by Maeve O’Brien, ’16

UA School District trades in Moodle for Schoology

The cluttered, inefficient and outdated format of Moodle indicated that it was time for change. Enter Schoology. With more capabilities and a cleaner look, Schoology can provide UAHS with a more effective form of student-teacher communication.

Before, students had to find their courses then self-enroll using a password. Even then, some teachers didn’t utilize Moodle. The need for a solution became apparent.

“I think all in all [Schoology] will help [learning] because students will have one place where they can go, where they’ll have all their assignments, where all the communication can work via that one website,” freshmen English teacher Michael Donelson said. “I think it will improve education as a whole.”

The UAHS administration saw the need for a new platform that students, parents and teachers could all utilize.

“Many sites did not enable parents to login to see their child’s course information,” Chief Academic Officer Emilie Greenwald said. “We wanted something common that all students, staff and parents could use.”

Schoology has received praise for its new functions. Students can view their grades directly from the website, instead of separately logging on to PowerSchool and are automatically enrolled in their classes.

“The most predominant thing that seems to be different is the news feed where, as people sign into different groups, everybody’s conversation will come in,” Donelson said. “It’s more like a Facebook-type of interface where every student, every teacher, every administrator; whatever they say can layer in together.”

Junior Cameron Wade believes Schoology is more compatible with modern technology.

“Schoology is designed to integrate well with Google,” Wade said. “So it will likely simplify my process as a student from a logistical standpoint.”

Although students have been able to take advantage of the new features, there remains confusion in the transition, as some teachers still utilize Moodle instead.

“While I wish that the UA Schools would choose one learning management system and stick with it, the switch to Schoology has been relatively hassle-free,” Wade said.

The amount of accounts, usernames and passwords can be overwhelming. Powerschool, Noodletools, online textbooks, Edline and Turnitin are among the list.

Schoology synthesizes a number of these websites into a cohesive platform. Furthermore, the school district standardized the Powerschool and Schoology passwords to be the same as the school computer logins.

“Instead of having multiple sites to log into, [students] can now see all of their course information in one place.” Greenwald said.

Some Moodle-dependent teachers have to uproot their online material and relocate to Schoology. However, most teachers seem to be making the transition now in order to operate the website smoothly by January.

“The majority of teachers I know are eager to just get going, and so they’ve already set up Schoology,” Donelson said. “So I think by second semester we’ll have 100 percent participation.”

The massive transfer of data to Schoology produced some issues. A handful of students have not been able to log in to Schoology at all.

“There have been some glitches where we’ve had students who haven’t had their sign-ons, but, all in all, it’s been a pretty good transition,” Donelson said.

Despite the initial bumps in the system, Schoology seems to be a promising platform for teachers to build their classes upon. Moodle is out, Schoology is in: effective January 1.

Image Caption: A UAHS student signs into her Schoology account. Most teachers have started using Schoology by requiring their students to log in for homework and activities.

Image by: Emma Ballou