvas enrollments should be corrected Sunday night and be ready for class on Monday morning. Canvas is working towards a solution to this inconvenience and hopes to have this problem corrected by fall. Sorry for any confusion this may cause.