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Battle of the Sites: Schoology vs. Blackboard

An example of a class homepage on Schoology
An example of a class homepage on Schoology
As the Pine Crest Community settles back into the daily school routine for the 2013 – 2014 school year, we have noticed a drastic change from years before.  Teachers are no longer reminding us to check their online “Blackboard pages”, but instead to check “Schoology”.  Having used blackboard for my entire Pine Crest career, this switch came as a surprise. I was definitely reluctant to switch, and according to many of my teachers and friends, so were they. On Blackboard, teachers were able to organize their class pages in any manner they chose, and students could easily access the information that teachers posted. Yet, there were without question certain flaws with the old site. Quite often, the site was not working, and students did not have access to material that was needed.  There are pro’s and con’s with both sites, but I think it is the reluctance to change a longstanding routine that makes Schoology less appealing. I decided to ask a few students and teachers which site they preferred. Junior Alexa Eskenazi states that she likes Blackboard better.“Why change what already works? Blackboard was fine, and moving to Schoology was in my opinion unnecessary. There is a feature on Schoology where you must submit an answer that the whole class can see; personally, I don’t like that my response is visible to everyone. I think some students would put more thought into their assignments if they were required to submit a hard copy.” Seniors Marissa Hecker and Mirella Cardoso are happy about the switch. Marissa says, “I definitely prefer Schoology. It’s easier to navigate and everything is in one place." Mirella started using Schoology last year for her biology and PCTV classes. “I like it because it’s a social media website for students and teachers. Its familiar platform makes it easy to navigate and communicate with other classmates and teachers.” Mrs. Wing, the ninth grade geometry honors teacher, feels that it is a bit too soon to criticize Schoology, as we have yet to explore all of the possibilities of the site. There are a few things that Mrs. Wing has noticed that make it more time consuming for teachers. "In Blackboard we uploaded to our subject page and it was there for all sections to see.  Now if I forget to copy to all the other sections, some may miss out.  To remove a file you have to go to each individual section and delete, which used to be one click and you were done.  The post board is also messy as you can't remove messages and it just keeps scrolling.  I also don't like the requirement of having two folders where I have to place everything in the resource folder.  Seems like you have to click a lot of layers before you get to the information you need." Schoology has a calendar feature, which takes each class’s events and puts them in one, easy to access, online calendar. There are many helpful parts of Schoology that Blackboard does not possess, and as Mrs. Wing stated, it will take time to explore these features. As we continue on with the school year, students and teachers must adapt to this new site, whether we like it or not. But instead of looking at this change negatively, we should familiarize ourselves with Schoology, and slowly, acclimate ourselves to the new platform. Hopefully, we'll learn to love it.
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