Edsby LMS Finds Home in Canadian Districts and on Azure
- By Dian Schaffhauser
A 35,000-student district in Ontario, Canada will be adding a cloud-based learning management system to expand its communication and collaboration among teachers, students and families. The Greater Essex County District School Board has adopted Edsby, whose company headquarters are also in Ontario. The program is used by teachers to give students access to files online and provide a virtual space through which parents can view student progress and communicate with teachers. The district's staff and students already use Office 365, which the learning management program integrates with.
Simultaneous with the deployment announcement, Edsby also said it would soon be available on Microsoft Azure, Microsoft's enterprise-grade cloud platform.
The LMS software was piloted in a number of Greater Essex County schools. Full deployment will take place in stages. Initially, Edsby will be used in secondary schools for student attendance. The parent portal access is expected to be available during the 2016-2017 school year.
During the evaluation phase of the adoption, the district asked contenders to provide evidence that they could hold up in large deployments. This is the fourth sizable school system where Edsby has recently been licensed. The District School Board of Niagara announced in October 2015 that its 36,000 students would be moving to the online application. In June, the 60,000-student Halton District School Board said it would implement Edsby. And in April, Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board announced it had selected Edsby for deployment to its 34,000 students.
The integration aspects of Edsby were important to the decision. "Our stakeholders benefit from Edsby's rich, compelling capabilities, and we leverage our existing investments and experience with our current systems rather than having to go through the cost and challenges of replacing them," said John Howitt, superintendent of education and information technology, in a prepared statement.
The company will be making its Edsby cloud service available in Azure data centers around the world, as they're established, to enable customers to adhere to regulations regarding regional or national sovereignty requirements for data storage. Those data centers are already available in the United States for American school customers. In Canada, Microsoft recently announced plans to establish Azure cloud data centers in Ontario and Quebec. Edsby said it would be available in those Canadian facilities in time for the 2016-2017 school year. From there Edsby will be made available in Azure data centers in Australia, Europe and elsewhere.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.