New learning management system causes controversy at Weber

PlusPortals or MinusPortals?


Austin Margol uses PlusPortals to check his assignments.(Joey Rubanenko/The RamPage)

Joey Rubanenko

PlusPortals is the talk of the hallways, causing contentious debate in the classroom and confusion at home. The Weber School’s new learning management system has sparked discussion between the students and many of the faculty members because it is a completely new system to the school.

Some students have complained about the functionality and accessibility of the new system. Students said the system affects the way they prepare for their studies. Ryan Gold, a senior who has worked with two other learning management systems in his high school career, stated, “PlusPortals does not alert me when my grades are posted. Also, it is not compatible with Google Drive, so, it is very complicated to upload assignments that need to be turned in through the website.” Junior Leead Silverstone affirmed Gold’s complaint, saying  “It is harder to find out what your assignments are. They are all in different places.”

Faculty members have also given their input on how PlusPortals affects the way they do their job. Ms. Holly Chesser, Dean of the 11th Grade and an English teacher for freshmen and seniors, proclaimed, “It has not impacted me personally because I am willing to work with any LMS [Learning Management System] module we use. From a teacher standpoint, it serves all of my needs as much as Haiku did. From a Dean’s standpoint, it is indispensable because it tells us where a student is at any time for attendance purposes.”

Ms. Van Dyke, Weber’s principal, agreed that it has been very helpful in being able to look at student daily attendance and period attendance because they are both in one place, unlike Haiku, which kept these separate. Some of her frustrations are knowing there have been bumps in the road for students and teachers and wanting to help rectify that.

Many students have questioned why we made the switch to PlusPortals in the first place. Many students appreciated Haiku because of the simplicity of the system. Ms. Van Dyke explained, “A students’ daily attendance and classroom period attendance were on two completely different systems.” This meant it was hard to keep track if you were at school or what class you were in. She also reported that if a student were to change classes during the two week add/drop period, Haiku would not drop your original class, so, you could have assignments show up on your calendar in a class you are not even in.

When walking around the halls, there are times you will hear other students talking about how they want to switch back to Haiku. Will this ever happen? The administration is debriefing with each other and gathering information from students. They are trying to find out how to improve working with PlusPortals. The school is looking to find a management system that serves teachers and students best.

If you do not know how to work PlusPortals and you are frustrated with something, seek help and guidance from your dean or another member of the lovely Weber faculty. Have a discussion with your teacher about where they are posting assignments and notes. It is very important to stay organized throughout the entire school year.