Upper Arlington News

New website lauded for 'user-friendly' features

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The website address for Upper Arlington City Schools hasn't changed, but teachers and administrators say the new design of uaschools.org is more "user-friendly."

Jeff Collett, district director of operational technology, said the district worked with Edline for the redesign.

School board members approved a one-year contract with Edline in May, accepting a proposal of $21,984 to design and host the new website.

Collett said one of the priorities in the website redesign was a "user-friendly content management system."

"We also needed to find a company that could get the website created by Aug. 1," he said. "We think the new website has now become the primary communication tool for our parents and staff members."

Several Upper Arlington teachers demonstrated features of the new website at a workshop Oct. 22 in the learning center at Upper Arlington High School.

Jones Middle School teacher Doug Darfus said each student was given an activation code to sign up for an account.

"The most powerful part of this site is that the link My Edline comes up with all the school activities and classes students and parents are involved in this school year," he said.

He said parents also may see test scores and student assignments online.

"Teachers can email an entire class, but also post things for just one or two students or a parent to see," he said.

Scott Wittenberg, who teaches art at the high school, said he can build an online quiz for students and also grade the quiz online.

"All the teachers can build a page for each course and we can also distribute handouts to students online," he said.

Kelly Scott, who teaches political history at the high school, said Edline is a big improvement over "Moodle."

"I was never a fan of Moodle," she said. "I thought it was clunky and it reminded me of DOS. I like the fact that everything I use in class can be converted to a PDF and posted online."

She said having the assignments online allows students to review material they heard in class.

"When we were students in school, we were provided a block of time to hear a lecture and we either got it or not," she said.

Scott brought two of her ninth-grade students, Conor Hayes and Sam Leonard, to the workshop. Both like the new design.

"If I'm sick and have to miss class or find out I'm missing a paper from class, I can pull up each of my subjects," Leonard said.

Hayes said the old Moodle program "was not as easy and fast as Edline."

Superintendent Jeff Weaver said Edline gives students more ways to learn class material.

"The kids can be introduced to new material on their own time, and then come in to class with their questions," he said.

Board member Marge Pizzuti said students can "take more ownership of their learning" with the new website features.

"I have been a school board member for 12 years," she said. "I stayed on the school board because this (website system) is what I hoped we would accomplish."

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