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Section 1 Foundations of Doctoral Study / Chapter 2 Time and Tools

3. Navigating the Learning Management System


LoudCloud is Grand Canyon University's learning management system, which is the computer application doctoral learners use in all courses. Learners will use this system to interact with other learners, communicate with faculty, post responses to discussion questions, submit papers, and review grades and comments. Although advisors or enrollment counselors most likely will walk learners through the use of this system, learners should spend a little extra time up front to really understand how to use LoudCloud. Reviewing the instructional videos will save a significant amount time in current and future courses. Reviewing the syllabus at the beginning of every course will help learners plan their time. A detailed understanding of the course description, required course materials, topics and objectives for each module, lectures and readings, assignments for each module, discussion questions for each module, and the course grading scale will help to optimize the learning experience in the course. Additionally, review instructor announcements, additional readings, references, and/or guides added by faculty to augment the course. With the course syllabus in hand, learners should note on their schedules the due date for major assignments. They should make a plan to ensure that they are able to complete the initial draft several days prior to the due date. Learners also should review the assignment's grading rubric before they begin to write, as this will save a considerable amount of time. The grading rubric clearly identifies what the paper should focus on and how the paper will be graded. Learners who are unsure about the assignment after reviewing the rubric should first browse the QFI (Question for Instructor) forum to see if others in the class have submitted a similar question regarding the assignment. Learners may also communicate privately with their instructor by posting to their individual forum or by initiating contact by telephone during faculty office hours.

As soon as one assignment is completed, the learner must look ahead and begin the next course activity.

Participation in the class discussion is an integral part of the learning process. It is through discussion and debate based on credible academic sources that learners develop their academic voice, and learn to interact with others who have a different perspective. To accomplish this, doctoral learners are required to post a substantive initial response to DQ#1 by day three of the topic and to DQ#2 by day five. Initial posts must have at least one supporting reference and be between 150 – 250 words. Additionally, doctoral learners are required to make three substantive follow-up post during the module. In total, doctoral learners will submit at least five posts per week (two initial posts and three follow-up posts performed on a minimum of three days).


Written individual assignments also provide the opportunity for continued development and refinement of your academic voice. As doctoral writing requires substantially more time to prepare an initial draft and complete the final edit, it is important to continually look for opportunities to maximize time. LoudCloud provides planning assistance by displaying reminders of future assignments due dates. To be successful, learners must learn to use their time wisely. As soon as one assignment is completed, the learner must look ahead and begin the next course activity. They must start reading the next book chapter, continue to participate in the course discussion, or begin outlining your next assignment. Learners should develop an approach to make progress each and every day. Once this approach is adopted, it will help accelerate progress in their program of study and will establish a very positive framework that will become incredibly valuable as you embark on the dissertation phase of your program of study.


Finally, the learner must always read course announcements when they begin class and continue to do this throughout the remainder of class. Faculty may periodically post announcements about the availability of new course resources, optional readings, clarification of assignment directions, and even changes to assignment due dates based on inclement weather. Being knowledgeable and up-to-date with all course announcements will ensure that the learner maximizes their earning experience and will ensure that time is well spent.