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Nordic News

The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

Complications of cosmetic consumerism

Schoology presents more problems than solutions

The+new+Schoology+platform+adopted+by+NSD+presents+more+problems+than+solutions.+Art+by+Gloria+Shen.
The new Schoology platform adopted by NSD presents more problems than solutions. Art by Gloria Shen.

The beginning of a new school year is generally a time of positive change and new experiences for students. However, the start of this school year has proved to bring more confusion and frustration than joy, and the novel online learning system may be partly to blame. The current school system is operating on a Stage 2 version of ‘Northshore Learns 3.0’ and utilizes a completely virtual classroom with synchronous and asynchronous learning periods. In addition, the district has changed online learning systems: All classes are now organized using Schoology, whereas teachers used to have the option to choose a system that worked for them. Though all of the adjustments have been made with the students’ best interests in mind, Schoology is inefficient at delivering content for daily use and exacerbates the issues that students already face, such as exhaustion, isolation and inhibited productivity.

Schoology is a platform with many more features than past options like Google Classroom or Google Drive, offering the ability to push out updates, materials and assignments in separate categories and webpages. However, properly using these functions has proved more difficult than anticipated, as school started nearly five weeks ago and teachers are still having trouble pushing out the correct information into the corresponding categories and students are often—seemingly randomly—denied access to assignments or handouts. These issues effectively mitigate any benefits that a new learning platform was intended to bring, such as better organization and more flexibility in learning. In online learning environments, the focus should be on providing a comprehensive system that is able to deliver all the necessary materials and information in a reliable way. However, in an effort to create a more complex learning system, the school district has neglected to account for user familiarity and the feasibility of integrating so many features in a short time. 

Aside from the inconvenience of Schoology, the system has also significantly impacted students’ productivity and attitudes towards learning online. On Google Classroom, every material posted to the classroom would appear on the same page, allowing students to easily find and interact with assignments and information. In Schoology, one major drawback has been the ability to post important information in so many different places. With assignments potentially located in several locations, the difficulty of finding the assignments themselves isa deterrence for students to locate and complete assignments; even students that are looking to complete assignments online are sometimes unable to if they don’t constantly check every page the assignment could be on. In an online environment, maintaining motivation is crucial because the nature of virtual learning lessens the interactivity of school that typically promotes productivity. Sitting for hours at a computer is mentally and physically draining, and the learning system should account for that and assist the student’s experience by making it easy to access materials during asynchronous times. Even during synchronous times, finding meeting links is more of a chore than it should be and the constant issues may discourage students from talking and connecting with classmates during Zoom meetings, an activity that teachers are highly encouraging. Thus, as long as Schoology inhibits students’ abilities to access content and complete assignments, the system is directly decreasing student engagement and productivity.

Objectively, Schoology is not a bad learning management system. Features such as in-system grading and the ability to upload audio and visual files create more opportunities for classes to diverge from the typical word-processed document for assignments or materials. However, the Northshore School District implemented this system without proper preparation, and as a result, students and teachers are left disadvantaged. Issues will hopefully lessen as the school year progresses and users familiarize themselves with the features, but until then, Schoology will continue to negatively impact the quality of online learning. 

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About the Contributor
Gloria Shen
Gloria Shen, Feature Editor
Senior Gloria Shen is the Feature Editor of Nordic News for the 2020-2021 school year. This year, her goals are to accentuate the voices, ideas, and events in her community by sharing interesting and genuine stories through feature articles. By being on staff, she hopes to advance her interpersonal skills and educate herself with every article she writes. Outside of Nordic, Gloria is passionate about healthcare and is the Vice-President of HOSA. She can be found practicing ballet, going on hikes with her friends, or playing with cats at her local animal shelter. 

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Schoology presents more problems than solutions