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Technology planning

REQUIREMENTS & FUNCTIONALITY
How will my student attend class in Zoom?

Classes meet live and online using our virtual online platform, Zoom. The link for access will be posted on the home page of the individual classrooms with in Canvas, our learning management system.

Your computer should operate with Windows 8 or higher if you think your student may need to access recordings. See here for more information on technical requirements for Windows and Mac. Phone users will not be able to fully participate in class, so this is not recommended as a regular means of attendance.

Some classes (e.g., foreign language courses) do require a functioning headset microphone; the computer’s built-in microphone is not sufficient for these courses. Others may require camera presence. Sometimes teachers require student video and microphone use for assignments such as presentations. There are no exceptions for participation in this regard. Check with individual teachers to find out if a particular course requires such presentations. Learn more about our camera use in Zoom here.

Many Excelsior instructors allow students to utilize Zoom’s “annotate” feature during live class for various activities such as circling answers, labeling diagrams, etc. Unfortunately, annotation is not available for all our Zoom’s methods of joining a meeting. Checking the client comparison chart, annotation may not be available for Chromebooks, iPads and Macbooks.

If you do not have the annotate option, Zoom offers the following suggestions:

For the Macbook students, download and install the desktop client. For those on Chromebooks, install the Android version of Zoom on your Chromebook. Google has instructions on how to do that.

The primary thing your student will need for both the live classroom and the Learning Management System (LMS) is reliable internet service: the faster, the better!

How will my student access the class recordings?

Class recordings are posted in our Learning Management System (LMS). The recording is the video of the class presentation only; chat messages are not recorded within the video.

What are the technical requirements of Canvas LMS?

Canvas is our learning management system (LMS). It is a well established LMS with great customer satisfaction scores and very little downtime. It is used across the K-12 spectrum and also among institutions of higher learning. In fact, all Ivy League schools utilize Canvas. We feel it is a perfect fit for many reasons.

Canvas is where your student will “do” his work away from the live classroom sessions. It allows teachers to provide assignments, quizzes, tests, projects, discussion questions, and more.

The primary thing your student will need for both the live classroom and the Learning Management System (LMS) is reliable internet service: the faster, the better!

CANVAS TECHNOLOGY REQUIREMENTS

High speed internet and a functioning computer installed with Microsoft Office products (or similar software such as Google Docs) will create a strong foundation for your student’s participation. Students with dial-up access, with satellite access in remote areas, or without processing software often struggle in online classes.

Students should use Chrome, Firefox, or Safari as browser access for our Learning Management System Canvas when using a desktop or laptop. No other browsers are supported. We have found that Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer are not as reliable and may cause your student problems; we do not recommend or support Edge or Explorer. Safari, at times, may not work for certain functions, and your student will have to use another browser to complete a task; for example, recording a video within Canvas. Additionally, some students do not like the small screens and limited capabilities of both iPads and Chromebooks although both Canvas and Zoom are functional in our environments. If a student is using an iPad, it may be necessary to use the Canvas app and not access Canvas through a browser. (Things are generally more complicated with Apple products.)

Canvas describes their browser and computer requirements here.

Some classes may require access to Google email for use with Google Docs or Google Sites for work within the Canvas LMS. Parents may acquire a Google Gmail account expressly for this purpose and monitor it if they do not have a Google account. 

Are Google Accounts Required?

Some classes may require access to Google email for use with Google Docs or Google Sites for work within the Canvas LMS. Parents may acquire a Google Gmail account expressly for this purpose and monitor it if the student does not have a Google account. 

Because Google has tools which help teachers monitor for AI use and also integrate well with Canvas LMS, no exceptions can be made to this requirement.

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