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Teachers Turn To New Websites


There’s no doubt that the concept of the online gradebook is great. It can be argued that it is one of the best things to ever happen to students. A sign of the times, an online gradebook embodies the advances of our current society, in which everything is more accessible and more frequently updated than it ever has been.

Most students have begun to realize, however, that the perfect online tool envisioned by the creators of websites such as Edline and JupiterGrades is far from reality. Some teachers rarely update their gradebooks, and as a result, students check their grades online less and less often. And then there’s the newer problem: the increased use of alternative sites.

As the trend of online, school-based websites grows, more websites are created, each one doing basically the same thing but with a little tweaking. Because of the varying platforms, teachers choose their own preferred site. This creates a scenario in which many students have to go to three or four different websites to check grades for all their classes, when they could have done it all on one.

The purposes of these different websites can be broken down into three categories. Schoolwork websites such as Quizlet don’t post grades but are a great online study aid promoted by most teachers. Websites like Edline and JupiterGrades are solely used for posting grades. And then there are hybrids of the two. These can be either mainstream websites such as Schoology and Engrade or homemade websites created by your teacher. These hybrid sites have the online gradebook with an element of homework too: typically, questions prompted by a teacher followed by student responses.

Regardless of the capacity of any of these websites, teachers choose the one that works the best for them. As a result, students often need multiple sites to do work on as well as to check grades. Having to navigate these sites is more work for the student than he or she would have had prior to the introduction of Wilson’s online gradebook.

The lack of uniformity has left students upset. Sophomore Mati Cano weighed in on the subject, saying, “I think they should be required to use one system and post in it at least once a week.” This raises a whole new question about how often teachers should be required to update their sites.

According to the Wilson student handbook, which appears to be intentionally vague, all teachers are “encouraged” to use Edline, but may use other websites.

It can be argued that teachers have the option to choose because, for example, if they have as many as 100 students it’s important that they have the quickest method to put up grades. This leads to the use of multiple sites for students, as it’s incredibly unlikely that all the teachers will prefer the same site. It can also be argued that students and parents should be given the easiest option because they significantly outnumber the faculty and have a right to simplicity.

Clearly there is no viable solution in sight. It’s a classic lose-lose situation that currently has students unhappy but could easily leave teachers in an outrage if any extensive changes are made.

This being said, a compromise must be found, or at least a solid rule, because currently there is no real policy.

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