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School plans to replace Schoology with alternative

Maddie Hepburn (’26) looks at different course pages on Schoology. Students in the High School have used Schoology for the past five years but will use a different learning platform beginning in the fall.

Students will no longer use Schoology beginning in the fall, as it is likely to be replaced by a different learning management system, according to Tech Coordinator Mark Scharen. The leadership team made the decision following the technology department’s triennial evaluation to determine if the current LMS was meeting student and faculty needs.

During the inspection, Scharen said he noticed numerous problems arise with Schoology’s performance.

“There were definitely things about Schoology that people enjoyed and people liked,” Scharen said. “But I think that there were enough issues for us to say, ‘it might be worth reviewing other systems that are out there.’”

Scharen said Schoology has been used by students for the last five years after replacing its partnered product PowerSchool in 2019. He said the transition between these two systems was “challenging” since it happened near the beginning of the pandemic.

Social Studies Teacher Yonsoo Kang said although the community will need to adjust to the new LMS platform, he believes replacing Schoology in the next school year is a good switch since he has noticed many inconveniences with the program set-up.

“There are just a couple of features that are not there that makes our [teachers] life a lot harder,” Kang said. “It’s just more redundant, more buttons to press, more things to do. I just think there are better engines out there that can do the job well for students and staff.”

Scharen said the Technology Department hopes to collect student feedback on three potential LMS options in the coming weeks. The three contenders all work in conjunction with other sites used in the High School.

With Schoology, Scharen said a common complaint regarded the gradebook and inputting scores. As departments have different grading methods, Scharen said the LMS in use must have “flexibility as people want to do more standards-based reporting, to build a report the way they want to.”

Kang said he has struggled with Schoology’s gradebook and finds it redundant to manually average test scores.

“Now you’re telling me I have to export all the data, average it because Schoology can’t average it for you,” Kang said. “I mean it’s just an extra step I’ve got to deal with.”

Sophia Hsu

Furthermore, Leo Shasha (’25) said he is pleased to hear about the change because of technical issues he has experienced with Schoology.

“Schoology is not reliable for me just because a lot of times it’s been down this year,” Shasha said. “Those have been times when I needed to do work, and I wasn’t able to do work. And some of the teachers haven’t been understanding about the fact that it was down.”

Meanwhile, Saira Mundassery (’26) said she mainly has positive opinions about Schoology.

“I like that it’s easily organized and it’s different depending on your teacher,” Mundassery said. “They organize it the way that they see best fit.”

Scharen said the technology department has collected data and opinions on Schoology in the past year, which included meeting with teachers, the High School leadership team and occasionally using student trials.

“When we hear about issues, particularly here in the tech office, we would be talking to people at the time to say ‘Have you experienced anything else that was challenging?’” Scharen said.

Mundassery said she recalls testing out different LMS platforms in her Spanish class last year, but some were more difficult to navigate than Schoology.

“The buttons just didn’t take you where I wanted to go so it didn’t work very well,” Mundassery said. “It wasn’t very appealing visually and it was really slow. Things didn’t load very fast.”

Scharen said a key attribute of a new platform is flexibility with usage on different devices as the team “looks at LMS’s that are making those adjustments and keeping current with technology trends.”

Coming from a new school this year, Kang said he has had experience with LMS platforms like Canvas and Google Classroom, although he thinks Google Classroom may not be the most ideal option.

“I think Google Classroom is the most basic and straightforward one, but once you start using a lot of it, it gets hard to organize things,” Kang said. “Unless the student is really self-organized and is up to date with everything, it can get really long and long.”

Scharen said the technology department is mindful that the transition process might be challenging for some, but he hopes transitioning to a new LMS will also be a learning experience for students.

“It’s a lot of work in order to transition to a new LMS as far as training teachers and students and it’s just a different mindset,” Scharen said. “Particularly as a student, you need to have that flexibility to know how information is being presented differently.”

Scharen said he hopes the new LMS will have a positive impact on learning in the High School overall.

“The thing that is really important to remember is that there’s not an LMS that’s going to meet every single need,” Scharen said. “But at the end of the day, the hope and the goal is that we can get systems in place to support our existing systems to make everyone’s life easier.”

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About the Contributor
Sophia Hsu, Media Team
Sophia Hsu ('26) is a member of the Media Team for The Standard in Advanced Journalism.

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