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Thread: Online schooling: The worst IT nightmare since Y2K?

  1. #1

    Angry Online schooling: The worst IT nightmare since Y2K?

    So I have been going through my senior year this year in online classes due to the pandemic. It has been the most amazing showing of incompitence that I have ever seen. Last year when schools first shut down was not that bad. They had everything centralized on google classroom and it worked pretty well for me and most others. However this year they have decided to fan out our work across around 20 different websites all of which are dubious in functionality at best. The slowness of the websites themselves also tells me that all these sites are largly comprised of inefficient code. It's become a 100% code red IT nightmare for me and anyone else in the system that is sitting by and observing this monumental screw up.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alabamarebel1861 View Post
    The slowness of the websites themselves also tells me that all these sites are largly comprised of inefficient code.
    Dependence on an 'architecture' built on some poorly thought out rented servers ie. 'the cloud' built on top of absurdly large downloadable web apps that don't scale, going through 3rd world home internet infrastructure
    attempting to service 100's of thousands of students in real-time.

    What could possibly go wrong?

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    Browsing the web at 2400 bps is apparently no longer an option...

  4. #4

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    Cut your school district some slack. This is entirely new territory for them, and for every other school district. They're not getting any help from anyone in any industry that has relevant experience, and decades of underfunding has meant they haven't been able to hire the experts they needed -- and now they need different experts that they still can't hire. Government largely lacks the relevant experience, so they're not getting help from there either. What they're getting are vendors who are trying to make money - school districts don't have time to take it slow and vet the products in any depth. They have classes to teach NOW. The world changed pretty fast. It takes time to adjust. It hasn't been easy for anybody.

    None of that makes things any better for the students. The only good thing is there are a lot of teachers (still!) who have every good intention and are doing everything they can as non-IT experts to reach their students. I hope you have at least one of those teachers.

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    bear - you hot the nail on the head.
    Surely not everyone was Kung-fu fighting

  6. #6

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    Before accusing anyone of "incompitence" you should look up how it spell it.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alabamarebel1861 View Post
    The slowness of the websites themselves also tells me that all these sites are largly comprised of inefficient code. It's become a 100% code red IT nightmare for me and anyone else in the system that is sitting by and observing this monumental screw up.
    No surprise there, that's how websites are these days. We live in a software dark age, IMO. But putting that aside, how is the course material itself?
    Quote Originally Posted by bear
    decades of underfunding has meant they haven't been able to hire the experts they needed
    There isn't any problem anywhere for which someone can't be found to have the solution "if only they had more money."

    I recall that my local K-12 school district was hyping "distance learning" already back in the '90s, and the community college has been offering online classes since 2003. I'd say that the novelty of using tech for education is both overstated and a red herring. Until now, students were still using textbooks and pen and paper, right? Paper assignments could easily be sent via snail mail without even the need for internet access. I suspect the bigger challenge for schools here is not the remote teaching aspect, but the remote babysitting aspect.

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    I would echo the OP's comments, because it has been my experience too, that prior to the summer, the first phase of distance learning, centralized on Google Classroom, worked really quite well. It was coherent and (mostly) consistent.

    After the summer break, distance learning in my school district is confusing, fragmented, poorly supported and egregiously slow.

    It isn't a simple matter of funding, and the shortage of expertise, because otherwise, with no time to plan in advance earlier this year, it would have been far worse, not better. Somewhere along the line, good methodology has been replaced with bad.... or at least worse.

    I suspect that school districts have been somewhat impacted by the need to develop and deliver hybrid learning with some students present and some not, and others, both. But there is no doubt in my mind that the distance learning component in this school year is far less cogent as a solution than it was in the last one.

  9. #9

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    ... I recall that my local K-12 school district was hyping "distance learning" already back in the '90s, and the community college has been offering online classes since 2003. ...
    CAI (Computer Assisted Instruction) was being developed LONG before that. Take a look at the IBM 1500 circa 1966. The university I attended had one of those located in the Education Department in the late 1960's!

  10. #10

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    Parent here with young kids.

    When the school shutdown started here, the lessons were developed in the realm of what the teachers knew what to do, but now online. This is because they had to develop something to deliver fast, and they were good with the material they already have, and that leap wasn't that hard to at least get something out.

    Moving a month in and now the new school year, the next phases of "school as good as in person" kicked in, heavily promoted by district administrators. Honestly it is not being run by the teachers or they don't know how to do it right anymore -- so you pick what is likely. It's like some administrator in a trendy district showed off how to go online, and what that means, and because of the situation, everyone needed to copy it to get it right. This is despite any kind of proper training on new stuff, or proof that it was a good idea, and ignoring past examples of things that worked.

    I think if I were a teacher now, I'd be looking for a new job. Because they had done a great job in my example when could act for the best interest. But now they are being confined to the trends with that are actually taking them more out of the loop, and making more just graders/facilitators.

    Or if you are a teacher and still care about educating, your going to have to pick up some deeper technical skills and maybe develop web courses, and do it right. But somehow I don't think these teachers are going to make the jump from just being a teacher to more of a web IT person, even if they are passionate, due to politics of education positions not going to be easily adapted to new roles. These districts are probably more likely to all outsource to the same company rather than let teachers start pitching in.

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