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Community Member

Student's Canvas quizzes keep crashing

I want to put this question out there to see if anyone else has experienced this issue. It's hard to tell if this is a Canvas issue or not because there are so many factors involved.

First, we are a high school (8-12) using Macbook Airs (2017) running Mac OS Sierra (between 10.12.3 and 10.12.6). The students and teachers are all one-to-one. I work in the I.T. department and I'm our department's primary contact for Canvas issues.

I have one 9th grade student who keeps getting kicked out of the browser whenever she takes a quiz on Canvas. I have not been able to determine why this is happening. Here's what we have tried:

The student has used several different laptops, including her original and 3 or 4 different spares, all Macbook Airs.

This has happened during Canvas quizzes she has taken in four different classes. 

We created a new Active Directory login account for her.

We have had her use three different browsers (Chrome, Safari, Respondus Lockdown Browser).

We have had her log in to her new AD account and as a local administrator.

We have had her use two different Canvas accounts to take the same test quiz.

We have had her logged into her G-suite account on one laptop and not logged in on another.

I ran Malware bytes and removed any strange Chrome extensions I saw.

I have taken two different quizzes (the test quiz and a Geography quiz) while logged in as her with no crashes.

So the only common factor is her.

I can't figure this out. It's completely baffling me. Any thoughts? Has this happened to anyone else?

Thanks,

Paul BIleci

Mount Carmel Academy

I.T. Department

22 Replies
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Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi pbileci@mcacubs.org,

That is a really interesting one. I have a bit of a strange question, but it is the only thing that has immediately come to mind (and apologies if it sounds basic). I have experienced things in the past which leads me to this as a good additional troubleshooting step (when you have exhausted everything else like you have).

Have you observed the issue yourself alongside the student without guiding them at all? I have seen a few times where a very specific set of circumstances arose due to something the user themselves was doing. The only way to ascertain this was to observe them with zero guidance, we then found something that they were doing, that we never thought of (and had previously guided them around, when walking them through it).

Also, to gather a bit more information, when you say kicked out of the browser, I assume you mean a complete browser crash as opposed to being logged out? (again, good to be thorough to get all the facts).

Oh, and do you have roaming profiles of any types, and things that were copied across to the new AD account at all? (trying to understand if there could be anything that is unique to her user profile on the computers, that may inadvertently occur each time she logs in to a new machine).

Look forward to your thoughts, I will continue to ponder this in my mind as well and see if I can come up with any quirky ideas.

Cheers,

Stuart

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Thanks, Stuart. I’ve watched her take a couple of quizzes and I haven’t observed anything out of the ordinary. Maybe I need to pay closer attention to what she’s typing/doing.

Yes, kicked out of the browser means a total browser crash. And this happens in Chrome, Respondus Lockdown Browser, and Safari. It’s odd because I don’t think there is any kind of accidental button combination that can close the browser if you’re using Lockdown.

We don’t use roaming profiles. The only thing we have set up is whenever a user logs into a Macbook for the first time, a mobile profile is created for them on that computer so they can log in off campus.

We created a new Active Directory account for her after it started happening and she’s been using that to log in, however, that didn’t make a difference.

I’m at my wit’s end with this. I contacted Canvas support but they can’t figure anything out either. I even tried to do a video screen capture with Quicktime to send them but the recording stopped before anything happened.

Thanks,

Paul Bileci

Mount Carmel Academy

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Wow, that is a nail biter. OK, just jumping in to let you know I have read this, I am going to need a day to let my mind ponder this and see what I can conjure up.

Will get back to you soon hopefully with some more ideas!

Stuart 

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Hi pbileci@mcacubs.org,

All righty, so it has been a slow journey in to work and I have been able to get some initial pondering, thinking and ideas in. I will continue to ponder this today and see what else I can come up with but these should be some good next steps.

All righty, so we have eliminated the roaming profiles and active directory account, goodo!

  1. Does she have any unusual characters in her name, or is her name noticeably longer than most peoples (either first or surname)
  2. While this is a tad unusual, have you attempted to get her to do the quiz under a known working account. I know you mentioned that you had her try under two different accounts, but was the first one a known working account? For example, enrol a teacher's account as a student, get them to attempt the quiz, then have the 9th grade student re-attempt the quiz under that same account, on the same device. That should help eliminate a few more variables.
  3. On Chrome (I will pick this as I am most familiar with it), I would recommend enabling debug logs (temporarily only) and then after a crash the debug logs may reveal more, I would be interested in seeing if there is anything in there that reveals perhaps what is happening. You can find out how to do this at https://support.google.com/chrome/a/answer/6271282?hl=en. Granted, it is happening across browser but it seems whatever is causing it is identical across, so figuring it out in one, should solve it for all. Would be great to have this in line with a screen recording (including the start time, time of crash etc, see below for my screen recording suggestion). I wouldn't suggest uploading the debug log here, but if you are happy to provide it to me securely (you can direct message me), I am happy to have a peruse.
  4. I would also recommend watching the keystrokes closely and like a hawk, given this seems like a very unusual edge case, you simply never know. For example, it could come down to something as simple as if the student always needs a capital Q, however when they attempt that (as it is an awkward one to get) they could be hitting Command + Q instead, without realising it. Absolute long shot, but I said I would try to think creatively and out of the box :smileygrin:.
  5. I could also recommend grabbing a trial of Screenflow on the Mac (http://www.telestream.net/controls/screenflow/download-screenflow.htm ), that would let you do a couple of things, take a screen recording (I would recommend you start this *after* the student logs in) because a benefit of Screenflow is that it also takes note of the keystrokes, and you can play the video back with the keystrokes noted at the bottom of the screen. I would be really curious to see a video of this in action if you are able to get it, especially with Screenflow. If confidentiality is a concern (which I understand), again, happy for you to private message me a link to the video to see the problem in action. I can also give you some tips on how to reveal the keystrokes on a video in Screenflow if that is a possible option. The trial watermarks the videos, but in this case, that shouldn't be a problem. Also I have found it to be particularly resilient when other things crash around it, so it tends to capture them well.

All righty, please let me know how you go, and I will continue to ponder while I await your thoughts.

Cheers,
Stuart

Learner II

I confess, I'm following this with baited breath!

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Right??? I can't resist a good Canvas mystery. Although I sympathize with how frustrating it must be.

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Community Member

I've been out sick for a few days and I haven't heard anything from student's teachers except that she was able to take one quiz without it crashing. I'm going to check with them for a status update and let everyone know. 

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No worries pbileci@mcacubs.orgtake it nice and easy, and look forward to hearing from you when you are back on your feet. (I too am watching with bated breath). 

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Surveyor

It's affecting only one student using exclusively Macbook Airs? 

Have the student use a Windows computer to see if this student may be having Mac cache problems with AD, especially if these are imaged Macs. If it works, then look at the Macbook Air's logs to see if there is anything failing.

Most browsers have developer tools - for instance in Chrome it's the Settings (3 vertical dots), then "More Tools", then "Developer Tools". When Developer Tools loads, check for errors and read the error messages closely as they sometime point to the issue.

Another tool to use is an HTTP analyzer like "Fiddler" - I think they make a version for Mac. You can use this to analyze/record traffic and even though it may crash the browser many times you can tell what killed it.

Assuming that the quiz in question is not requiring RLDB - the final suggestion is to try Firefox.

You'll get this, it's just persistence.

Paul

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