Schoology assessment by faculty

Spring 2018 the College of Micronesia-FSM adopted Schoology Institutional. Although a number of faculty were already using the free Schoology Basic, the adoption provided access to additional capabilities such as reporting on student learning outcomes (termed learning objectives in Schoology), additional assessment tools, Google Drive Assignments, and class role management via the college's internal student information system.

An earlier article reported on student use of and reactions to Schoology.

Adoption by faculty of any new technology such as a learning management system is a gradual process that evolves over time. Some faculty will engage actively with the new capabilities, others may use the system only as a grade and attendance book replacement. A few may resist using the platform all together.

A survey was placed in the mailboxes of 36 faculty members. Thirteen surveys (36%) were returned my mailbox. The survey was anonymous. The survey asked the following questions:
  1. How many sections did you teach this term?
  2. How many sections used Schoology?
  3. If you used Schoology, in how many sections did you use Schoology just to track grades and attendance?
  4. If you used Schoology, in how many sections did you use Schoology to make assignments with submission inside Schoology or other features beyond just grades and attendance? 
  5. What, if anything, did you like about Schoology?
  6. What did you NOT like about Schoology?

The 13 faculty who submitted a survey were teaching 51 sections. The faculty reported that 46 sections were using Schoology. While this would suggest 90% usage among faculty, the sample is likely to be biased. Faculty who for their own reasons chose not to use Schoology are less likely to return a survey than faculty who are using Schoology.  The student survey suggested that 83% of the sections were using Schoology. Although this also has potential bias, the 59 students were from three different courses each of which has a different mix of majors present in the course. The 59 students provide a reasonable amount of "reach" into other courses at the college as to suggest an actual Schoology use rate of somewhere up around three-quarters of the sections. 
The student responses indicated that level one usage (grades and attendance only) was occurring in 23% of the classes using Schoology. The other 77% of the classes which were using Schoology were at level two usage (assigning and submitting assignments on line). Faculty who use Schoology, however, reported that level one usage was occurring in 56% of the classes using Schoology. Only 44% were using Schoology for level two usage. This suggests that faculty are using Schoology to track grades and attendance more often than the students in those courses are aware.

Perhaps students who experience assignment submission in Schoology log in more frequently, are more aware that grades and attendance are being tracked as well. Perhaps in courses where Schoology is being used as only a gradebook the students are less likely to log in, less aware that their grades are being tracked. This might explain a faculty survey comment that students do not check their grades while 37% of the student surveys said that checking grades was what they liked most about Schoology. If one includes "checking of grades" that were in comments categorized in other categories on the student survey, the percentage rises to 47%.

Bearing in mind the limited sample size, faculty comments on Schoology were generally positive.

What, if anything, did you like about Schoology?

All of it
Automatic grade calculation, ability for continuous monitoring of grades and standing in the course by students
Easy to use
Easy way to track performance. I especially appreciated the automatic enrollment feature provided this semester
Efficient, convenient, accessible
Google assignments
I can communicate easily with students, better than webmail
I can share updates, updated assignments, announcements, etc., very easily and fast.
I feel like all the features, gradebook especially, posting up assignments
It was very non-invasive
Student more connected to their standing/grades within the class

What, if anything, did you NOT like about Schoology?

I just need to learn how to use more of its features
I lost myself in there and at times not able to navigate the system
Need more time to figure it out as a teaching tool
None
None of it at this time
Passwords are hard to remember
Students are not familiar with Schoology yet. They don't check schoology by themselves. Only when I mentioned "grade" some students checked.
Students often don't use it
Unlike Engrade, Schoology doesn't allow copying the whole structures of gradings and homeworks. You need to re-enter everything.

Of the dislikes, some are puzzling. The password used by faculty was their college account password. Schoology log in is accomplished through verification against college servers. I am less clear as to the nature of the copying issue mentioned by one faculty member. Materials can be copied between sections. I suspect they are referring to columns in the gradebook and these do not seem to be able to be copied, although the copy functionality does appear to exist, using this functionality does not result in a copy in the target section. As for re-entering everything I suspect this is a comment from a startup hiccup experienced at the beginning of the term. This was a single event which did cause some data re-entry and re-setup. This may have discouraged some faculty from using Schoology - beginnings are always important.

The faculty survey return rate was low and the sample size was small. Those surveys that were submitted suggest a positive response and a fairly strong uptake of Schoology among faculty.

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