Schoology Learning Prepares for Back to School

Contributed By

Jeremy Friedman

SVP, Schoology at PowerSchool

Schoology Learning Prepares for Back to School

Posted in Schoology | August 19, 2020

With scalability and support for this fall’s increased demand for online learning

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented number of K-12 schools and districts across the globe have needed to quickly pivot to provide distance learning and blended learning to their students. In order to deliver that remote instruction, many have adopted organization-wide solutions.

Many of those schools and districts have selected Schoology Learning—a leading K-12 learning management system (LMS)—to ensure that they can deliver personalized learning experiences to students, no matter where they are.

PowerSchool (which acquired Schoology Learning at the end of 2019) has been strategically planning for increased usage of the LMS to be certain that, during this back-to-school season full of unknowns, one thing schools and districts can count on is our ability to deliver personalized instruction to students through Schoology Learning.

Investment in Schoology Learning

During the spring of 2020, Schoology Learning saw a massive spike in usage, with certain parts of the system seeing more than a 400% increase in usage over historical peaks. At that time Schoology was supporting around 10 million students for their online learning needs. Since then and driven by the accelerated need for technology to support distance, hybrid, and blended learning options for back to school, an additional 5 million students will now rely on Schoology as they kick off the new year.  

Because of all these factors, and in preparation to support this growth, PowerSchool has spent the last few months 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.

We have made the following changes:

  • Most Scalable Cloud: We have partnered with our Schoology Learning hosting provider, Amazon Web Services, to optimize the infrastructure of Schoology Learning and eliminate potential bottlenecks that could impact system performance.
  • Greater Capacity: We have performed a top-to-bottom architecture review and tune up of all our components’ auto-scaling logic. Auto scaling is a mechanism we use to add capacity to the system as more and more users access the system.
  • Real-time Active Monitoring: We have increased system monitoring and observability in order to give our operational teams deeper insight into how specific parts of the system are performing against benchmarks. This allows us to know sooner if parts of the system could have a negative impact on overall Schoology Learning performance.
  • Upgraded Communications: We have added new workflows and communication procedures to make sure that our operational teams can quickly respond to issues that might arise. Based on customer feedback, we are also updating plans for communicating with customers if issues with Schoology arise. 
  • Proactive Controls:  Out of an abundance of caution, we have temporarily turned off the ability for new free users to register for Schoology Basic accounts (the free classroom edition of Schoology Learning). We are also proactively limiting certain resource-intensive user interface features for Schoology Basic users.  This will help ensure we can provide the highest level of support for all our enterprise and existing free users during this critical time. Existing Schoology Basic users will continue to have access to their accounts and their students, and parents will still be able to sign up for accounts.  
  • Significant Increased Investment: We have increased our staffing for services, implementation, operations, and support by over 150%. 
  • Expanded Community Support: We have launched a new-to-Schoology teacher community filled with Schoology experts, mentors, and content to help successfully onboard new teachers to the platform.

PowerSchool is Here to Help for the "New Normal"

COVID-related closures certainly did not create the concept of “distance learning” and there is no replacement for live instruction in the classroom. However, these closures did spark a rapid acceleration of existing trends, wherein having a unified distance learning solution has gone from being a “nice to have” to an immediate necessity for many schools and districts. 

PowerSchool is here to assist as you navigate through this new hybrid environment—including resources and solutions that can help identify and address learning gaps, support social and emotional learning, and assist teachers with blended learning to keep the learning going. 

And while there is (hopefully) a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s safe to assume that things won’t simply return to “normal” as previously defined. Rather, COVID-related closures will resonate for years to come as schools and districts work to build a more flexible framework—one that allows for instruction to continue uninterrupted, no matter what challenges the future holds.

Having Schoology Learning as the cornerstone of your organization’s instructional strategy will help to ensure your educational excellence for years to come. We encourage you to learn more about Schoology Learning today. 

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