IT Department Blog

  • Testing Support

    Posted by Edward Grassia on 12/24/2015 8:25:00 AM

     

    The testing season is about to begin again. And with a new year comes a new online test too, the high school EoC (End of Course) exams.

    Now is a good time to review what IT can and can’t help with once testing begins at your school. The IT Department and the IT equipment obviously play a critical role in the delivery of online assessments, but our support abilities are limited to the technology itself and connectivity. We hope you don’t have a problem, but if you do, this list may help direct your service request.

    What we do support:

    • Network connectivity to any and all online assessments. This includes the connectivity (wired or wireless) from the device to our data centers and out to the testing website or portal through the district Internet connection.

    • The testing device. We support the device (hardware and software) and the student’s ability to login.

    • Presence of the testing client, if one exists, on the device, and the availability of the latest client.

    What we can’t support:

    • Ensuring devices are properly charged every day and ready for testing. This is up to the site.

    • Scheduling of testing within your school.

    • Location of testing within your school.

    • We cannot solve problems that are on the testing vendors website or in their testing portal.

    • Helping to proctor exams.

    • Problems inside the testing software environment, unless those problems stem from a hardware or software issue on the device.

    • Testing on Chromebook's, MacBook’s, or iPad's. These devices were not considered valid testing devices during our planning and testing with Assessment.

    To recap, if the issue falls under what IT supports, call us at 789-3456.

    If the issue doesn’t fall under what IT supports, it is either a site based decision or a question for the Assessment Department, 348-0248.

    Thanks,

    Ed Grassia

    Comments (-1)
  • IT SBAC Support

    Posted by Edward Grassia on 4/9/2015

    The day has arrived. SBAC testing begins Monday, ready or not. I am happy to report that from a technology standpoint we are as ready as we can be. Computer labs and laptop carts have been in place and configured for some time now. Many of you have already been doing practice testing runs without issue and we don’t expect that to change. The IT Department will be working until the last minute to ensure that those schools that may not have their network completed by the contractors come Monday morning will at least have their “Plan B” in place by the time testing starts. That will generally mean temporary wireless access points attached to the laptop carts in your site, assuming you have laptop carts.

    Now is a good time to review what IT can and can’t help with once testing begins at your school. While the IT Department and the IT equipment play a critical role in the delivery of SBAC tests, our overall SBAC support abilities are limited to the technology. We hope you don’t have a problem, but if you do, this list may help direct your service request.

    What we do support:

    • Overall district connectivity to the SBAC testing portal. This includes the connectivity (wired or wireless) from the device to your site WAN (Internet) connection, the WAN to the district Internet connection, and the connection from WCSD to SBAC.

    • The testing device. We support the device (hardware and software) and the student’s ability to login.

    • Presence of the SBAC client on the device and/or the availability of the latest client.

    What we can’t support:

    • Ensuring devices are properly charged every day and ready for testing. This is up to the site.

    • Scheduling of testing.

    • Location of testing within your school. Please refer to your wireless map if that applies to your school. http://tinyurl.com/kqu5qde

    • Help with anything beyond connectivity within the SBAC software client.

    • Helping to proctor exams.

    • Problems inside the SBAC testing software environment, unless those problems stem from a hardware or software issue on the device. This should not be an issue since it hasn’t been a concern during testing as of today.

    • Testing on Chromebooks, MacBook’s, or iPads. While these are approved devices per SBAC they were not considered valid testing devices here in WCSD during our planning and testing.

    To recap, if the issue falls under what IT supports, call us at 789-3456.

    If the issue doesn’t fall under the IT support header, it is either a site based decision or a question for the Assessment Department, 348-0248.

    Good luck, and we are here to help if needed.

    Ed Grassia
     

    Comments (-1)
  • What is Office 365 and why are we moving to it?

    Posted by Edward Grassia on 3/12/2015 12:45:00 PM

    To keep it simple, Office 365 is a web version of many of the tools you already use on a daily basis. It is as it sounds, a Microsoft Office online version, but it also provides many other features and functionality that haven't been offered at the district level in the past. Until now.

    It will provide free storage for every user in the district that has a domain, or user account. Storage space is unlimited for every user. This is obviously far more than the district could ever afford to purchase for all of our users. That means we will be moving your user directory and your shared network drives to the cloud. This provides a great resource for those of you that either like to, or have to work from home. All of the files that you are authorized to see will be available to you at work, and from anywhere in the world, at anytime of the day or night. 

    Your email will also be migrated to the cloud. This should be transparent to you and you shouldn't have to alter any settings to continue to connect from your work computer, home computer, or phone. One interesting point though is the increase in storage space for all mailboxes. Again, you will have far more storage space for your mail than the district could ever provide.
     
    Additionally, you will have access to five copies of Office Pro Plus to download and use on your personal devices whether they are Windows, Android, or Apple devices. There is no charge for these copies of Office.
     
    After you are migrated you will see other tools in the online portal such as Sites, (SharePoint), Calendars, People, Newsfeed, OneDrive, Tasks, and online versions of Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote. There are other tools such as Video and Delve.
     
    To answer the why part of the question, one reason is obviously the cost. This is free for the district and our students and staff. For us to recreate this environment in our data centers would cost us hundreds of millions of dollars and take years to build. Another major reason is the level of convenience this provides to all of our users and the greatly improved accessibility for everyone. We can now provide 24/7 access without having to worry about using a dedicated VPN connection to get to your files. 
     
    There is a lot more to Office 365 than we have covered here, so for more info go to the IT homepage and click on the Office 365 links.
     
    Ed Grassia.  
    Comments (-1)