MySchool upgrades cause various tech difficulties

The summer’s major upgrade to Moodle, the CHS website, from version 1.9 to 2.5 has caused ripples school-wide as students, teachers and the techies alike relearn how to use MySchool.

“One of the settings we didn’t know about that changed was how to allow students to unenroll or enroll correctly,” says Colin Matheson, the administrator of MySchool.

Before being fixed by Matheson, students struggled to locate assignments for classes they weren’t enrolled in yet.

Another glitch that has directly affected CHS students is Google Docs. If one student is logged into a personal Google Docs account, and that student clicks on My Docs from their MySchool page, then it will link to their personal Google Docs from their MySchool page. This poses issues because students trying to share a completed assignment from their school account could become flustered when they have no way to access it.

However, Matheson is working hard to resolve the issues.

“One bug is that when the teachers insert tables they’re small,” Matheson says. “I went in and edited the JavaScript of that file.”

Despite the continual progress of our tech team, some students still struggle with MySchool.

“The new layout makes it harder to locate classes and doesn’t add anything of notable substance,” senior Eli Messinger says.

Another part of the problem is the running release format of MySchool. This means that any changes made to MySchool are applied in real time.

“This weekend I noticed one [glitch] where the grid, instead of taking me to the unit, kept on taking me to the top of the page,” CHS teacher Jason Maas-Baldwin says. “It lasted for the whole day, but then on Monday it was gone.”

This was not the only trouble Maas-Baldwin faced.

“Another little glitch that I spent about two hours on was that all my tables, all the borders of the tables and the gridlines in the tables just disappeared,” Maas-Baldwin explains. “I had to go deep into Moodle forums to find some minute setting.”

After hours of navigating the deep, dark caverns of MySchool, Maas-Baldwin has some advice for all MySchool users.

“What I’m doing now is that if I have glitches, I’m just going to wait a couple days before I try to figure it out because the glitch just might work itself out,” Maas-Baldwin says.

Matheson concedes MySchool has glitches, but also feels there have been significant improvements.

“Instead of paying someone else to keep it on their computers,” Matheson explains, “we moved it to our new home and data center.”

This isn’t all that has been done this year. There has been a whole host of improvements to Moodle.

“[MySchool] was in some company’s data center in Philadelphia. We paid them. The problem with that is that it’s called share-hosting,” Matheson explains. “It would get really slow for 15 minutes. So far this year we haven’t had that. It’s just our school on the box.”

Now, not only will the district save money over time by not renting the server, but this also this makes it faster at school and makes it easier to upgrade the computer. Since MySchool was moved to local servers, CUSD has doubled the RAM on it.

Although students, teachers and staff all feel the growing pains, CHS math teacher Steve Nacht remarks the problem isn’t MySchool itself.

“It was more just getting used to the new version,” Nacht says.

With rampant improvements and a highly competent tech team, Matheson believes MySchool will soon be better than it was before.

-Jacob Waters