Every new school year brings along new changes. This year, the big change is the introduction of the devices that every student received. Along with the devices, came a brand new learning management system (LMS), Schoology.
Rolling out this year throughout Baltimore County Public Schools, Schoology replaced BCPSOne as the platform for grade reporting and communication between students, parents, and teachers.
Although the premise is the same, there are some major differences from the old LMS, BCPSOne. Instead of seeing all your courses on the home page on BCPSOne, Schoology separates each class into its own section. After clicking on a specific course, you are able to see class-specific materials, such as that night’s homework or PowerPoints that you had worked on in class.
The layout of the system is designed to mimic a sort of social media platform. The home page on Schoology is laid out like a feed, where you can see messages and posts from all of your teachers. This feature is quite different from BCPSone, where there was no specific or easily accessible place for a teacher to get a message out to all of their students.
Similar to BCPSOne, each class has a calendar where students are able to easily see each of their assignments and specific due dates. This allows for easy organization of class materials for both students and teachers.
Although some teachers and students seemed to have had higher hopes for the system and its functions, some teachers have been having trouble using some of Schoology’s functions, such as uploading and organizing materials on the platform so that they are accessible to students.
“[Teachers] don’t really use it that much, I mean it’s similar to BCPSOne from last year,” Carroll (’22) said. “It’s a lot more complicated and not many teachers know how to use it properly.”
It has also been more difficult for students to message teachers directly about matters, and vice versa.
“I don’t receive any notifications to indicate that a student has sent me a message and this is frustrating to both me and my students,” English teacher Jennifer Houseknecht said. “It would be really helpful to have instant notification of messages.”
One of the main complaints of the system so far has been not having the ability to see all of your grade averages on one page, unlike BCPSone where they were all laid out on the home screen.
“I don’t really like Schoology in terms of finding grades,” Derek Wu (’20) said. “I wish they had the classes all lined up so that you could just click on them versus finding another tab to find them.”
The system also comes with an app that can be downloaded on to your smart phone. The app allows you to access your grades, calendars, and materials at any time. Although so far, according to many students, the app hasn’t seemed to live up to its website counterpart.
“I don’t like [the app] because it doesn’t show your exact grades,” Keegan Hoover (‘20) said. “I wish you could see the percentages on your tests and stuff.”
Complaints aside, some students and teachers have been able to successfully utilize Schoology and its features.
“[Teachers] have been able to upload some assignments and I feel like they’ve been putting in grades faster,” Ellie George (’20) said.
The change in learning management system has been just that, and as the year goes on, hopefully, both teachers and students will figure it out together and be able to use Schoology to its full potential.