Schoology adds to the stress of returning to school


Maya Bhatt

Sophomore Luana Veras is using her Chromebook to access Schoology. She was checking her upcoming assignments in the Workday Student Center before school started.

There was no doubt that returning back to in-person school after one and a half years of being online was going to be tough. For many, Schoology has been amongst one of the hardest changes to get used to.

     Schoology—the online platform used for accessing assignments, grades, and course materials—has been the center of much stress and frustration for many students and staff. With new and different features, from the announcement tabs to the way grades are viewed, learning how to use Schoology correctly has been an extensive process

    One factor that played into SRVUSD’s switch from Google Classroom and School Loop to Schoology was the need for a comprehensive Learning Management System (LMS). In other words, the district wanted assignments, grading, and materials all in the same place. The district did communicate prior to the 2021-2022 school year that a switch would be made to Schoology to staff, students, and teachers; but, many were confused as to why they would switch after everyone had become accustomed to Google Classroom and School Loop over the past years. 

     “As we progressed into a new school year, we recognized that it was complicated for students, teachers, and families to have multiple places to login to access curricular materials,” said Angie Corritone, an assistant principal of Monte Vista. “It became increasingly apparent that we needed to establish one district wide, uniform learning management system to deliver content, as soon as it was feasible.”

     Additionally, the decision made was definitely not an easy one. The Learning Management Committee spent the entirety of the 2020-2021 school year researching different platforms and getting input from teachers, staff, and administrators. Eventually, they came to a decision to switch to Schoology in April 2021.

     “In researching different learning management systems during the entire 2020-21 school year, the Learning Management Evaluation Committee landed on several important considerations including grade reporting, collaboration amongst colleagues, compatibility with Infinite Campus, and the ability to embed digital tools we had become accustomed to using during remote learning,” Corritone said. “Other districts were consulted about the effectiveness of the systems they use. After several months of review…Schoology was chosen.”

    While the district made the switch in hopes of making students’ lives easier, it seems as though Schoology has actually caused more stress than it has helped. Luana Veras, a sophomore at Monte Vista, isn’t particularly in favor of the decision. She feels as though the “turn-in” function and many of the different features, including the calendar on Schoology, aren’t very user-friendly. 

     “It is hard to know what assignments you did or didn’t actually turn in because the calendar does not remove the assignment when you turn it in,” Veras said. “[Schoology] is not functional and does not help optimize our time when it comes to schoolwork.”

     With it being Veras’ first year actually on campus, switching to a whole new platform has just added to the stress. Compared to other websites she used in the past, like Google Classroom and School Loop, Veras says Schoology comes in last in terms of usability. 

     “The way Schoology is formatted, I keep seeing…10 overdue assignments and it is scary because I feel like I missed those assignments which only makes me more stressed out,” Veras said. “Also, our teachers had to spend time teaching us how to use it which took away from our in-class learning time.”

     Like Veras, Owen Brandeis, a freshman at Monte Vista, thinks that Schoology has made it harder to adjust to high school. Even though Brandeis is quite tech-savvy, he still feels the pressure of having to suddenly learn how to submit assignments and check if they are submitted on time.

     “It is just a completely different platform,” Brandeis said. “It was very hard to get adjusted too and if I could I would go back to Google Classroom.”

     Along with students, teachers have also been feeling frustrated with how dysfunctional Schoology is for their students and themselves. Danielle Alm, a math teacher at Monte Vista, isn’t particularly a fan of Schoology. While it is a confusing platform to navigate as a teacher, Alm also sees how complicated the platform is for her students.

     “A lot of kids are just confused,” Alm said. “When you’ve got 50 different ways to do the same thing and all of the teachers are doing different stuff, the kids are going to get really confused.”

    Like many students, Alm has found it hard to get adjusted and navigate this complex platform and feels as though Schoology has not helped with the transition back to in-person school.

     “Google Classroom was not very quick with grading…but everything else about Google Classroom was better [than Schoology],” Alm said. “I would switch back to Google Classroom as a platform to post [assignments and materials] but not for grading.”

     The uprising of concerns and frustration school staff and students have shown regarding, Schoology is not going unnoticed. A lot of the problems students and staff are facing were not problems the district had anticipated in the first place. Some of these issues are being brought up and talked about amongst the company and within the district, but a handful of the user-friendly issues aren’t able to be fixed in a practical way.

     “Even after a close review of the product last year, it turned out there were problems we did not anticipate. For example, we had not expected the grading/homework features to be as limiting as they are,” Corritone said. “They were separate projects that intersected in many ways, and the same tech people were working on both projects… essentially, the unexpected need for huge amounts of support overshadowed the anticipated plan. Hopefully, we can move forward, but there is admittedly a lot to repair still along the way.”

     While district administrators wanted to switch to an all-inclusive platform to make things easier it seems that, for many, Schoology has done just the opposite.