Does Schoology’s server functionality step up to the plate or let something to be desired?

We started looking at the LMS in three steps- post 1 was about Schoology’s course building abilities.  Let’s dive further into the LMS to see what it can really offer.

File size control

Schoology allows for generous, LTI-compliant file and content support.  According to the user guide on how to insert content into your materials, it appears that users and instructors can upload media files up to 100mb/file; all other files have an upload limit of 512mb/file. Unlimited cloud storage is available through the paid premium version, known as Enterprise.

Schoology’s built in web-based viewer allows instructors and users to view documents online without having to download each file. This is optimal for users who may have slower internet speeds, and would have trouble downloading large files.  It also allows teachers to view assessments without downloading a file for each student.

When uploading files, instructors and users can switch between the advanced and basic upload form.  The advanced form uses Flash player, but requires a higher internet speed. If users have or are experiencing lower internet speeds, they can switch to the basic upload form, which does not utilize Flash player.

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Enrollment process

If learning management systems do not have a user-friendly enrollment process, users may not benefit from its full offerings.

For instructors, the enrollment process is simple.  An instructor must provide their name, e-mail address, city/state, school, and create a password.  When instructors create a class in their account, a 10 digit access code is automatically assigned to that class.  Students use this 10 digit access code to sign up and locate their instructor’s class (i.e. HDQQB-V8783). Instructors have the option to merge two accounts together into one account or link two accounts together under the account settings.  This is useful if instructors have transferred schools or changed positions (user to instructor).

A student is also required to register with his/her name and birthdate, and create a username and password.  An e-mail address can be used in place of the username.  Schoology allows users to login using SSO (single sign-on) authentication; this can help students by only remembering one username and password instead of multiple login credentials for multiple websites. The Enterprise version of Schoology has the capability to link with a school’s student information system (SIS).  When using this feature, administrators can create user accounts and courses using data from the SIS.

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Plugins and access Control

Schoology requires Javascript and Flash9+.  SCORM import is only available through the paid Enterprise version of Schoology, which would allow instructors to upload packages from other learning management systems, such as Moodle.

Schoology has the ability to integrate many popular apps, including Google Apps, Dropbox, Evernote, Khan Academy, YouTube, etc.  Users are disappointed, however, that there is no quick way to toggle between the apps users have added to their Schoology account and the app center. Clients have the ability to create their own apps to add-on to their Schoology account with the Schoology developer platform.

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Online/Offline function

With an estimated 5 million American homes without high-speed internet, it is imperative that modern learning management systems allow for some type of offline functionality.  Schoology is a web-based learning management system that is accessible anywhere an internet connection is available.  Mobile apps are available for iOs, Android, and Kindle devices. Students can save their work to the camera roll of their device and upload it directly to Schoology. If instructors make resources available to view offline, Android app users can download folders and files while connected to WiFi and view the files when offline at a later time. The paid Enterprise version of Schoology allows users to download and view classroom materials while offline on a mobile device.

Analytics function

Schoology has quite an enhanced analytics function on the free version.  From the demo course, it was obvious that free instructor accounts were able to see how people accessed the course daily; how much time each user has spent in the course, number of times posted in the course, each user’s last login, and last course access; and which users have accessed or completed assignments, discussions, and links.  More detailed analytics and the ability to export analytics are available with the paid versions.  These course analytics are useful for instructors to personalize learning for students.

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Course archiving function

The archiving of courses in Schoology is available and is recommended.  Courses that are archived in Schoology are always available to the instructor, but are no longer available to the students in the course.  To archive a course, a instructor would go to courses, see all.  On the next screen, next to the course the instructor wishes to archive, the instructor would click the gear icon and select “Archive section.”

 

 

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