DMV schools prepare for virtual learning, some college students experience login issues

Virtual learning is all the talk these days as many schools in the D.C. region get ready to start the new school year, online.

FOX 5 is continuing to check in with some of those schools including universities and colleges within Northern Virginia, that use Blackboard. It’s the online classroom program that schools in Fairfax County had major issues with back in the spring including a slowdown. 

Now and it seems some students at George Mason University are experiencing just about the same.

RELATED: George Mason University students return to campus with new guidelines amid pandemic

“When I went to log in, it came up with things like ‘Technical Difficulties’ or ‘We cannot log you in at this time’,” said freshman, Jake Merchant.

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“They were down for about an hour so I ended up missing a majority of my 10:30a.m-11:45a.m class which was aggravating.”

Merchant wasn’t the only student experiencing the difficulty.

Some students were seen chatting in a university sub-Reddit online group within the past 24-hours, describing how they have been experiencing issues with Blackboard as well.

Some were describing not being able to log in or getting an error which forced them to miss more than half of their online classes.

In a statement to FOX 5, Blackboard explained the following:

 “We are aware of a brief period on Tuesday between approximately 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM where students experienced issues logging into ‘Blackboard Learn.’ Our internal monitoring is not showing any issues today and GMU has not reported any login issues.”

Meanwhile, virtual learning in Fairfax County doesn’t start until September 8th but students and their families are continuing to pick up their supplies including laptops and other technology they will need.

“I’m starting freshman year and I am nervous about everything because everything is new to me, new year new school new system but I can do it,” said Jenyzel Raquepo, a freshman at Annandale High School who admitted being a little worried about possible technology glitches similar to what happened back in the spring.

“We are making sure that we are not solely focused on face-to-face or real time instruction,” said Brian Valentine, the school’s assistant principal.

“We just want to make sure that we have a good combination of live instruction and on-demand kind of activities that still capture the learning.”

Students at the high school will mostly use Google Classroom as their virtual learning tool while at home.

Blackboard also said that FCPS will continue to use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra during this school year. The program is a cloud-based virtual classroom tool, which the school system successfully used in the spring to deliver 25,000 virtual sessions on average each week through the end of the school year. This is a different tool than the one that parents had trouble accessing at first.