DoDEA SkillPort

As a part of DoDEA’s commitment to expand professional development opportunities for employees, we have recently procured on-demand e-learning content for all permanent DoDEA employees.

This online learning platform provides a place to gain essential skills you’ll use during and after your time at DoDEA. Whether you want to improve your skills in Microsoft Office, planning, or conflict resolution, Skillsoft provides opportunities to learn, discover and achieve.

In keeping with our new environment where almost everything is available on demand, DoDEA Skillport offers employees access to knowledge when they need it, not at some pre-appointed date that may or may not be convenient or help in the completion of current tasks. Skillport makes the shift from “taking training” to “seeking knowledge and information.” This new approach in learning and development, coined “Learning in the flow of work,” has a positive impact on employee experience and engagement. DoDEA Skillport is a tool and a resource available to all permanent employees.

The Skillsoft content library, which includes thousands of videos and e-books on a variety of topics, is hosted on our DoDEA Skillport site.

All permanent DoDEA employees will be sent a user ID for the DoDEA Skillport website. A personalized welcome email …

Read More

Schoology User Portfolios


Over the past year, we’ve received a consistent flow of messages from staff and students requesting the ability to create and share portfolios of their own work inside of Schoology. Many of those inquiries came from the knowledge that Schoology had released this feature to their enterprise clients during the 2015/16 school year. Around that time, we worked closely with the New York based contractor to test the functionality of the portfolio feature, but made the thoughtful determination to wait on releasing portfolios until additional privacy controls were available to further protect student and staff work.

After several months of receiving client feedback, Schoology has addressed and released an update to the privacy control settings. We are happy to now announce that we have recently turned on the portfolios feature to all users within DoDEA’s enterprise Schoology instance! Here’s a quick rundown of what exactly the portfolio feature provides, and how you can expect to use it:

The portfolios are intended to function like a showcase of your work. You may publish your portfolio to share it with everyone at your school, or choose to make it private as a personal archive. …

Read More

Authentication Issues on the eLearning Portal

“Don’t worry, we’ll get through this together”

As with all things technology, our eLearning Portal is experiencing some temporary technical difficulties – in this case, authenticating Google Apps users. If you receive an authentication error such as the one below, please refresh your browser until you are able to login.


We are aware of the issue and are working to resolve it. For those who are interested in the cause of the problem, keep reading…

This summer there have been substantial changes to the hosting infrastructure for the eLearning Portal.  In addition to migrating the website to our central data center, we have also on-boarded the website onto Akamai to optimize page load times, site resiliency, and security.  In doing so, we have come across some interesting behavior in certain web browsers (Firefox and Chrome) that are handling the authentication requests from Google in a manner that we hadn’t intended.  This issue does not occur consistently for everyone, and in fact, if you already have an established session, you won’t even be asked to re-authenticate.

So why does the authentication break down? We believe this has to do with the …

Read More

Students Can Add Profile Pictures to Schoology!


Student taking a selfie

You asked and we listened (again)!

Based on the shear number of people using the Schoology LMS, one such area of improvement is the ability to personalize user profiles so others have a visual indication with whom they’re interacting. The LMS Administration team is able to finish phasing in the ability for all users to update their profile pictures based on the last few months of profile picture uploads by School Staff.

Is it all roses and sunshine?

Keep in mind, this new capability has its parameters, of which a chief concern is ensuring everyone is only using “school appropriate” images. No matter whether a staff member or a student, there is an expectation that everyone will continue to abide by the Computer Access and Internet Policy that governs the appropriate use of DoDEA technology resources. It is a critical and necessary reminder that anyone in violation of these Terms of Use can have their account suspended, with the possibility of further administrative action.

How do I set my profile image?

Now that we’ve gently reminded you with the consequence of using inappropriate content, we can get to the details of how …

Read More

Adding your Profile Picture to Schoology (finally)


You asked and we listened!

It’s been six months since we originally launched DoDEA’s new Schoology LMS platform, and the response from our user community has been largely positive. And while we’re thrilled that there’s been such an overwhelming adoption of the new system, we continue to look for areas to improve our users’ experience. Based on the shear number of people using the LMS to collaborate and deliver online instruction, one such area of improvement is the ability to personalize user profiles so others have a visual indication with whom they’re interacting. Well, after months of deliberating, the LMS Administration team is finally able to begin phasing in the ability for our users to upload their profile pictures (yeah, we’re excited too)!

The Reality and the Rollout

Keep in mind, this new capability doesn’t come without its parameters, of which a chief concern is ensuring folks are using only “school appropriate” images. Taking this into consideration, we will be implementing a phased release approach beginning with DoDEA staff accounts including educational technologists, school administrators, counselors, teachers and above school level staff. The LMS Administration team will monitor user activity to identify any unforeseen issues related to this new feature …

Read More

How to migrate to Schoology (from Blackboard)


Time has been ticking away on DoDEA’s Blackboard contract which is set to expire in Q1 of 2015. And while many students, teachers and staff have already embraced the new Schoology Learning Management System (LMS) platform as its replacement, there are still some who patiently await the ever-so-gentle and encouraging nudge that comes from the abrupt decommissioning of a major enterprise technology. As is the case with Blackboard, you can expect to wish it farewell on January 30, 2015, so you may want to consider this your nudge.

In anticipation of that day, DoDEA Virtual School and IT staff have been collaborating to develop training materials that will assist folks with the transition from Blackboard to Schoology. In addition, DoDEA Instructional Designer, Jonathan Barkand, will be hosting two webinar sessions on December 9th focused on helping people “get their migration on”. If you are enrolled as an Instructor in a Blackboard Course, or as a Leader in a Blackboard Organization, you won’t want to miss these sessions. To learn more, or to register for these training sessions, login to Schoology and …

Read More

Schoology login issues?

We began receiving reports at approximately 3:00PM EST that Google Apps users were unable to login to Schoology using their accounts. We have already reported this issue to Schoology, and they are currently working with Google to resolve the issue. Below is a screenshot of the error message:

Schoology & Google Apps error

Workaround for Google Apps users

Google Apps users can still login! Most folks may not already know this, but to workaround this issue, use Schoology’s Forgot Password feature to reset your Schoology native account password. Once your Schoology native account password has been reset, you can then login using your DoDEA provided Google Apps email address and the new password on the Schoology Login page.

DoDEA Schoology Overview for Educational Technologists

June 2014, Virtual School Instructional Designer, Jonathan Barkand – in conjunction with DoDEA Headquarters Information Technology and Educational Technologist staff – held a series of 3 webinar sessions focused on the DoDEA’s newly acquired Learning Management System (LMS), Schoology. These sessions were designed to raise awareness and to introduce features of the organization’s new LMS to the District Educational Technologists, who will be using the system and providing targeted support to school level staff at the start of next school year.

The overall response from these sessions was overwhelmingly positive. The questions raised by participants during these sessions were thoughtful and provided insight to common themes that the implementation team are currently working to address for both the initial deployment of the system, and long range support. Questions and responses from all three sessions have been compiled into a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document, and a recording from one of the sessions has been posted below.

Schoology Educational Technologist FAQ

DoDEA selects a new K-12 Learning Management System

The new LMS, Schoology, will provide a robust and user-friendly online presence to support the Virtual School Program, blended learning applications for K–12 classrooms in brick-and-mortar schools, informal professional learning communities and online staff professional development. It will replace the Blackboard LMS that has been used within DoDEA for the past ten years.

The newly adopted system includes a strong set of content creation, instruction, assessment, and collaboration tools to both replicate and extend modalities found in a traditional K–12 classroom environment. The Schoology LMS also supports online collaboration that is integral to staff professional learning and training opportunities.

Because the LMS is integral to the classroom presence for teachers and students operating in the DoDEA Virtual High School (DVHS), the new LMS will be phased into DVHS operations at the beginning of fall semester 2014. The new system will be phased in for application to blended delivery in conjunction with face-to-face instruction, informal professional learning communities and online staff professional development during the remainder of the fall semester.

In preparation for this implementation, Information Technology and DVHS personnel are in the process of making the necessary system configuration and preparing migration procedures for content that will need to be moved from Blackboard …

Read More