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Lessons learned: Leveraging your LMS to support remote and hybrid learning. A panel discussion with Vermont educators

How are lessons learned from remote and hybrid learning informing how we select and leverage an LMS as we redesign our learning landscape? Panelists will share their experiences with their LMS platforms including Schoology, Canvas, and others. We will explore how these platforms are currently being used to support remote and hybrid environments. Additionally, panelists will provide their insights on how well their platforms integrate with other platforms including their SIS.

We will have time for Q&A, so please join us for an interactive discussion.


Martha Campbell
Technology Integration Coordinator, Hanover High School

Peter Diederich
Assistant Director of Education Technology, Harwood Union Unified School District
Peter is a Vermont certified Social Studies, Special Education, Online Learning Specialist, and Educational Technologist with 7 years experience as an instructional designer building online courses, programs, workshops, and e learnings for K-12 education, higher education and corporations. He has experience and knowledge of many different LMS platforms including Blackboard, Canvas, Schoology, Brightspace, and Moodle.

Jeff Renard
Founder and Director of the Vermont Virtual Learning Cooperative (VTVLC)
Jeff has over 33 years of education experience in Career Technical Education, Academics, Online and Blended Learning, and Professional Learning through the Graduate level. Jeff also is the founder of the Northeast Online Teaching Institute (NEOTI) which provides professional development in online and blended learning. NEOTI offers a Certificate in Online Teaching which prepares educators to obtain the Vermont Agency of Education’s endorsement as an Online Teaching Specialist (OTS).

Eric Hall
Technology Integration Specialist, Mount Mansfield Union High School
Eric Hall has been working as a Technology Integration Specialist in Vermont for 20 years, supporting teachers and students in a 1:1 environment at Mount Mansfield Union High School since 2012. MMU has been using both Schoology and PowerSchool for several years which in combination with GAFE provide a strong foundation for hybrid and remote learning.

Robert Gervais
Director of Technology, Missisquoi Valley School District & Vita-Learn Vice President


Audio Recording – February 4, 2021

Please login to access the recording, notes, and agenda.

Agenda & Notes – February 4, 2021

Special Thanks to Lucie DelaBruere for taking notes!

Uses Schoology and PowerSchool

  • We are a democratic school, every decision are all voted on by committees in schools. Makes the process lengthier.  Took two years to make decision, and two more years to implementation. Covid did speed up the implementation.
  • Used in Grades 6 -12
  • Only LMS approved
  • Goal – A one stop shopping for students to get material (helps students who struggle with executive functioning)
  • Use Single Sign on through Google 
  • Biggest challenges we face – Presentation of Instructional Materials from Teachers
    Can become a “junk drawer” type of all things instructional
  • We needed to help teacher understand how to best present materials 
  • Helpful for staff that assist students.
  • We are streamlining things with templates.  This was a studen focused decision.
  • Few Technical Issues 
  • Integration works the way it should without much troubleshooting  needed
  •  Martha is administrator. Trainer, and technical. 


  • In the first year we did a pilot with 5 teachers. Sent them to a national conference.
    Made a big difference  bringing lead pioneers
  • Does have standard based assessment module you can add
  • WeVideo, CK Learning, K12  Textbook are imbedded. Students don’t need to go outside of Schoology to access those resources. 
  • From Privacy standpoint, its good that that LTI is all set up by Martha.
  • They use
    • Licensing with Textbook.
    • And Assessment feature and Quizes
    • Use the Portfolio Module for Tech Portfolio 
    • Portfolios can have artifacts from outside Schoology 
      Uses it for  Art Portfolio.
    • It is possible to export the portfolio in PDF format (does not work so well with videos and sounds)
      • You can share a portfolio publicly. Portfolio Module is not fancy. 
  • Instructional designer from Higher Ed and K12. 
  • How can we increase adoption to what we are using?
  • Assumption that kids are digital natives and just because we do things online does not mean students can learn online.
  • We are missing BUILDING CODE
  • If you want to increase adoption you need a  framework in your LMS. 
  • In Google Classroom 0- Everything is in the same spot (buttons) are so important.
  • Cognitive Load of figuring out where the buttons are
  • Students can focus on the learning 
  • When a student walks into a classroom, students have been trained what to expect.
  • In an online classroom, students have to figure out the layout. This is a huge cognitive load for students.  And also for educators designing instruction.
  • “Performance Support”  give people information in their moment of need. 
  • Once you have the space. How can drive people to it?
  • If you build, and they won’t come? 
  • How do you plan it to be easier?
  • For administrators.  What do you want to get out of it?
  • What data do you need to get out of it?
  • How much do you want to align with your other systems?
  • Think about data integration. 
  • Does your login count as attendance? Do gradebooks integrat?
  • Don’t focus on the features of the LMS
  • Focus on your needs. 
  • In Vermont, everyone does the same thing the same way. 
  • You need consistency. 
  • Jeff shared how we used to be more efficient with teaching in the 90’s using Blackboard.
  • Then started using Moodles. 
  • As VTVLC got off the ground,  we were ready for an LMS before we decided on SIS. 
  • We looked into the different roles we needed on the LMS.
  • Had to be mobile friendly.
  • Had to be accessible via phones for those with limited access.
  • Accessibility features had to be supported. 
  • From administrative side, you need a way to get master copies, archive copies , share content, push out content.  
  • Teachers need to have time 
  • How will we save things or archive things.
  • Be able to definite Terms and be flexible if you need changes.
  • Grading outcomes and proficiencies aare important. 
  • Canvas as weekly mastery and numerical gradebook.
  • Google classroom does not inform teacher on student activity and participation data, including attendance. 
  • Automate attendance reports saves time and teachers sees value in adopting technology. 
  • Academic integrity component is important.  
  • Why Canvas was a great choice.  This year we set up 5000 courses.
  • The management worked when we scaled up.
  • LMS Considerations  from Jeff Renard. 
  • Our LMS came with implementing 1:1  (started with NEO)
    Half way we realized that we needed something more robust than NEO
    We moved to Schoology
    We made the decisions with input from all (teachers, students, tech director, tech integration)
  • We use Schoology and its not our SIS
    Our goal was digital workflow. (it was not to function as an SIS)
    Because we did it with 1:1, it was schoolwide. No big challenges with adoption. 
    Before this everyone haad their their own way of doing things.
    Our adoption was about consisten uniform interface.
    Selection process – we came up with a list of criteria to see if the needs of all the stake holders were met. 
    It became  clear that a few tools rose to the top of meeting most of our criteria. 
    Schoology  offered:
    • Ease of Navigation
    • Access to the same materials
    • Flexibility about what type of content you can put into Schoology
    • Can’t customize the interface as much as what some people wanted to at first, but now they like the simplicity and the consistency. 
    • Flexible in terms of what type of work students can submit.  (Google, multimedia, etc)
    • Teachers have appreciated the grading interface and feedback options.
    • Google integration  (use Google signin) 
    • Students can get things out of their Google Drive
    • Teacher can assign something from their Google Drive (but we don’t use that part)
    • We try to build file management in students.
    • We used students to train our teacher 
    • It was a 4 year process.
    • When we went  into Remote learning from Covid, we retooled and dug into different types of materials we can set up in Schoology.  We are now using more INLINE pages, more use of discussion, assessment and other tools. 
    • The diversity of tools have supported our Remote Learning.

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