School Loop Features Foster Organization, Communication

Lindsay Wilson, Staff Writer

After coming back to school from a long summer, it may seem as if campus hasn’t been changed much, but don’t be fooled. Last May the District switched from Blackboard to School Loop.

Although the transition from Blackboard to School Loop may not seem monumental, it has actually made significant improvements in teacher and student organization, grading, and communication. For most,  the switch has been a success.

Blackboard has been left in the dust by School Loop’s innovative new features such as the personal portal, individual lockers, full calendar, and daily assignment due date category.

Junior Amberlie Kaiser prefers School Loop to Blackboard because it is easily accessible and helps her keep on top of current assignments. She said, “I like School Loop better because it helps to keep me accountable of my grades on a daily basis. It is much better organized and the site is a lot easier to maneuver.”

Her favorite feature is the portal because it gives an overview of her schedule and grades for all classes in the same place.

School Loop also allows parents to monitor every single grade update. This change may prompt fear in many students, but School Loop’s daily e-mails are a good thing. If you are prone to organizational problems, receiving homework reminders and due dates may prevent you from forgetting assignments and falling prey to unexpected tests.

English teacher Tom Duffy thinks that School Loop is a great improvement because “the site has not crashed yet as Blackboard often did.” His favorite feature is the “calendar function for assignments because it is helpful for both students and teachers.”

Other great features, such as the electronic submission feature, grade book and School Loop drop box, help teacher’s grade faster. Submitting progress reports was much easier this year because instead of having to manually enter each grade, teachers only had to press one button to submit them.

Furthermore, student and teacher communication has been improved by School Loop’s emailing system, Loop Mail.

Loop Mail has been a big hit amongst students and teachers. Duffy said, “School Loop is better than regular email. I use it everyday.”

In previous years students had to exit Blackboard in order to email a teacher; however, School Loop has its own e-mailing system, eliminating the hassle. Communication has been made easier between teachers and students because everything is all in one place. Also, Loop Mail has a discussion feature, which allows students to share projects and power points, and ask questions.

Although the transition between learning management systems has been smooth so far, with no crashes to speak of and great reactions from the faculty and students, Duffy said that there is still a lot to learn. “Teachers are not as good with technology as students so we do need more time to learn how to use School Loop,” he added.

Personally I, too, prefer School Loop to Blackboard. To tell the truth, I have never been organized, but for the first time in my life I can say that I have been on top of my grades and have not forgotten any assignments.

Even though my backpack may be in a state of disarray and only one page of my planner is filled out, I can still find my assignments, due dates, and a full calendar in one place, on School Loop. It is pretty impressive that I only need to click one button in order to access my grades, find my homework for the day, visit my teachers’ course sites, and look at future agendas. In a sense, School Loop is much more than a learning management system; it’s a problem solver.

I do not have any specific complaints about Blackboard and I never had any problems when accessing the site, but in comparison to School Loop, it falls short. With all of its new features, School Loop rises above and beyond in helping students and teachers to get organized for the new school year.