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Virtual Classes Now All Online

EDUCATION Minister Jeff Lloyd.

EDUCATION Minister Jeff Lloyd.

By EARYEL BOWLEG

Tribune Staff Reporter

ebowleg@tribunemedia.net

EDUCATION Minister Jeffrey Lloyd says the ministry’s Learning Management System (LMS) is now fully operational after thousands of public school students experienced problems trying to log on this week.

At a press conference yesterday, Ricardo Allen, CEO of One-on-One, one of the companies responsible for hosting the LMS, admitted they have challenges including many people logging into the system causing it to go down.

The LMS is being used for virtual instruction primarily on the islands of New Providence, Abaco and Eleuthera.

Education officials expressed confidence in the system after issues started to occur on Tuesday – the first day of instructional learning. Director of Education Marcellus Taylor said One-on-One and the other company responsible, Amazon Web Services, came up with a solution to go back to the LMS, which, he said, ran all of Wednesday with no challenges – indicating just under 21,000 people were able to go on and engage in the system that day.

However, on Wednesday, Bahamas Union of Teachers officials said the system encountered issues and many teachers were using alternative methods for instruction.

Yesterday, Mr Lloyd said the challenges faced on Tuesday were “behind us”.

He said: “We tested and retested to determine its capability of absorbing the demand that was placed upon it in the initial stages of Tuesday morning. It has not only met those demands, but it has succeeded it.

“Yes, we have a situation that is new to us — (a) Learning Management System and Education Management Information System, never ever before implemented in our country. Naturally, there will be from time to time certain inconveniences and possible disruption, but as we have demonstrated through the collaboration of our vendors and our partners we will meet those challenges and overcome them successfully to the benefit of our number one clients — our parents and our students.”

Despite Tuesday’s debacle, Mr Lloyd highlighted that somewhere around 13,000 people were successfully able to access the system.

Mr Allen said the system was ready, but the number of people who came on the LMS caused a “maintenance defense mechanism”.

“Within a three minute period, thousands of students came on to the system causing there to be a maintenance defense mechanism. System was temporarily down. We managed to get back up and yesterday we had a day where over 30 percent…. students came to the platform. No issue in terms of platform sustainability and so on.”

He added: “There’s no issues as far as the ability to sustain the pressures and the load that may come in fact I’m proud to share with that currently, based on the testing that we’ve done, we can accommodate in excess of 60,000 students based on the current setup and configuration.”

Meanwhile, Mr Taylor emphasized some schools are using other types of software to deliver the instructional programme - software not running through the LMS. In fact, some are still running off these programmes thus Wednesday’s number did not include those individuals. He explained why the system had to be stopped at first.

“Indeed because of the challenges that were experienced with people getting on or people being in the system and getting bumped out and so forth the decision was made to stop the programme to do a proper maintenance exercise so that when the system was up and running again the challenges people were having in terms of getting on and staying on would be minimised or eliminated,” Mr Taylor said.

Teacher-student assigning on the system was one kink officials said still needs to be ironed out. More information from schools Mr Taylor explained was needed to resolve this problem.

“The need for students to be assigned to the correct classes and teachers to be assigned to the correct classes and some of that is we require more detailed information from schools so that we can properly place student X in class Y with teacher Z….we hope to have that matter resolved in the next week or so,” he said.

Comments

trueBahamian 3 days, 12 hours ago

Sounds like the company responsible for this don't fully understand their system. If you set up a virtual learning system, you should know how many people could possibly be on that system and you should sufficient resources to handle way beyond that number as you may need to add other islands at a later date. Also, taking into account more users ensures your system can sustain the load.

Technical issues can occur for any number if reasons. But, this seems like a miscalculation by the vendor.

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tribanon 3 days, 11 hours ago

Wow! More than half of our students live with families that are unable to afford food, electricity and rent, let alone internet services. A lot of our former classroom students will not be getting 'educated' via the ministry of education's learning management system unless government is at least footing their home internet service bills. And just think how much learning will be lost because of all the other financial obstacles many families face that prevent their children from be able to effectively participate in a virtual learning system of any kind.

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tribanon 3 days, 10 hours ago

OUR CHILDREN BELONG AND DESERVE TO BE IN SCHOOL CLASSROOMS. Policies should have been established and systems put in place by now to make this happen knowing that children face little to no risk of serious illness from Covid-19. Only very elderly individuals at school and at home would require protective measures (distancing, face masks, handwashing, etc.) to mitigate the possibility of getting Covid-19 from infected students who are either asymptomatic or show at worst mild symptoms.

Sadly the home environments of many students is such that keeping them cooped up at home is not only unhealthy from a mental standpoint, but also inhumane and in too many instances tantamount to outright abuse and cruelty. Minnis, Lloyd and the entire cabinet of FNM incompetents need to have their heads examined.

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whogothere 3 days, 8 hours ago

There is no reason for online schooling- children are not transmitters of the disease there is no science behind this policy. Our taxes are meant to for the education system, yet I don t see MOE forking out cash out for laptops or data plans. The fact they are forcing this one people after 5 months of economic collapse, is unconscionable it’s destroying life outcomes of kids and stressing out parents that already worrying about where the next paycheck is coming from. I say again - there Is No scientific reason for this policy!!!!

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licks2 3 days, 3 hours ago

The department of education has a clueless director, a minister who will not allow his staff who knows what to do to do their job. . . his friends are the director's friends and and he seem not want to hear "other" people who are not approved by his friends circle!!

They are so dang mixed up and compromised over there that they can not ever get their act together!! Friendship circle is the way to go over there. . .if you are not "their friend". . .your input is not counted!! If Dr. Minnis want to watch his efforts go down in a rot of stupidity. . .let him continue to ignore the incompetence among officials at MOE. I join Berlinda Wilson: "they loss ova there"!

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licks2 3 days, 3 hours ago

The department of education has a clueless director, a minister who will not allow his staff who knows what to do to do their job. . . his friends are the director's friends and and he seem not want to hear "other" people who are not approved by his friends circle!!

They are so dang mixed up and compromised over there that they can not ever get their act together!! Friendship circle is the way to go over there. . .if you are not "their friend". . .your input is not counted!! If Dr. Minnis want to watch his efforts go down in a rot of stupidity. . .let him continue to ignore the incompetence among officials at MOE. I join Berlinda Wilson: "they loss ova there"!

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