This topic answers common questions about Rules and provides troubleshooting advice for common problems.
About Classwize Rules
How do Classwize Rules work?
- Classwize Rules are a temporary overrides of your school’s day-to-day content filtering policies.
You can use Allow Rules to let students in your class access websites or use applications that would otherwise be blocked by your school’s content filtering policies.
- You can use Block Rules to stop students from accessing resources during your class that may be disruptive or off-topic.
- You can use Block Rules to stop students from opening certain applications on their Windows devices during class.
Do Classwize Rules work across all of my classes?
No. If you set a rule for one of your classes, it will be saved for that class only and applied each time the class runs. The rule will not apply to any other classes you have.
For example, your school’s filter may normally block students from accessing YouTube. If you wanted students in your first class of the day to access YouTube to support their learning, you could create an "Allow YouTube" rule in that class. The students in this class will be able to access YouTube until the class ends or you delete the rule, whichever happens first. None of your other classes would be able to access YouTube unless you also created an Allow rule for them.
Do Block Rules block both desktop and browser versions of apps?
Yes, a Block rule will block access to both web and Windows desktop versions of an app. Here’s how it works:
Rules for signatures
Rules for signatures will apply to both the web and, on Windows devices, desktop versions. For example adding a Blocked Rule for the Spotify signature will block both the Spotify desktop app for Windows and the Spotify Web Player.
Rules for categories
Block rules for Categories will apply to both the web and, on Windows devices, desktop versions of any applications in the category. For example, a Blocked rule for the Streaming Media category will block both Spotify Web Player and the Spotify desktop application for Windows devices. It will also block video streaming sites, such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, Twitch and YouTube, to name a few.
See How Classwize Rules Work for more information about Category Signatures.
Rules for desktop applications (Windows only)
You can add Block Rules for some Windows applications that don’t have a web component, such as Paint, Solitaire, Notepad), Adobe Reader, VLC Media Player or Firefox. See the list of compatible Windows applications on this page.
Can I add rules for URLs?
Yes. If you want to block or allow a single page, including specific YouTube videos, 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.
- If a student is currently 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.
- If they attempt to open a site that has a Block rule, they will be blocked from opening the page and the “Content Blocked” notification will appear on their browser immediately. The student can select See why it’s blocked and ask you for a Bypass Code (Chrome only) to access the blocked site.
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.
Streaming videos will not close immediately, but buffering or loading will stop eventually as the new rule takes effect.
For desktop apps (Connect for 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 or hibernation||60 seconds from waking up the device.|
|The app is currently running on the student’s Windows device||60 seconds|
Before the rules take effect at the start of the class, while the app is open on the student’s device or when they wake up their device from hibernation, they will receive a prompt that tells them the app will close in 60 seconds.
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 that class, and only take effect while the class is active.
Does Classwize test if my rule is valid?
Yes, Classwize always checks to make sure your rules will work as you expect and prevents you from creating rules that won’t work.
How will I know if the rule that I’m creating is not valid?
Classwize will tell you if your rule is invalid at the time you’re adding it. If the rule you’re adding is a duplicate or conflicts with a Locked rule set by the school, a message will appear on the Add new rule dialog. You can then choose to edit the existing Classwize rule or speak to your school’s IT support to discuss changing the Locked rule. See Rules Validation Overview for more information on how Classwize validates new rules.
I want to add a rule for a site, but it conflicts with a Locked policy in School Manager. What should I do?
Contact your school’s IT support staff to discuss unlocking the filtering policy. Find out more about Locked policies here.
Can I check if a rule I created works before my class starts?
Yes! You can create rules and check if they work before your class starts. Any rules that you create will still be validated.
What happens to my existing Allowed rule if my school Lock-Blocks a corresponding policy in School Manager?
The Allowed rule in Classwize will no longer work. However, the rule will remain in your Rules list until you try to edit it. Students who try to access the resource will be blocked. If the change happens while your class is in session their connection will be blocked after a few seconds, or when they attempt to navigate to another tab or open a new link within the site.
Do rules created in School Manager affect both web and desktop versions of applications?
Rules created in School Manager only affect the web versions of applications and not their desktop versions. For example, a Locked-Blocked rule in School Manager for Outlook will only block access to Outlook.com and not to the Microsoft Outlook application installed in the student’s Windows device.
To block both web and desktop versions of Outlook, add a Blocked rule in Classwize.
Classwize won’t let me add a new rule.
Classwize checks new rules to make sure they don’t duplicate existing rules or conflict with Locked Policies set by your school in School Manager.
- Duplicated rule: The Add new rule dialog will prompt you to edit the existing rule instead. Select Yes, Edit to update the rule.
Fig. 1: An invalid rule prompt appears for a duplicate rule.
- Conflicting rule: If the rule you’re adding conflicts with a Locked Policy, you will receive a prompt that you can’t create the new rule.
Fig 2: An invalid rule prompt appears for a Locked rule.
I made an Allow Rule but the site is not working properly or looks wrong.
This can happen when you’ve made a rule allowing a specific domain, subdomain or page and it needs to get data from other sites that are blocked. Try to create the rule at the signature level instead. Creating a Rule on the Signature will make sure the site and all other sites it needs to work will be unblocked.
For example, if you allow the domain powerschool.com while videos from Vimeo.com are blocked, the site will not show the embedded videos. However, if you allow the “Power Schools Learning” signature instead, the videos from Vimeo would appear because the signature includes everything Power Schools Learning needs to work, including embedded videos. Allowed sites or pages can still load on students’ browsers, but embedded content such as videos from blocked sites will appear as Blocked frames within allowed sites.
I’ve made a Block Rule but my students can still access the site.
You may have an Allow rule that applies to only some students. If you create a rule to Block YouTube for the whole class and then create a second rule that allows it for some students from the same class, these students will still be able to access YouTube.
Fig 3. A Blocked rule for the Entertainment category applies to the whole class except Adrian Fischer and Danielle Bernard.