This week, we will be rolling out a new feature for our entire community. Assuming you are logged into Chrome, you will now see a "PA Virtual" folder in the bookmarks bar. This new folder will allow us to add and update bookmarks as needed.
You may notice that there has been a folder in your Bookmarks bar called "PAVCS". This folder was created at install time, and unlike the new one, could not be updated without messing up all your other bookmarks. The old "PAVCS" folder can now be deleted if you wish. Simply right click and choose "Delete" if you wish to remove this collection of Bookmarks.
NOTE: You must be logged into Chrome to see the new folder. Logging into Chrome not only brings you this folder, but also allows you to have your browser settings and bookmarks backed-up and synced. See How Do I Sign Into Chrome? if you need help logging in.
Welcome to the 2018-19 school year! We hope everyone had a great summer and that you are excited for a new school year. As you may have already noticed, there has been a change to how Blackboard Learn looks, and we are very excited to share the new look, and all the new features that come with it.
New Color Pallette - Probably one the the most obvious things you will see is the new colors being used. We wanted give our school environment a new and updated look. This new color scheme is designed to be simple and uncluttered. It has also been designed to work on multiple devices, which leads us to the next change…
Adaptive Design - The new design will adapt to the size of the browser window. This means if you make your browser window narrower, you will see the layout change to remain inside the narrower width. This also means that the design is more ‘mobile friendly.’ You can now do much of the same things, no matter your platform. You can check your course announcements from your phone, read the discussion board from your tablet, and take tests from the computer. (Note: We are well aware that not all parts of Blackboard Learn are ‘mobile friendly’ yet, so we still suggest you use your computer for things like taking a test or writing a journal entry.).
New Page Layout - With the new adaptive design, we had to look at our page layout. Each tab has been reviewed and redesigned with usability across all platforms in mind.
- Our “My PAVCS” tab has been renamed to “My Courses,” and although the content was focused on your class materials, it was not limited. Now, only the things you need for your class work are seen on that page. The redundant links that we had in the first column have been removed.
- The “Our Community” tab now contains all the things that rounds out our school and makes it more than just your courses. Check out the ‘Organization Catalog’ to join a club, or click on the ‘guidance’ link to connect with your guidance department. If you are already a member of an organization, you will find them listed in your “My Organizations” box.
- The top ‘tab area’ has been reduced to allow more room for the content on which you are working.
As part of our regular service and maintenance of our Blackboard environment, we will be upgrading Blackboard Learn during the week of July 22nd. This upgrade will include downtime.
Starting July 23rd, at 3:30 am, Blackboard Learn will be offline as we perform the software upgrades. Although we do not expect it to be offline for longer than 12 hours, it could be offline for as long as 24 hours.
During the remainder of the week, we will be working to apply numerous settings and updating our user interface. During the week of July 22nd, Blackboard Learn may work differently then expected. Please be patient as we finish the upgrade & maintenance process. Do not call the helpline or put in a ticket for Blackboard Learn related issues until after July 29th.
Please be aware that our Blackboard Learn servers will have a rolling restart this evening. The window will be between 8:10pm and 12:10am tonight (March 14). There is no expected downtime, but users may experience a small delay in accessing Blackboard Learn during this time frame.
Dear PA Virtual Families,
It has been a frustrating week for many of our students due to the WSA issue. The Technology Department knows that not every student computer is back up and running, and for that we are truly sorry.
As we noted before, we have corrected the original issue and continue trying to push out updates for student computers. At this time we have had more than 30% of the reported issues fixed just with this pushed updated. Unfortunately, the same issue that is keeping a student from getting online is also limiting our ability to reach out and correct the issue en masse. This has forced us into a situation where we have to call each of the remaining families individually.
If you are one of those remaining families that continue to see the "Access Denied" message, here are some things you can do at this time to help us get you back online as quickly as possible:
- Keep your computer turned on & check it occationally (every 1-2 hours) to see if you can get online. This just may help you get that pushed update.
- If you have already called the helpline, please be patient. We have your ticket already in the queue, and will get back to you as soon as we possibly can.
- If your FSC has contacted you and created a ticket on your behalf, please be patient. We have your ticket already in the queue, and will get back to you as soon as we possibly can.
- If you have not contacted the helpline (#2) or your FSC (#3) over this “Access Denied” issue, please call the helpline now so that we can get you into our ticketing queue.
The Technology Department’s goal has always been to be ‘out of the way’, to allow our students to get to class everyday without thinking about the technology that connects him/her to class. We continue to work to improve that experience, even at this time of frustration. Thank you again for your patience.
The Tech Department has been working with Barracuda, and we have found and corrected the issue that caused the "Access Denied" issue for many students. Correcting the issue has stopped the spread of the problem, but unfortunately does not immediately fix the problem for those students seeing the "Access Denied" notice.
We are reaching out to each family affected by this issue idivudally, as well as pushing out updates to all the computers that have been affected by the "Access Denied" problem. In the mean time, we ask for you patience as we work to assist each and everyone of our families affected. Please do NOT call the helpline phone number at this time, as they are unable to fix this particular issue.
If you are one of the families still affected by the "Access Denied" notice, we ask that:
- Please be patient, the update could be on it way, and we will contacting you as soon as we can. Do NOT call the helpline at this time.
- Please leave your school provided computer turned on, so that it can receive the update. We also ask that you occasional try to access any website, you may find you have already received the update.
- If possible, use a different computer/device to get to class and/or check email for communications from the Tech Department.
We are currently (Jan. 31, 3:30pm) aware of an issue with our student computer's web filtering software. The issue is causing a number of users to get the following message when they try to access any website while using a school provide computer.
We are currently aware of the issue, and are investigating. We will update this post as we get additional information.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
The technology departement is aware of a large number of our community reporting that pages within the OLS are taking a measurably long time to load, and possibly even long enough to cause a 'page time-out' issue.
Our research has shown that we actually have 3 unrelated issues, any one of (or some combination of) causes the page load issue for our users. The fact that we have 3 different issues colliding has forced our tech support staff to address each user indvidually instead of being able to push out one simple fix.
If you have not yet, please review the FAQ article Flash Plugin Disabled When Accessing the OLS . We have found that this process will help some users. We understand it may not fix it for everyone, but if you have not tired it yet, please do so now. Note that these directions are not a 'one time fix'. If it works for you the first time, you will need to continue using the "Chrome - OLS" shortcut.
Please know that our support staff are working as quickly as we can to add get to each and everyone of our community that has run into this problem. We truely applogize for any inconvience this has caused you.
UPDATE: As of Aug 2017, this issue has been addressed. Users can now use a Collaborate Guest link weither or not they are logged into Blackboard Learn.
UPDATE: As of Aug 2016, this is still a known issue.
ORIGINAL POST: There is a known issue with Blackboard Collaborate Guest links cause some users to see a "Not Found" error page. This issue will be addressed by Blackboard Inc, and we hope to see it addressed soon. Until than, the work around is to log out of Blackboard Learn. For full details on the issue, please see the FAQ article "Collaborate Link Returns "Not Found" error page"
Be aware that our Blackboard Learn Environment (http://pavcs.blackboard.com) will be unavailable for July 23rd due to schuduled software upgrades. The downtime will begin at 6:30am and will continue until 6:30pm. After the software upgrade, you may find that Blackboard does not look the same as you are used to. It could take a day or two to re-apply all settings/styles/etc. We ask that you hold off until after Wed (July 26th) before submiting any tech support requests.
Today (May 22) we saw a small rash of scam emails, all had a subject line of "FWD: Hi" or "FWD: Hello", a simpy body of "See below", and a link to a PDF file "File to View 4784874757 .pdf" (appears as an attachment). The email is really sent from a friend's email account, because his/her account was comprimised, and was used to send the email to you.
With today's scam, and the larger one just over 2 weeks ago, the PA Virtual Technology Department hightly suggests that everyone takes a few minutes to review the How To Spot Dangerous Emails FAQ page.
If you clicked on the link it is imparative that you change your Google Apps password as well as any other accounts that may have had the same password. You should also completing the Gmail Security Checklist: https://support.google.com/mail/checklist/2986618
A number of our High School students and parents have been looking for an email from testingnirvana.com related to the Spring Keystone Testing. Dispite our best efforts on our side, we have found that the email is landing in the spam folder for most of our user. If you log into your gmail account, you can use the following search term to find the email(s) in question.
in:spam from:testingnirvana.com after:2017-04-11
From there you can review the email, move it to your inbox, and/or remove the "spam" label.
Users are reporting getting emails that appear to be Google Docs share notices. These appear to be from people within our domain, but addressed TO someone outside our domain, and the user is in the BCC field.
Please do NOT click on anything in these emails. THese appear to be spoofing emails. Here is an example one of these emails:
Google recently annoucned that there was some issue with the Google Docs service, but at the time of this posting did not have any details. This is most likely related. We will update as we get additional information.
If you did click on any of the links provided in the email, you should review your account permissions and if necessay disconnect it from your account. When you review the permissions, if you see the following connected app, remove it. Note that it is titled "Google DOCS" and not "Drive" but it has the drive icon. It is also been granted access to "read/send/delete/manage your mail"
We want to make our users aware that after Monday April 10, Google will be changing the look and feel of the Google Account Login page. This change will be a rolling release, so we do not have an exact date when it will happen for the PA Virtual domain.
This change is mostly visual, and we simply would like to make you aware. You can learn more about the change from the Google Support Site.
Dear PA Virtual Community,
Some users have reported that when they log into a Google App (such as email or Drive) they have a yellow bar at the top of the page noting "This version of Chrome is no longer supported. Please upgrade to a supported browser."
Please note that you do not need to worry about this notice if you are using a PA Virtual provided computer. (You can choose the 'Dismiss' option if you like.)
This is a 'preemptive' notice from Google, as new security features go live for these services. The fact that your browser is 'not supported' will not affect your ability to access Google Apps. You can still get to and use your email, Drive, Sheets, etc.
The tech department is already aware of the changes coming from Google, and has already begun rolling out the Google Chrome updates to PA Virtual provided computers.
If you receive the following error when attempting to log into the DRC Insight Online assessment application
Watch the below video for instructions to correct this error
On Sunday July 17th, our Blackboard Learn server will be down for maintenance. You will not be able to log into Blackboard Learn on the 17th. Please be aware that for July 18 through July 20, we will be preparing our Blackboard Learn environment for the 2016-17 school year. During this time, you may find your Blackboard Learn experience to be inconsistent (color changes, box/location of links change, etc) but we do not expect any additional downtime after the 17th.
UPDATE: Google has reported that service has been restored:
The problem with Google Calendar should be resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better.
UPDATE: Google has updated us with the following:
Google Calendar service has already been restored for some users, and we expect a resolution for all users within the next 1 hours. Please note this time frame is an estimate and may change.
We're investigating reports of an issue with Google Calendar. We will provide more information shortly.
Users of Google Calendar see 'Server Error' page intermittently.
The PA Virtual Tech Department will will update as we recieve additional information. You can see full details at Google's own status page: http://www.google.com/appsstatus
On Friday Morning (May 20, 2016), our Blackboard Learn servers will be down for maintenance. Downtime will begin around midnight Friday morning, and could last as long as 3 hours. We do not expect this downtime to interfere with your daily workflow, but we do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Today Blackboard has released an update to the Blackboard Collaborate Launcher. The launcher must be installed/updated by the end-user (i.e. the tech department can not push it out to you). When launching a Blackboard Collaborate session, you may recieve a notice that a new version is available. You may choose to update at this time, or you can choose to do it later. If you opt to do it later, you can follow "Option 1" directions from our How Do I Update Blackboard Collaborate Launcher? page.
UPDATE: Our provider has addressed the issue, and the phone service has been restored.
-------- ORIGINAL MESSAGE --------
Dear PA Virtual Community,
The PA Virtual technology department is currently aware of intermittent issues with our phone system. We are currently working closely with our service provider to have the problem corrected as soon as possible. We will update this post as we get additional information.
We applogize for any inconvenience this may cause.
A few staff and students have let us know that they have received and email from "Blackboard Profile Verifications" Please note that, although you may modify/update or even set the Blackboard Profile from within our PA Virtual Blackboard system, it is independent from our Blackboard environment.
If you wish to keep your profile active, you simply need to update your profile. Of course, this is completely optional, PA Virtual does not require you to set a "Blackboard Profile". For additional information, and directions on how to update, please see the FAQ article: How Do I Edit My Blackboard Profile?
If you don't have anything to update, you don't have to change anything. Just go to the edit page, and simply click on "Submit".
Example of the email that is being set out:
Blackboard has announced an update to the Blackboard Collaborate Launcher. This is not a critical update, but we do suggest that everyone update at their earliest convenience. This software does not require admin rights to install, and therefore must be updated manually. Directions for updating your Blackboard Collaborate Launcher software can be found in the FAQ article: " How Do I Update Blackboard Collaborate Launcher? "
NOTE: For this first time, most of our users will need to use "Option 2" from the directions. If you try Option 1 and get an error, please check your version, and if you are not using version 1.2 or better, use Option 2.
To learn more about the Blackboard Collaborate Launcher, see: What Is The Blackboard Collaborate Launcher?
Anyone who works with a computer, will eventually hear the phrase "Clear your cache". Many times this is an answer to some kind of technical issue you may be having. If you are new to computers, often this statement is followed with "What is cache?" and/or "How do I clear my cache?". To compound the problem, different programs refer to 'the cache' with different terms (ex. Internet Explorer calls it 'temporary Internet files'). Sometimes it is not just your 'cache' that you need to clear out, but also other temporary files that need to be deleted.
To help make this process easier for our PAVCS community, we are happy to announce our "Clear Cache" script!
This script has been tested for the last year on all our staff computers, and starting yesterday (Feb 17th) we started pushing it out to all PAVCS provided computers. When you receive it, you will see a new icon on your desktop, labeled "Clear Cache":
Running this single script will clear all the temporary files, without you needing to open a bunch of different programs. Just by double clicking this icon you will:
- Clear Internet Explorer's "Temorary Internet Files" (i.e. cache)
- Clear Google Chrome's cache
- Clear Java cache
- Clear Blackboard Collaborate Launcher cache
- Clear DNS cache
- Delete flash cookies
- Delete temporary files
- Delete downloaded Blackboard Collaborate meeting files (the temporary files you download when start a session)
NOTE: If you do not see the "Clear Cache" icon on your desktop by the end of the week, you can download the file from our website, and contact the helpline to assist with the install.