Google Assignments Update: Option to Use Canvas Speedgrader

Google has announced a much-welcome update for Google Assignments in Canvas. Teachers will now have the option to use the Canvas SpeedGrader for submitted Google Assignments. Take a look at the chart to see the potential features of each option.

image of text table of feature options

The use of Google Assignments in Canvas is highly encouraged because you can assign personalized files to students, instead of forcing students to make their own copy (which can lead to students having multiple copies in their Drive and losing track of the correct version). Teachers can also see students’ in-progress work and use originality reports (5 per course). With all of these perks, some teachers did not use Google Assignments because they wanted to be able to use the Canvas Speedgrader and now you can! This feature should  be visible by August 19, 2022. Have a quick look below:

gif of Canvas speedgrader option

Resources:

Looking for the Google Waffle?

image showing where to find apps launcher

Google is often updating and changing their platform and many people have noticed that when they are at www.google.com, the “waffle” doesn’t display all the P-CCS apps. Rest assured, there are still 2 easy ways to access it.

  1. Go to https://workspace.google.com/dashboard and bookmark the page.
  2. If you are in a Google app like Gmail, Drive, or Calendar the waffle is in the upper-right corner and will contain all of our P-CCS apps.

We are working on a good solution for students to access the dashboard in September, in addition to the methods listed above.

​Google Doc edit notifications

Google doc notifications
In Google Docs, starting later this month, you will be able to choose to receive email notifications for document changes (comments and/or edits) on a per file basis. Edit notification emails will detail what changes were made, when the changes were made, and who made them. (Google Sheets already has this notification feature.)
You will be able to configure these notifications in multiple places:
  • Gmail
  • In Docs via the Notification settings drop down (bell icon) or Tools > Notification settings.

 

Why you’d use it
Staying on top of relevant changes and comments across multiple documents can be difficult. By giving you the option to specify which comments and changes to be notified about, you can more easily stay on top of what needs your attention most and keep track of collaboration. You will be able to configure these settings from Gmail using the new “Notification settings” drop down:
Google doc notification
They will also be accessible within Docs in the “Notification settings” drop down (bell icon). This will open a dialogue box with the notification settings options, which you can adjust as needed. Please note that edit notifications will be off by default and can be enabled on a per-document basis. When enabled, you will be notified when anyone adds or removes content from the document.
notification
You can also access these settings in Tools > Notification settings.
Edit notifications will be OFF by default and can be enabled on a per document basis. Visit the Help Center to learn more about turning edit notifications on or off for your account.

Action Required: Enroll in Google Two-Factor Authentication

image showing 2-factor warning

New Requirement – Two-Factor Authentication – Coming to All Staff P-CCS Google Accounts.

 

Starting August 15, 2022, each time staff initially log into their district Google, they will see the prompt above to enroll in 2-factor authentication until they do so.
It’s simple!
Just follow the prompts to either use the Google (Gmail) app you might already have installed on your cell phone, or enter a phone number to get a text or phone call with your code.
Follow THIS TUTORIAL for guidance
(Interested in written step-by-step directions: click here). 

 

Please note, if you do not enroll in two factor authentication by September 30, 2022, you will be locked out of your account starting October 1, 2022.

 

“I didn’t see the prompt, but I don’t want to get locked out.”
“I clicked ‘Do this later‘, now what?”
Easy! Just follow the steps in THIS TUTORIAL to turn on your
Two-Factor authentication now! 
(Interested in written step-by-step directions? Click HERE.)

 

THE WHAT

P-CCS staff already use Two-Factor Authentication when logging into MISTAR and Wayne Resa’s eEmployee portal SMART (where P-CCS staff access payroll information). Two factor authentication is an added layer of security to an online account. It can prevent 98% of hackers from accessing your account information. Two factor authentication is a system which after you login with your username and password you receive a code to verify it really is you trying to enter your account. Upon entering that code, you will then be able to access your account.  And by October 1, 2022, all Faculty/Staff P-CCS Google accounts will be required to use two-factor authentication.  

 

THE WHY

2-factor authentication drastically reduces the chances of having the personal information in your Google account stolen by someone else. If interested, this video shows more information about how Two-Factor Authentication keeps your account more secure. And though an extra step to log in may feel frustrating, it’s less frustrating than dealing with the repercussions of a compromised account. Additionally, school districts purchase cyber insurance which requires a regular review of security-related best practices/continuous improvement, and requiring an additional authentication method for account access is the next big push for districts to be compliant with cybersecurity risks/best practice.

 

THE WHEN

Beginning Monday August 15 All PCCS staff will be prompted to turn on 2-factor authentication. When you log in, the image above will prompt you to enroll. Staff must turn on two-factor authentication by September 30, 2022.

It is important to note the following 

  • If you do not enroll in two-factor authentication prior to October 1, 2022, you will be locked out of your account, on or after that date.
  • You will not have to log in to Google with 2-factor authentication every day when using the same device if you opt to “remember” the device.. 
  • Once you authenticate and complete the 2-step verification process and make sure to “remember this device” (their verbiage is Don’t ask again on this computer), Google will not require 2-step verification every time you log in. From that point on, Google will not prompt you to perform 2-Step verification on that device unless you clear your browser’s cache, change your password, it’s been around 30 days since your last verification and/or if Google suspects that your account has been breached.
  • This two factor authentication will not be required for students and will not change how students log in to their P-CCS accounts.
  • If you prefer to not use a phone, or when it might not be available, consider retrieving backup codes for access. See this support article 
  •  for details.

This prior blog post also offers some news of this upcoming requirement.

Questions? Need help? Submit a help desk ticket!

Gmail has a new integrated view

Integrated Gmail View

Google announced last January that a new integrated view for Gmail was coming and while it had been delayed, starting this month, users who have not opted-in will begin seeing the new experience by default, but can revert to classic Gmail via Quick settings (gear in top right). Within the next two months, this will become the default experience with no option to revert back.

See this support article for more background – https://support.google.com/mail/answer/11555490

integrated Gmail

 

Next Fall, 2-Step verification expected for Google account access

2-Step

By early next fall our district will begin to require staff users to use 2-Step verification in order to access their district Google accounts. A bit of background on what that is and an invitation to enable it prior to enforcement is the gist of this blog post.

[Note, the “2-Step verification” process may be known by other names like, “two-factor authentication” (2FA), or “multi-factor authentication (MFA)”.]

What is 2-Step verification?

2-Step verification adds a second layer of protection during the login process. Currently, your Google login is tied to “something you know” (your password). 2-Step verification adds a second layer of “something you have”, i.e., a mobile device, a phone number where you can be reached, a physical security key.

Why will we be implementing 2-Step verification?

Times are changing and hackers are finding new and creative ways to acquire user passwords: cyber hackers are buying lists of usernames and passwords on the dark web, they are using social engineering and email phishing tactics to steal passwords, they are also using something called “dictionary attacks” as a brute force method to guess weak passwords. Adding a second form of verification dramatically decreases the likelihood of your password, and consequently your account, being compromised. Additionally, school districts purchase cyber insurance which requires a regular review of security-related best practices/continuous improvement, and requiring an additional authentication method for account access is the next big push for districts to be compliant with cybersecurity risks/best practice.

How often will I need to use 2-Step verification?

Once you authenticate and complete the 2-step verification process and make sure to “remember this device” (their verbiage is Don’t ask again on this computer), Google will not require 2-step verification every time you log in. From that point on, Google will not prompt you to perform 2-Step verification on that device unless you clear your browser’s cache, change your password, it’s been around 30 days since your last verification and/or if Google suspects that your account has been breached.

How do I enable 2-Step verification?

For guidance on how to enable 2-Step verification for your district account, visit http://links.pccsk12.com/2stepdirections

See also https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/185839 AND https://safety.google/authentication/

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To make more secure other accounts you have (banking, Apple, Amazon, any other online retailers, especially ones with your credit card info, personal email, etc.), consider also enabling 2-Step verification if it isn’t already in place. Basically any account that would be a real bummer to have someone else you don’t sanction gain access to.

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Expect more details in future blog posts around this topic.

A couple of noteworthy Google updates this month

drop downs

New Dropdown Menus 
A fun way for students to create Mad Libs, Track Project Progress, Choose Your Own Adventure Stories, and more. Also perfect for Rubrics. INSERT–>Dropdown There are also some new building block templates that make it easy to get started with drop-down menus. (animated GIF below from Brian Buffington, who offers a weekly edtech newsletter) (You might also want to check out Richard Byrne’s post on this and 4 other new Google doc features)

 

New Chrome webstore badges

Google is making it easier to identify reputable app developers by adding badges that will help you avoid installing “copycat” chrome extensions.

secuirty

Sharing Digital Resources with Colleagues

If you are retiring from teaching, changing roles, or changing grades, you might be wondering how you can best share some of your teaching materials with colleagues from your department or team.  This post will offer some suggestions. If you are retiring or leaving the district, a separate email will be sent to you regarding how you can use Google’s services to make copies of some of your materials for your personal Google account and return district technology at the end of the school year. Please be on the look out for that email if it applies to you.

Share Google Content with Colleagues

You will want to make sure that a colleague you want to share files with is made the owner of a document or folder. You can change this if you are the current owner.

image showing where to update the owner
This option is best if you are leaving the district. Change this setting after you have used Google Transfer or Download.

If you are not leaving the district and want your files shared, but not altered, you might download a folder and then re-upload it to your Drive naming it “3rd Grade Originals.” This will allow you to maintain a copy of your versions of the documents.

Please be mindful about checking folders before you share them to ensure confidential, student information is not shared.

Share Canvas Course Content

You are able to export your Canvas course as an IMSCC ZIP file that can be uploaded into many Learning Management Systems (if you are leaving the district) or shared via a thumb drive.

image showing course copy optionIf you want to share your course with another teacher, you can make a copy of your course (found in Settings). When you make the copy you can select the specific content you are willing to share, give it a name (i.e. Bullock Shared US History) and then add your colleague(s) as a teacher in the course.  Finally, to make your course more widely available to others at P-CCS you can export your course to Canvas Commons, when you export you can choose to make it viewable to the public or only to P-CCS teachers. 

Share Video Content

While it is best practice for instructional videos to be made by the existing teacher, it might be helpful for others to reference your video lessons. If you would like to share your video lessons, we recommend this workflow:

Please submit a tech ticket if you have additional questions about sharing content.

Google LTI and Canvas Known Issue 4/12/22 – RESOLVED 5/9/22

UPDATE: Canvas and Google have worked together to RESOLVE the issue described in last month’s blog post shown below. Thank you for your patience.

————–

Some teachers are experiencing Canvas assignment submissions that are subsequently inaccessible to them. This has been occurring when a Canvas assignment is created and students load a file from Google Drive. When the teachers open Speedgrader, instead of seeing a preview of the document they see a link to an unknown file type that they are unable to download or view.

Error teachers experience with Google Drive submissions

Students will have a clue that submission didn’t come through correctly when they select and attach an item from Google Drive they will see this:

error on student side
Students will see this when their attachment is unsuccessful. They should follow the directions linked below to upload the file as a PDF.

This is a Google LTI issue and we are currently working on a resolution. There are several potential workarounds:

  1. You can create a Google Assignment in Canvas that creates a copy for each student.
  2. Students can download the file as a PDF and upload it to Canvas.
  3. Students can paste the Shared Google link into the comments of an existing assignment.
  4. Teachers can check the “Website URL” entry option under the submission type and students can submit the Shared Google link.
location of website URL option
Teachers can select this Website URL option where students can paste the Shared Google link to their file.

We will update this blog post when the issue has been resolved. Resolved as of 5/9/22

In early summer, Google will be replacing multiple-location Drive files with shortcuts

drive with shortcuts

FYI, starting on June 27, 2022 and in the weeks thereafter, Google will be replacing multiple-location Drive files with shortcuts. Any impacted users in our domain will start seeing an in-product notification banner about two weeks before the replacement starts. The banner will notify them about the change and will point them to a support article with more info. The migration will take place automatically—no action will be required by users.

Google’s change is meant to simplify folder and file structures and helps reduce confusion around files with multiple parent folder locations.
When a file is replaced with a shortcut:
  • One location is preserved for files or folders currently contained in multiple locations. All other instances of the item will be replaced with a shortcut.
  • Ownership and sharing permissions for files and folders are preserved.

Drive shortcuts