County lacks standards for Edline updating

By Spenser Easterbrook, Advertising Manager

Students agree: the creation of Edline is a great advance in modern education. Edline provides students with one convenient place to check their grades, their homework and their lessons from class.
But there’s a catch. In practice, Edline isn’t being used for all of these purposes at CHS. MCPS has not established detailed countywide rules on teachers’ requirements for using Edline; the rules are school-specific. At CHS, teachers are required only to update their grades every two weeks via the Pinnacle system; Pinnacle transfers grading information to Edline.
Fortunately, the majority of CHS teachers go beyond this minimum. Most upload the homework assignments and other important documents regularly. A few extremely diligent teachers even upload the day’s lesson. Constantly listing daily lessons and homework assignments online is an innovative way of facilitating education in an increasingly technologically sophisticated world.
 Let’s be realistic. There are many demands on teachers’ time. They cannot be expected to do something voluntarily when they have other responsibilities as teachers. Some teachers are concerned with the amount of time extensive use of Edline takes away from other important tasks, like grading papers and making lesson plans. For those teachers who manage to balance both, the benefits are substantial for students.
The solution is to create more robust rules that mandate teachers to use additional aspects of Edline. This would not only help students, but also support parents’ increased involvement in their children’s education. It would strengthen communication between students and teachers, as well as among teachers, students and parents combined. Nowhere is the need for consistent and expansive use of Edline more necessary than in the CHS Bridge program that serves special needs students.
While all students have to work to keep their academic materials organized, Bridge students often face additional difficulties with this task. Bridge program parents have expressed concerns about insufficient use of Edline by teachers in the program, but this situation has reportedly improved.
Frustrations on both sides of the issue could be resolved if all teachers were required to use Edline’s features more frequently. If teachers believe they need more training in order to use more aspects of the program, surely CHS or MCPS could provide this instruction. If this is not cost effective during MCPS budget cuts, teachers unfamiliar with the program could look for assistance from more technologically proficient colleagues.
For students, Edline can be especially useful when studying for exams. For example, AP Statistics teacher Douglas Szafran uploads daily lessons onto Edline. Having lessons available at any time allows students to refresh themselves on topics they may need to remember and is a great way of allowing students to know exactly what teachers want them to learn. While having every lesson available online may be too great an expectation for all teachers to fulfill, teachers should, as a minimum, post key assignments, notes and Power Points to benefit students.
 Expanded mandatory use of Edline by teachers would also be helpful when students are absent from class. Whether it is homework due the next day or material that will be on an assessment, students would be able to catch up on their work and better educate themselves at home.
Edline was originally designed as a way for students and parents to check grades. But it has evolved into something far more valuable: a way for teachers to help students learn with merely the click of a button. The current disparities in Edline use provide a clear advantage to students whose teachers use Edline extensively and consistently. Technology is always changing, and it’s time for all of us to catch up with it.