LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Jefferson County Public Schools will be switching to a new online live learning platform next week after some major disruptions from students on the district’s first day of remote learning.
The district is hoping that by switching to a new platform, it will help with security.
An information technology expert at Bellarmine University said he believes security ultimately falls on each individual user.
Bellarmine University’s Chief Information Officer Eric Satterly helped switch the university to the Microsoft Teams platform for remote learning in the spring when the COVID-19 pandemic started. During the summer, he helped formulate a plan for implementing using Teams again this fall. He said no matter what online platform you use, none of them are perfect.
“Everyone of these-- you hear about [Microsoft] Teams or Google Hangout, the old version of Google Meet, or Zoom, and you know they all have pros and cons,” Satterly told WAVE 3 News.
He said over the course of the past six months using Microsoft Teams at the university, he’s been impressed with the way the program has improved since the pandemic hit in March. He believes it’s a good option for schools, but understands how taxing it can be to switch to a new software just days into the new school year.
“I think JCPS has a really tough challenge because you have such a large number of kids and some of them don’t have access to high-speed internet or to a device,” Satterly said. “That’s such a struggle to have to provide that equity and education. So they have a real challenge there. And then to be hit with these different issues, these disruptive issues that force you to pivot to a new platform. I can imagine people have to be frustrated by that but at the same time you have to be willing to accept that you have to skill up and be able to go with the flow on some of these.”
He said the important thing during the transition it to focus on the greater mission: to deliver education to the students.
This week, JCPS says some middle and high school students got access to classrooms they were not assigned to and caused major disruptions. Eight high schools are not using live, online instruction for the rest of the week.
Satterly said he’s noticed Microsoft Teams keeps creating more features, including a way for someone to “raise their hand” in class, and other things that help with security, too. He added that he believes responsibility falls on individuals to be smart about their own security and to not share passwords or log-ins with others.
“When you grab that link and send it around you are damaging a lot of people in you doing that,” Satterly said. “It’s not just you being funny, but really it’s causing a whole school system to pivot in a very dramatic way and the expense of that is massive and also the opportunity cost that people have in even this loss of even a few days of online education is disappointing. So there needs to be some shared responsibility in that people realizing they are a big part of security.”
JCPS plans to transition everyone to Microsoft Teams next week. They posted a video to their Facebook page today to help parents and students transition.