One of the major challenges during the pandemic has been that of finding ways to keep schools up and running, with as few hiccups as possible. Many schools across the world have adopted the eLearning module with varying degrees of success, trying to continue lessons and lectures in as uninterrupted a manner as possible.
One such example of a school that has managed to successfully take their lessons online, especially to a younger age-group is the Canyon Elementary and Middle School, California.
We had the opportunity to work with Eric Reynolds, who is managing all the technical requirements of the school’s LMS platform.
This is his story.
Less than two months prior to the start of the school year, Eric had to design a learning management system and online community for the Canyon School’s 74 students, from kindergarten through 8th grade, their teachers, administrative staff, parents, support organization members, and the local community.
They had little time, so developing the site from scratch was not feasible. Hence, Eric decided to go with a pre-built software on WordPress.
Eric’s main requirements were –
Here’s the Canyon School in a technical nutshell –
Let’s now take a look at the plugins used in greater detail.
Eric chose the Buddyboss theme and Pro platform because of its styles and functionality integration with popular WordPress extensions like Elementor Pro, LearnDash, Zoom, WishList Member, etc.
For the younger students in the Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade, who found LearnDash too complicated, he used the Buddypress extension to give teachers a simple way of creating and presenting lessons and assignments. The younger students could upload completed assignments using a form plugin, and the teacher and students could monitor turned-in assignments using the form views.
WISDM Instructor Role was instrumental in adding multiple teachers who could create courses and manage the quizzes, assignments, and lessons for the older students. Being able to collaborate on courses effectively reduced the workload of the teachers as they could also conduct and manage courses in unison.
To help students, parents, teachers, and community members find what they need, Eric set up a Chatbot where he would conduct live chat sessions between 9:00 am and 12:00 pm on school days. When he was offline, the chatbot offered predefined answers to site visitors and school community members for various scenarios including how to get to class, change a password, set up Chromebooks, attend a Zoom meeting, and more.
The school used event management plugins to give select members the ability to create events from the front-end.
Among other plugins, an attendance tracking plugin was of great help in monitoring the students’ attendance.
At last, but not least was the integration of the firewall to protect the website from being attacked. This was an important step as it contains all the details of the enrolled students, which is sensitive information. Hence, data protection is a strong concern.
Eric Reynolds’ website is an excellent example of what an ideal online school platform should look like and we are glad to have been able to contribute to the same.
With the help of WISDM Instructor Role for LearnDash, Eric was able to add a much-needed multi-teacher functionality to the website, so they could add and manage courses from the front-end.
Check out their website – Canyon Elementary School
The project involved building a LearnDash website, with BuddyPress integration, to support group registration, forum management and course progress tracking.