Schoology Learning is Prepared to Support Learning Beyond the Back-to-School Season
Back to school has always been an exciting and challenging time for the team at PowerSchool, as it is for all of our K-12 schools and districts. This year’s back-to-school season, though, has been unlike any previous opening of the school year.
On behalf of the entire team at PowerSchool, we applaud the amazing efforts and hard work of the K-12 teachers, administrators, and district leaders working every day to ensure students achieve the best opportunities in life.
In previous blog posts, the PowerSchool team has outlined how the ongoing pandemic has become a defining moment for education. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented number of K-12 schools and districts have been forced to adopt distance and hybrid learning models for instruction which has left a lasting impact on schools, educators, and the education technology industry as a whole.
Increased Users and Customers
Schoology Learning continues to see increases in usage. On most school days there are seven times more students logged in and using Schoology Learning when compared to pre-pandemic usage counts. Back at the beginning stages of the pandemic, Schoology Learning was supporting around 10 million students for their online learning needs. Driven by the accelerated need for technology to support distance, hybrid, and blended learning options for back to school, an additional 5 million students now rely on Schoology Learning.
In preparation to support this growth, PowerSchool spent the spring and summer investing significantly in the scalability of Schoology Learning. This commitment to protecting the user experience of the schools and districts that have selected Schoology Learning came not only in the form of financial investment to increase overall platform scalability, but also through growing Schoology Learning’s product, engineering, service, and support teams to make sure we are there to help you when you need us.
Back to School 2020
This year’s back-to-school season has not been perfect. Even though the platform has been accessible by all users, there has been a tremendous challenge as a series of smaller but impactful incidents have negatively affected many users’ experiences. As much as we wish that there were never incidents that affect users, we also know that Schoology Learning is a feature rich and sophisticated service. We apologize for any inconveniences and challenges that these issues may have caused.
We want to assure every Schoology Learning user that the team is 100% committed to your success and that we have made a significant investment to ensure this goal. We also want to highlight some of the updates we have implemented to better support our valued customers:
- Set a 99.9% uptime and availability overall metric for this years’ back to school season thanks to significant investment in our cloud computing and support capabilities
- Updated our status page and communications to provide the most relevant and up-to-date information possible
- Proactively emailing all of our support and admin contacts in real time, whenever there is a status page update
- Hosting a page on our help center to highlight urgent, but not critical, platform issues that are being fixed
Impact on Support
One impact of all new and existing students and districts coming online for the 2020-2021 school year was the increase in overall support tickets and, as a result, the overall response time for requests coming into the Schoology Learning support desk. For this back-to-school season, we saw a nearly 300% increase in support tickets being logged by users, driven by increased users on the system and new districts coming online.
Every year Schoology Learning sees the most support volume during September and October, and we have traditionally ramped up our support staff for this peak season. This year we tripled our total support staff headcount to cover the increased demand during this critical period.
One area where we have seen the most significant negative impact to the support experience has been through the chat function of our help desk. On any given day, we’re now servicing four-to-five times the chat request volume over last year, and this has led to increased wait times on the chat service. We know that our users value the chat function, and it traditionally hosts more than half of our incoming requests.
As our staffing model increases and the overall surge in inbound support requests subsides, we firmly expect that our support experience will continue to improve as users experience shorter wait times when receiving support via call or chat.
While it’s safe to assume that things won’t simply return to “normal” as previously defined, one thing you can count on is that PowerSchool is here to assist as you navigate through all of these unique challenges, including resources and solutions that can help identify and address learning gaps, support for social and emotional learning, and assistance to teachers that will help keep the learning going no matter where students are.
As COVID-related closures resonate for years to come as schools and districts work to build a more flexible framework, our firm belief is that having Schoology Learning as the cornerstone of your instructional strategy will allow for personalized learning to continue uninterrupted moving forward no matter what challenges the future holds.