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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Schoology

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.25 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.5 stars
Ease of Use: 4.25 starsstar
Reviewed: Oct 29, 2012 by Teacher Education
Overview: Schoology is the developer of the leading cloud-based collaborative learning platform for K-20 classroom. Schoology offers a way to manage lessons, engage students, share content, and connect with other educators. You need to create a free account to use it. Schools, districts, and organizations can purchase premium, enterprise level features to enhance and customize the Schoology experience.
Learning Goals: To utilize learning management tools (communicate, collaborate, and interact with instructional materials)to engage students in the learning of content.
Target Student Population: geared for educators K-university to use with students (when age appropriate), parents, community
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None. Having an understanding of how learning management systems such as Blackboard or Moodle function offers a comparison of access and tools available for use.
Type of Material: cloud-based learning management system
Recommended Uses: All levels: elementary, middle, and high school as well as higher education and professional development. Schoology connects students and parents to educators and learning resources anytime, anywhere in a safe, secure online environment.
Technical Requirements: Any device (Mac/PC/Android/iPad) with Internet access.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: Users are able to 1) create courses to organize academic content, grades, attendance, and invite students, 2) create/join groups to collaborate with others and share resources, and 3) find resources to use in courses or organize existing content. Messages, requests, and notifications can be monitored. An area designated as Upcoming shows any upcoming due dates for assignments, test/quizzes, and events from all courses, groups, and school.
Concerns: None.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: Easy to add media elements to enhance learning; assessment tools make it great to assess individuals and entire class. Includes analytical tools to aid instructor with data driven instruction. Useful for all contents. Can be used during introduction of new concept or reviewing material already presented. Schoology, offered free, provides a learning management system at a basic level for educators. It can certainly provide online teaching and learning opportunities for faculty and students who do not have access to a campus or district learning management system. There is a visual tour and company blog available. Furthermore under the Help Center there are four guides for instructor, student, administrator, and parent. Educators are able to connect directly to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn from within Schoology. The strength of Schoology is that it is an organized shell that the instructor can use to create an online course.
Concerns: If you are not familiar with learning management systems, it would be useful to see an example of how they are used. No examples are provided. There should be some information or links included under the Gradebook information or help guide for instructors about FERPA and the use of student grades online, how long you keep them, and what to do with this information when the course is over. For campuses and districts that have learning management systems, the Registrar and Records deal with this. When you are doing your own, you need to be informed. Advanced administrative and analytical tools available for a fee.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths: Allows for student interaction with instructional material; material can be set up to allow for student to work at own pace; provides feedback to teacher and student. Flexible use of documents, assessment, and multiple media tools. Easy to set up logical organization for ease of navigation through the content. Creating an account and logging in are straightforward. Once logged in, the interface has four tabs across the top that are clear and easy to read: Home, Courses, Groups, and Resources. There is a search slot available from the four main tabs and there are online support guides for instructor, administrator, student, and parent. The pages have a clean, open look to them.
Concerns: Within each of the four main tabs (Home, Courses, Groups, and Resources) there are some choices. This is where it can become a bit confusing. For example, under Resources when you click on Google Docs it goes to a new window or a new tab, depending on the browser you are using. It is not easy or smooth to find your way back. Certainly, once you become more familiar with the way the navigation is set up you will know how to return to a previous page or another page. It is not an intuitive design.

Other Issues and Comments: Great cloud-based Learning Management System. Items available in the free version offer students and parents access 24/7, tasks can be set up for working at individual pace or as group collaborative. Has many of the same elements of brand name Learning Management Systems. More features such as advanced analytics and privacy/filtering controls available for a fee.