Program Platforms

Gies Online programs use a variety of platforms and programs to enhance your experience as a student. We use Zoom as the main communication tool for you to interact with your instructors, peers, and academic advisor. For coursework, you’ll be using Canvas and Coursera.


Zoom is a cloud-based web conferencing tool. As a student, you will be participating in weekly live video sessions, office hours, and group work as part of your learning experience. You will need to set up a Zoom Pro account. Follow these step-by-step instructions to get set up with Zoom once you have been admitted into the program.


  • Zoom Help Center: The Help Center offers the most comprehensive resources on Zoom. You can type in issues and search for a solution.
  • Zoom Video Tutorials: These video tutorials will teach you how to use different functionalities in Zoom. You can view the videos at your convenience.
  • Zoom Weekly Training Webinars: This is a 90-minute user onboarding session with live Q&A. If you can’t attend, you can also view the latest recording. It is free to register and join.


  • 24/7 Phone Support: Phone dial-in +1.888.799.9666 ext 2 or +1.650.397.6096 ext 2.
  • 24/7 Live Chat: To access Live Chat, click the Help pop-up button at the bottom of any Zoom page. Type in the question you have. After typing in your question, you will see a Live Chat option.
  • Zoom Ticket: You can also submit a ticket to Zoom directly for non-urgent matters.

Canvas and Coursera

Each course takes place on two platforms: Canvas and Coursera. In order to pass your courses, you must pass any associated Coursera MOOCs and obtain a Coursera certificate for each component. Failure to pass the associated Coursera MOOCs will result in a final grade of “F” for your for-credit courses.


On the Canvas platform, you will find the high-engagement component. This includes live lectures, group assignments, and exams. Canvas course sites are available for 8 weeks from the end of the last course module. After that date, you will not be able to access courses that have ended.


On the Coursera platform, you complete the basic components of the course, such as watching videos and completing quizzes and peer-reviewed assignments. For each 8-week Illinois course, you will also complete two 4-week Coursera courses.

Coursera 24×7 Chat is available for questions regarding Coursera platform/logistical support. This includes issues with access/submission of assignments and issues with course access.

Coursera Discussion Forums are available for each Coursera component you’re enrolled in. Here, you can post questions about Coursera course content and request feedback on your peer-reviewed assignments (such feedback can be requested by posting in in the corresponding module week’s discussion forum).