No Halo-lucination: GCU switches to its own LMS
By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau
Grand Canyon University doesn’t just have a new learning management system.
It has one built specifically for GCU by Grand Canyon Education.
The importance of a good LMS was demonstrated during the pandemic, when ground students had to take all or part of their classes online via the LoudCloud learning management system (LMS), which GCU used for about a decade while becoming a leader in online education.
But this fall they are joining online students on the new LMS, Halo Learn.
“We’re very excited in just getting something new and better out to our students and faculty,” said Dilek Marsh, GCE’s Chief Technology Officer. “Ultimately, GCE is always striving to have what’s best out there, and it was about time to get into a new system that is built on and using new technology.
“The biggest thing right now is that it does support all the functionality that LoudCloud does today, but going forward we are going to keep improving it based on our needs.”
In addition to maintaining the elements that made LoudCloud successful, Halo Learn is more cloud based and adaptable for multiple screen sizes and devices. The new system offers features such as color coordinating, a post-acknowledgment option and an overall layout designed to improve the user experience.
The best part: Only GCU is using it.
“That, I think, is a huge benefit to GCU,” Marsh said. “All of the functionalities and all of the features come from requests from the colleges, from the faculty, so it’s built specifically to respond to their needs.
“GCU was critical in creating LoudCloud, but in the end, they weren’t their (LoudCloud’s) only customer. At this point, this is ours, and everything in it is being built to what we want it to do.”
Halo Learn already had been implemented into many graduate programs, and now undergraduate programs are transitioning. It has been a long trek to bring the new LMS to a student body as large as GCU’s, but Marsh said it has gone smoothly.
“What we do is we don’t move a student halfway through a class,” she said. “Every time there’s a start date, more classes are coming in.”
The response from students and faculty has been promising.
“Students have actually said that the transition has been really seamless,” Marsh said. “We’ve been going out trying to get feedback and we’ve been checking with tech support to see what they’re hearing, and it’s been extremely positive.”
Becky Anklam, pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration with a dual Emphasis in Sports Business and Leadership, is just one example of that positive response.
“It felt like I was taking a class in 2032,” Anklam said. “With this new system, I’ve had absolutely no trouble finding anything. It’s honestly been a really nice adjustment.”
With the constantly evolution of technology into more aspects of our lives, Halo Learn is designed to continue to adapt to technical advances for years to come.
“We’re going to keep improving it, and I think that’s the most important part of this,” Marsh said. “It’s always going to get better and better.”
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected].
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