As Bellevue College’s first quarter of 2020 began, students and staff alike were met with an untimely software malfunction. On Jan. 2, the very first day back after winter break, BC’s learning management system, Canvas, was struck with a glitch. The bug rendered it impossible for students and staff to access certain classes on Canvas. According to BC’s Information Technology Services (IT), the glitch was caused by “syncing issues” with user information. “Canvas is a cloud based solution,” Showkat Choudhury, director of Technical Support Services, explained, “We just push the information and data to publish.” The Canvas glitch occurred because “for some reason it had been clogged.” Thankfully, the problem was quickly resolved, and a solution was soon implemented. “As soon as we found the reason we did not wait to automatically start. We manually uploaded the data to Canvas and that resolved the issue,” Choudhury explained. “As soon as Canvas informed us that the issue was resolved we tested it and got out of the manual process.”
The bug wasn’t the only issue Canvas faced, however. A system update caused many of the files uploaded to Canvas to become inaccessible. The files were marked as locked for any students attempting to access them. “That issue is under investigation right now,” Choudhury explained. “Basically, in Canvas there is a checkmark where it says that before you publish you have to make sure copyright violations are not there. Somehow the checkmark was there.” In their campus-wide email, as well as a notification banner on the Canvas homepage, IT instructed, “If you find that a file is locked, please notify your professor.” According to IT, Professors will need to republish files so they become accessible.
Are these types of issues common for Canvas? “It is a hiccup. It is a temporary glitch and it can happen anywhere, anytime. Even the body; we wake up in the morning and sometimes we wake up with a headache. This is a mechanism of technology and the technology is not foolproof. We are not there yet,” Choudhury said.
Software glitches or not, IT is well-prepared to provide technology-based assistance. From reporting issues to asking for help, there are a variety of reasons to contact IT. “Software. Your account. It can be your regular computer account and it can be your canvas account. We also support you in the labs and from Jan. 2 we started supporting you in the library,” Choudhury said, describing the types of issues students approach IT for.
There are various means of contacting IT. “We have a service desk. You can come walk in. We open from 7 to 7 and Friday 8 to 4. You can call us and you can use the web. And not only that, we have got a very good knowledge base,” Choudhury explained. “You go through this and you may find your solution.” IT can be easily found through the Bellevue College website, on the “Services” page, under “Technology Service Desk.” Various methods of contacting them are available: tickets, basically requests for assistance, can be submitted at any time, and live chat or phone conversations with IT employees are available during service hours. An in-person Service Desk can be found on campus at A109.
At its core, IT exists for the benefit of students at BC. “I work for you, as students. That is my job; to support you. My goal is to make sure that when you get that certificate or degree or pass college, you get anything and everything to be successful in life,” Choudhury said. “My door is always open for you to just come by.”