In the know: Online learning expert discusses challenges students, parents will face this fall

The goal for many districts is to provide a learning management system that acts as a single point of connection for parents, students and teachers, said Tracy Weeks, director of K-12 education for the online learning platform Canvas. (Design by Katherine Borey/Community Impact Newspaper)
The goal for many districts is to provide a learning management system that acts as a single point of connection for parents, students and teachers, said Tracy Weeks, director of K-12 education for the online learning platform Canvas. (Design by Katherine Borey/Community Impact Newspaper)

The goal for many districts is to provide a learning management system that acts as a single point of connection for parents, students and teachers, said Tracy Weeks, director of K-12 education for the online learning platform Canvas. (Design by Katherine Borey/Community Impact Newspaper)

After a trial run in the spring, students and parents in Keller and Northwest ISDs will have the option to begin the fall semester with online learning.

Northwest ISD students will begin the school year with remote learning until at least Sept. 14, while Keller ISD students will have remote and in-person instruction options beginning with the first day of school on Aug. 19.

The goal for many districts is to provide a learning management system that acts as a single point of connection for parents, students and teachers alike, said Tracy Weeks, director of K-12 education for the online learning platform Canvas.

“It should be a one-stop-shop that creates organization and takes that stress [away],” Weeks said. “Teachers can save resources and organize learning into lessons, activities and units in an organized way.”

Online platforms such as Canvas also provide flexibility through things like mobile applications that allow students and parents to track academic progress daily. According to Weeks, despite a significant increase in overall usage, access to the Canvas platform has been available 99% of the time.


“We were serving more than 2,000 districts across the country [before COVID-19], and now, we’re up to more than 3,000 districts,” Weeks said. “[Online] learning systems have shifted from one of those things [districts] want to have to something they must have.”

To help maintain accuracy and protect work for students and teachers, the Canvas platform utilizes Amazon Web Services to store data, she said.

Even when students are allowed to return to the classroom, Weeks said she expects that learning management systems will still act as an important tool to help support in-class learning.

“We saw this happening even before the pandemic,” she said. “Districts want teachers to be able to use a lot of digital tools and have a place to organize them.”

In addition to navigating online learning platforms, students of all age groups will face different challenges in the fall, Weeks said. Students, parents and teachers should remember to be flexible, have good communication and utilize proper scheduling, she said.

“Being willing to try new things and even change things if they’re not working is going to be really important,” Weeks said. “And regardless of age, having checkpoints and checking in is important.”

Overall, patience is the key, Weeks said.

While teachers and district officials had practice in the spring, they are still building new skill sets for online learning, she said.

“Some things will work really well, and other things, teachers will have to rethink for the next lesson,” Weeks said. “You’re not the same teacher in your 10th year of [teaching] as you were in your first. I don’t expect it will take teachers 10 years, but it might take more than a week.”
By Ian Pribanic
Ian Pribanic covers city government, transportation, business and education news for Community Impact Newspaper in the Keller-Roanoke-Northeast Fort Worth areas. A Washington D.C. native and University of North Texas graduate, Ian was previously an editor for papers in Oklahoma, West Texas and for Community Impact in New Braunfels.


MOST RECENT

Thirteen drive-thru grocery stores operated by the Salvation Army of North Texas are offering backpacks filled with supplies. (Courtesy Salvation Army)
Salvation Army expands North Texas grocery service locations to include school supplies, protective equipment

Backpacks filled with school supplies, personal protective equipment, financial assistance resources and U.S. Census forms will be available at the 13 existing locations.

Rapid nasal swab antigen tests are recommended as options for individuals who were potentially exposed to a confirmed positive carrier, as well as for people traveling, returning to work or undergoing a medical procedure. (Courtesy Total Primary Care)
Find out where to get a 15-minute COVID-19 test in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth metros

Rapid nasal swab antigen tests are recommended as options for individuals who were potentially exposed to a confirmed positive carrier, as well as for people traveling, returning to work or undergoing a medical procedure.

A PNC Bank-Alliance location is coming soon to the Presidio Crossing shopping center in Northeast Fort Worth. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)
PNC Bank location coming soon to Presidio Crossing in Northeast Fort Worth

A PNC Bank will occupy the former building of El Pollo Tropical at 2601 N. Tarrant Parkway.

According to city officials, the city of Roanoke irrigation ordinance limits outdoor watering for all customers using an irrigation system or sprinkler to a maximum of two days per week. (Renee Yan/Community Impact Newspaper)
City of Roanoke irrigation ordinance in effect

Officials with the city of Roanoke are reminding area residents to limit outdoor watering during summer months.

A mother and daughter visit at Seasons Assisted Living & Memory Care in Conroe earlier in the pandemic. (Courtesy Seasons Assisted Living & Memory Care)
Texas allows limited visitations to nursing homes, long-term care facilities

Facilities that meet the requirements will allow limited visitations, but you still will not be able to hug or kiss your loved one.

SweetStop bakery holds grand opening in Richardson and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The city of Fort Worth is expected to retain its current property tax rate for fiscal year 2020-21. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)
Fort Worth officials discuss 2021 budget, maintain focus on capital projects

The city of Fort Worth is expected to retain its current property tax rate for fiscal year 2020-21.

In a July 30 letter, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that "local officials cannot postpone local elections that were scheduled to be held on May 2, 2020 beyond November 3, 2020." (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Keller approves dates for November council elections

Keller City Council has approved a resolution to hold elections for mayor, City Council Place 5 and City Council Place 6 during general elections Nov. 3.

The Confederate Soldiers Monument stands on the south grounds of the Texas Capitol. A group of Democratic lawmakers have called for its removal, along with other statues and portraits honoring the Confederacy. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
State legislators seek removal of Confederate monuments at Texas Capitol

The decision may ultimately lie with Gov. Greg Abbott and the rest of the State Preservation Board, which last year authorized the removal of a plaque in the Capitol that said slavery was not an underlying cause of the Confederate rebellion.

According to city officials, Business 114 or Byron Nelson Boulevard will be closed overnight Aug. 11-14 and Aug. 17. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Byron Nelson Boulevard in Roanoke part of TxDOT road closure

According to city officials, Business 114 or Byron Nelson Boulevard will be closed overnight Aug. 11-14 and Aug. 17.