Jack Magargee ’18, Dan Malloy ’18
For the second year straight, Malvern will be changing its system for online grading.
After just one year with the Schoology, the Malvern administration announced in January that it will not be used again next year.
Upper School Head Mr. Ron Algeo said that Malvern got caught “on the bad end of a business decision” between Blackbaud, the database which holds all student files, and Schoology, the learning platform the school is using this year.
“They weren’t the same company but they were working together,” Algeo said. “Schoology and Blackbaud are starting to part ways now and we’re just getting left with all these issues.”[pullquote align=”right” cite=”Mr. Ron Algeo” link=”” color=”#006699” class=”” size=”16″]“Every time we call Schoology, they don’t fix it. For the last month and a half, every time we call, we don’t even get a live person. They don’t get back to us for two weeks.”[/pullquote]
Middle School Head Mr. Patrick Sillup said that parents could not download an official student record, a student schedule, or past performance, among other issues like attendance.
“The fact that the platform itself is unable to record your whereabouts on a given time is concerning to me,” Sillup said. “Schoology’s [attendance] feature doesn’t talk to our big database [Blackbaud.]”
Blackbaud should have stored all the past grades, transcripts, and other information from Schoology at “the touch of a button.” However, Algeo said that didn’t happen, which was problematic for the technology department and registrar.
“It literally would not import grades into Blackbaud,” Algeo said. “At the end of the first quarter, our IT department had to manually import every student’s grades into Blackbaud.”
Algeo said that Schoology was reluctant to fix these problems.
“Every time we call Schoology, they don’t fix it,” Algeo said. “For the last month and a half, every time we call, we don’t even get a live person. They don’t get back to us for two weeks.”
Algeo described the decision and the search for a replacement a “total team approach,” with faculty, technology staff, and administration involved in many meetings in the fall.
The new system is called OnCampus. OnCampus’s parent company, Whipple Hill, was recently acquired by Blackbaud.
Sillup explained some of the benefits OnCampus will have over Schoology.
“You can access discussion boards, post things, manage your portfolio, access announcements, [and] access official records,” Sillup said. “It would be able to serve you, your parents, and our colleagues better and that’s always the goal.”
For those who are fans of Schoology’s smartphone app – don’t worry, OnCampus is also available on the App Store.
Director of Technology Mr. Terrence Norko and Assistant Director of Technology Mr. John Street declined to comment.
Alego seemed to sum up the general thoughts of the administration when he said, “It’s a short term pain and we’re hoping it’s going to be a long term gain.”