Hello again! I hope everyone has had a good start to the school year, and if you’re in the United States, you’ve been able to take some time to relax and enjoy Labor Day weekend.
In this newsletter, I’ve included important information about these topics:
- New student account creation features
- Issues with website security software
- New features & bug fixes
- Site licenses for the ChemQuiz.net Dashboard (and PhysQuiz.net!)
New student account creation features
So far, teachers have already created 6,322 new student accounts for the ChemQuiz.net Dashboard since July 1, 2023. For the entire previous school year, there were 12,333 student accounts, so we’ve already added over half as many as last year, and September just started! 😱
While most student accounts have been created without any problems, there have been a few issues that have popped up that have been brought to my attention by a number of teachers. One of the main issues is that students never receive a registration email that allows them to set their password because their district blocks outside emails.
To try to resolve this issue, I’ve added two new features that I think will help:
1. Students can now set their password when they’re using a join code. This solution is so obvious that I don’t know why it took me so long to think of it. 🤦🏻♂️ Once a student has successfully created their account, they can go to the Login page and get started in the ChemQuiz.net Dashboard immediately.
2. Teachers can now set student passwords when creating accounts with a CSV file. If you use another LMS like Google Classroom or Canvas, or an online gradebook like ProgressBook, you can export your list of students as a CSV file (“comma separated values”) and add a column for passwords. You can also make a copy of the Google Sheet that I’ve created for this purpose and enter your students’ email addresses, names and passwords, and then export it as a CSV or get the share link and use that in the ChemQuiz.net Dashboard to import your student accounts. (Thanks for the suggestion, Chris!)
Also, if your school uses Google for Education, encourage your students to use the “Log in with Google” button! Unfortunately, I’ve heard from two teachers who have encountered an error that says “Access blocked: Your institution’s admin needs to review ChemQuiz.net” when students try to log in. If you see this message, you’ll need to get in contact with your district’s tech support to get this resolved in the Google Admin panel.
Don’t forget: you can manually set student passwords in the ChemQuiz.net Dashboard, and you can also generate random passwords for them using the “bulk actions” menu on the Students page.
I’m hoping these new features make the onboarding process a little bit easier for you and your students! However, if you encounter any issues, please reach out to me and I’ll be happy to help you.
Issues with website security software
As I mentioned in last month’s newsletter, I migrated ChemQuiz.net to a new web hosting company in early July so that I could improve the site’s speed and reliability. I’ve been really happy with their support staff, and they’ve been extremely helpful (and patient!) with resolving the issues that typically occur whenever a site migrates. It was definitely the right decision to move.
Having said that, there have been a few glitches due to their robust security software. Combine that with the additional security software that I’m running, and there have been a number of “false positives” that have prevented students from completing assignments or being able to access the site at all.
Thanks to the detailed emails and screenshots from a number of teachers, I’ve fixed several of the “Forbidden” errors that teachers and students have experienced recently, particularly with the Naming Compounds & Calculating Molar Masses Quiz. If you come across one of these errors, please let me know the date and time that it happened to you so I can track it down in the server logs. The more details you can send me, the better.
Another issue that a number of schools have experienced is when the Wordfence security software blocks them entirely from accessing the site. This happens when too many students try to log in with an incorrect password and the school or district is behind a proxy that makes all of the individual student devices look like one IP address. I’ve relaxed a lot of these settings but I can’t disable them entirely because the site is under attack on a regular basis, like most websites are.
I’m hoping that the new student account creation features will decrease the number of failed login attempts, but in the meantime, if you’re about to onboard your classes, try googling “what’s my IP address” while you’re at school and send me the result. That way, I can add your school’s IP address to a whitelist so that it’s ignored by some of the security software, which makes it less likely that you’ll get blocked. It’s not an ideal solution, but it works!
New quiz features & bug fixes
There are no new quizzes this month, but I’ve added some new features and fixed some bugs to help ChemQuiz.net run more smoothly for you and your students.
Dashboard – these features and bug fixes also apply to PhysQuiz.net
- added ability to set student password on CSV upload or when creating account (thanks, Chris!)
- quiz completion time was sometimes saved using local timezone instead of UTC (thanks, Racquel!)
- added quiz option headers to some quiz forms so the options are better organized
- teachers can now prevent students from seeing scores or correct answers in an assignment (thanks, Jennifer & Laura!)
- added an option to only include Kc equations
- added an option to use Keq label for all problems (thanks, Helen!)
- quiz gave an empty settings error for mass/moles even if the question type didn’t require it
- isotope notation SVGs weren’t displaying (thanks, Mary Ann!)
- added more granular question options (e.g., disable the instantaneous rate option) (thanks again, Helen!)
- fixed solution for instantaneous rate law so that it uses values from the given table (thanks, Susan!)
- Apache ModSecurity rule was preventing submission of answers for large quizzes (25+ questions) (thanks again, Mary Ann!)
- mercury(II) hydroxide was entered incorrectly in the database (thanks again, Mary Ann!)
Other new features and bug fixes
- added ability for students to set password on registration form with join code
- creating a student account with join code for inactive class may create a user associated with a non-existent school
- school join codes weren’t being recognized properly (thanks, Blake!)
- Apache ModSecurity was preventing submission of URLs on Teacher Interest form
I keep track of every bug or issue that gets reported as well as every new quiz suggestion that’s sent in, so I’ll continue to address those as they come in. New features and quizzes can take a while to develop properly, and some bugs are easier to fix than others, so I appreciate your patience! ChemQuiz.net has improved significantly over the past three years thanks to all the teachers and students who have sent in reports, so please keep sending them in!
Site licenses for the ChemQuiz.net Dashboard
Site licenses for the ChemQuiz.net Dashboard allow teachers to create assignments for their students and track their progress. Thanks so much to the 66 schools and tutors who have renewed or purchased a site license for the 2023-2024 school year! Site licenses are also how I pay for the web hosting and the software I use to write the quizzes, and it keeps the website ad-free.
If you’d like to purchase a ChemQuiz.net site license for the 2023-2024 school year for just US$50, you can pay in the following ways:
- credit card through Square (the most popular option)
- school purchase order (contact me for a sales quote – I’m happy to fill out any paperwork required by your school or district!)
- personal check
- CashApp, PayPal, Venmo or Zelle at firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember, site licenses are by building, so one license applies to every teacher and student in your entire school! Additional schools in the same district can purchase an add-on license for just US$25 per school.
If you also teach physics or you have a colleague who does, you can bundle a site license for the PhysQuiz.net Dashboard for just US$25 more! Please contact me if you have any questions about how to purchase a site license.
One last thing – if you teach in a high poverty public school or district (at least 50% of your students on free/reduced lunch or designated “economically disadvantaged”), please send me a link to the supporting documentation and you’ll get a free site license for the ChemQuiz.net Dashboard forever (PhysQuiz.net, too!).
Help me share ChemQuiz.net with the world!
If you like using ChemQuiz.net, there are three quick and easy things that you can do to help me promote the site!
- Add your school to the list of supporters on the About page! Go to the ChemQuiz.net Dashboard, click on “Your Info” in the top menu bar, check the box next to “Display School on ChemQuiz.net“, and click the “Update Your Info” button.
- Tell another Chemistry teacher about ChemQuiz.net and encourage them to try out the Dashboard!
- Follow @ChemQuizDotNet on X (Twitter), Facebook and Threads and share my updates with your fellow Chemistry teachers!
I hope the school year has started well for everyone so far! After mild temperatures and lots of rain in northeast Ohio for most of the summer, we’re looking at a heat wave this upcoming week that’s going to push the limits of our HVAC systems. I just moved to a new classroom that used to have the best air conditioning in the building, but for some reason it suddenly stopped working this summer! 😩I might have to take my afternoon classes on a spontaneous tour of the walk-in freezer next to the cafeteria just to make it through the heat.
Thanks again for your support of ChemQuiz.net! Please reach out any time via the Contact form or at email@example.com if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. Take care!