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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?


Paul BIleci

Mount Carmel Academy

I.T. Department

22 Replies

Yes one student and on Macbook Airs because that's what the students use. I didn't think about trying on a Windows computer, I think because the students all exclusively use their Macbooks in class. Thanks for the suggestions. So far, the teachers I have spoken to recently said she has been able to take quizzes without the browser crashing. We'll see. Perhaps it just worked itself out on it's own. 

Community Member

Update: Her teachers told me she didn't have any problems yesterday but she's back in the office today. I tried having her use a Windows laptop with Chrome and then Firefox. Not only did both browsers crash, but the screen went black, as if the computer was going into sleep mode before this happened. I turned off sleeping, screen blanking, etc. in Control Panel.

Check the application and system logs in the event viewer on the Windows laptop, and if you have access to the AD server, you should check those logs too.

Also, in this latest attempt, where you masquerading as the student, using Student View, or was this the actual student’s account?

This is so juicy, I can't help but weigh in, Paul. To me, this really sounds like user error, but it's got to be some strange combination. 

Does she use the backspace key to correct her typing? Is it possible the cursor is losing focus (as they sometimes do) and when she hits the backspace she's being thrown out of the quiz? (Doesn't really explain the browser crashing, though.) Does the problem occur more with "point and click" questions like multiple choice, or text entry questions? Might be a clue as to what key combo is getting hit. I would also look for things like fingers resting on touchpad while typing. A real poser ...

Community Coach
Community Coach

Loving all the extra thoughts and! Also would still really love to see the video if this is still occurring, the more I think about it, the more I think it has to be a combination of keystrokes.


Surveyor II

Are the questions or answers she is entering a potential vector?  Are people pasting in answers, could it be coming from something being pasted in?

Community Member

So this is still happening and we still haven't figured it out. 

You know this one kept me up at night when it first came up! Very sad to hear it is still occurring, let me put my thinking cap on to see if I can think outside some more boxes for you.

Will keep you posted.



You haven’t said what kind of quizzes, text entry or multiple choice.

Assuming it’s the former, and the only common denominator seems to the user and MacOS, I’d be pretty confident she’s hitting command instead of shift at some point and getting command-q or command-w instead of capital “Q” or capital “W”. 

Do you have a USB keyboard she could try? The springier the keys are and the more travel they have, the harder it is to hit something accidentally or mash keys.

If it follows her across accounts and doesn’t haffect other people logged in as her, it’s almost certainly a user behavior and not a technical issue. You could give her a real mouse and take multi-touch out of the equation, as well.

It stopped for a while after I told her to cover the camera (because why not?). Then it started happening again. For now, I'm only hearing complaints from one teacher but her other teachers may just be ignoring it. That one teacher thinks she's getting a button combo to quit the browser. And while that may be true with standard browsers, it shouldn't happen with Lockdown Browser.