Classwize Rules FAQ

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This topic answers common questions about Rules and provides troubleshooting advice for common problems.

How do Classwize Rules work?

Classwize Rules are a temporary override of your school’s day-to-day content filtering policies.

  • You can use an Allow Rule to let students in your class access websites or use applications that would otherwise be blocked by your school’s content filter or Global Rules.
  • You can create a Block Rule to stop students from accessing resources during your class that may be disruptive or off-topic.


Do Block Rules block both desktop and browser versions of apps?

A Block rule will block access to the web version of an app completely, and stop students from using any features of the desktop app that require internet access to work. Here’s how it works:

  • If a teacher adds a Block rule for a web app (for example, Google Docs) that is currently open on a student’s tab, that tab will close immediately and the student will receive a message that it has been closed by their teacher, like the one below.

  • If a student attempts to open a web app that has a Block rule, they will be blocked from opening the page and the “Content Blocked” notification will appear on their browser. The student can select See why it’s blocked and ask you for a Bypass Code to access the blocked site.
  • If a student tries to open the desktop version of a web app, they will be able to open the application or use it without an internet connection. However, any feature that requires internet access, like saving the document in an online drive, will not work. For more information, see How Classwize Rules Work.

Can I add rules for desktop apps?

Yes, you can add rules for desktop apps on Windows devices, including Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, internet browsers, and Windows utilities, like Calculator and Calendar. You can add Rules for native Windows applications and utilities, as well as the most commonly used web browsers, audio and video players, and games just to name a few. You can find the complete list of applications on this page.

If you can’t find the application you want to add in your Classwize Rule, contact Linewize Support and provide as much information about the desktop application that you’d like to be included in Classwize Rules.

Can I add rules for URLs?

You can add Classwize Rules for URLs, including URLs of YouTube videos. If you want to block or allow a page without affecting the rest of the site or signature, you can create a rule specifically for its URL. When you add a rule, enter the page’s URL in the Add new rule dialog. See: Adding, Editing and Removing Classwize Rules.

How quickly do Classwize Rules take effect?

New Rules will start working immediately. However, what happens on your students’ side will differ depending on which version of Linewize Connect is installed on their device.

For Connect for Chrome

  • If a student is on a page that you want to block, turning on a Block rule will immediately kick the student off that page. The tab will close, and the student will get a message on their screen telling them that you closed a tab.

For Connect for Windows or macOS, or devices without Connect installed

  • The student will still be able to access the blocked website until they go to another page or reload the one that they are currently viewing. This is due to caching, which allows browsers to save temporary files for quicker loading the next time the user opens a web page.
  • Videos will not close immediately, but buffering or loading will stop eventually while the new rule takes effect.
  • If you create a Rule for a class that is not active or in session, the Rule will apply when the class starts.

For desktop apps (Windows only)

Rules for desktop apps will take effect depending on when you created them.

Rules created for apps while… Will take effect…
The class is in session Immediately
The class is NOT in session 60 seconds from the start of class
The student’s device is on Sleep Mode

60 seconds from waking up the device.

If a Block Rule is created for an app that is running on their device, the student will receive a notification and they must save their work immediately.


Do Classwize Rules work in all classes?

The rules you create are unique to each of your classes, and they only take effect while that specific class is running.

For example, your school’s filter may normally stop students from accessing YouTube. If you wanted students in your class to access YouTube to support their learning, you could create an "Allow YouTube" rule in Classwize. The students in your class will be able to access YouTube until the class ends or you disable the rule, whichever happens first.

I’ve made an Allow Rule but my students still can’t access the site.

There are a number of reasons why the new rule might not work, including:

  • The signature is Locked Blocked by your school.
  • The site that you want students to access belongs in a blocked category.
  • The site has a parent category that has a Blocked rule.

See How Classwize Rules Work for more information. If the issue continues, contact your school’s IT support for help.

I made an Allow Rule but the site is not working properly or looks wrong.

When this happens, try to create the rules at the signature level, rather than on the specific domain, subdomain or url. If you create a Rule for a domain, subdomain or url, the site may need to get data from other sites, and those sites may be blocked. Creating a Rule on the Signature will make sure the site and all the sites it needs to work will be unblocked.

For example, if you allow the domain while videos from Vimeo or YouTube are blocked, Khan Academy will not show instructional videos. However, if you allowed the Khan Academy signature instead, the videos would appear because the signature includes everything Khan Academy needs to work, including Vimeo and YouTube.

I’ve made a Block Rule but my students can still access the site.

There are a couple of reasons why students may still be on a website after you’ve blocked it.

  • Your school always Allows this site: Just as your school can Lock Block a site, which stops Classwize Allow Rules from temporarily unblocking it, your school can also Lock Allow a site. This prevents you from using Classwize to Block the site. This is usually done for essential websites where blocking them can disrupt classes and even non-teaching activities at school.
  • You have an Allow rule on the same signature: If you have both Allowed and Blocked a signature, the Allowed rule always wins. For example, if you create a rule to Allow YouTube for your class and then create a second rule that Blocks it for a single student, the student will still be able to access YouTube.
  • You may have an Allow rule on a parent category: In Classwize, Allow rules always beat Block rules. If you Allow a parent Category Signature and Block a child category, the block won’t work. You’ll need to Block the parent category or turn off the Allow rule.

    For example, if you create an Allow rule for the parent category Gaming and then set up a Block rule for the child category Online Gaming, then Online Gaming will still be allowed. That is because the child category inherits the rule from its parent category. If you want to Allow Educational Games (for example) but Block other Gaming you should block the parent category and allow the child. Ie: Block generically and Allow specifically.

Are my Rules saved from class to class?

No. If you set a rule for one class, it will be saved for that class only and applied each time the class runs. The rule will switch off when you turn the rule off or delete the class. The rule will not apply to any other classes you have.

Can I create rules even if the class isn’t in session?

Yes! It’s good practice to set up base rules for a class before it starts. However, remember that the rules you make for a class only apply to it, and only take effect while the class is active.


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