NEWS — September 29, 2020 at 12:13 am

BCPS high school students experience complications with Canvas and Pinnacle

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A screenshot of a Canvas page which does not show any of the student's classes for the 2020-2021 school year. Only clubs and self-enrolled classes can be viewed.
Students experienced major complications with their Canvas pages over the three-day weekend. All classes that had been linked with Pinnacle were no longer visible to students. Photo by Ava Steil

The initial transition period from in-person to online learning has not been without its technical issues. In order to combat basic problems, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School created hotlines for their technology specialists. However, on Sept. 27, students and teachers discovered an issue that was beyond the specialists’ abilities. All Broward County Public School students had been dropped from their classes on both Pinnacle and Canvas. 

“A data issue occurred this past weekend which caused Pinnacle to withdraw students from courses and this information synced to Canvas,” BCPS said in an announcement to students through Canvas. 

Students no longer had access to classes that the district had auto-enrolled them into at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. Any classes that did not have a corresponding Pinnacle grade were still visible to students, such as MSD Wellness Center, MSD Guidance and individual club boards.   

After this issue was discovered by teachers in the morning, several sent out Remind messages to their students informing them of the Canvas error. 

“The district is experiencing a widespread issue with Canvas and Pinnacle,” English teacher Stacey Lippel said in a Remind message. “You might be experiencing some issues accessing assignments. I will let you know when it is back up.”

Diana Haneski, MSD’s Pinnacle liaison, notified both Canvas and Pinnacle of the issue the morning of Sept. 27. The district was able to rectify the issue with Pinnacle and students were once again able to see their class grades. 

“Canvas is still not showing students in teacher classes and students can’t see their classes they are enrolled in today,” Haneski said. “… I am hopeful that the data will be restored by Tuesday… when school returns.”

This complication was experienced throughout the entire district and only affected high schools. Middle school and elementary school students had no change to their current Canvas or Pinnacle classes. 

For many students, this issue created some problems when it came to submitting assignments over the long weekend. As of Sept. 28, the issue with Canvas had not yet been resolved. 

“I had this project to submit tonight [Sept. 28], and now I have no way to turn it in,” sophomore Sidney Jenner said. “Yesterday, I was really stressing out, and then when I saw that I still couldn’t submit it tonight, I got even more worried.”

Students were not the only ones who were frustrated by the problems. Teachers were also disappointed by the inability to see their students in the classes or even grade assignments. 

Some teachers reached out to their students, giving them alternative ways to receive their grades.

“For tomorrow, periods 5, 7 can just do the reading and you can have a day on the response if you need the time,” English teacher Aaron Avis said to his classes via a Remind message.

On Sept. 28, the corresponding Pinnacle issues were resolved, however Canvas still remained askew. The district, as well as several teachers, are hopeful that Canvas will return to its normal formatting by Sept. 29 when students return back to school after the observed holiday of Yom Kippur.

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Ava Steil is a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She enjoys reading, writing, and studying with her friends at local coffee shops.

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