Faculty Learning Communities highlight Innovative Teaching Practices @GVSU

The Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center provides Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) to bring faculty together to foster a 1-2 semester-long conversations on a topic of mutual interest and to encourage an application of the knowledge gained.

The eLearning team supports Online & Hybrid Faculty Learning Communities through facilitation by IDeL with the purpose of engaging faculty in a variety of innovative teaching practices and topics to enhance teaching and improve student success.

Compiled by Kim Kenward, Instructional Designer in IDeL, the following topics are being highlighted in the Fall semester:

Allendale Campus Learning Community (KHS4402)
Friday’s 11:30 – 1pm

  • October 20 – Discussion Topics
    Maximizing Blackboard
    Presenters:  Sherry Barricklow, Vince St. GermainEngaging Students in Hybrid/Online Courses (Padlet, FlipGrid, Video Reflective Journals, etc)
    Presenters: Janel Guikema and Lisa Hammer
  • November 17 – Discussion Topics
    Multimodal Learning in the Online Classroom
    Presenter: Julia VanderMolenBadges, badges, badges!
    Presenter:  Matt Roberts
  • December 1 – Discussion Topic
    Amazon Alexa and AI in Education
    Presenter:  Szymon Machajewski

CHS Campus Learning Community (CHS209)
Wednesday’s 1 – 2:30pm

  • October 18 – Discussion Topics
    Peer assessment tools, Best practices for facilitating group work and team-based learning, and Adaptive Release, Bb Goals, and Bb Achievements
    Presenters:  Raymond Higbea, Lara Jaskiewicz, Vince St. Germain (and others)
  • November 15 – Discussion Topics:
    Video/Audio (tools and best practices) Ensemble dropbox, Collaborate Ultra, lightboard, PlayPosit, Flipgrid, and other tools, and ADA/UDL Considerations
    Presenters:  Erika Bailey, Kristin Vu, Scott Truskowski (and others)
  • December 6 – Discussion Topics
    Course organization & design considerations to Maximize Learning (Show-n-Tell of Bb sites) and Quality Matters Standard 1
    Presenters:  OST Hybrid courses and other departmental samples including Educational Leadership NHA cohort

Pew Campus Learning Community (DEV302E)
Thursday’s 9:30 – 11am

  • October 26 – Discussion Topics
    Student Readiness for Online Learning/Academic Integrity (Samples from Math), Supporting Online Students (GVSU University Libraries and GVSU Writing Center), Supporting Students with Technology Requirements, and Adaptive Release/Peer Feedback
    Presenters:  Lindy Scripps-Hoekstra, Writing Center representative, Amanda Forslund (Math), Meagan Knoll and Kim Kenward
  • November 16 – Discussion Topics
    Creative uses of Video in Online/Hybrid Courses, Synchronous Best Practices,
    and UDL/ADA considerations
    Presenters:  Justin Melick, Hunter Bridwell, Jeremy Robinson, Rosemary Cleveland
  • December 7 – Discussion Topics
    Alternative Technology/Assignments & Tips for preparing for Winter Semester
    Presenters:  Pam Page, Lissa Brunan, Coeli Fitzpatrick and Kim Kenward

@GVSU faculty and staff attend #MIOERSUMMIT

On Friday, September 22, 9 faculty and staff from GVSU attended the Michigan OER Summit to connect with other faculty across the state in discovering ways to improve student success through the adoption and use of open educational resources.


Pictured Left to Right: Vince St. Germain, Eric Kunnen, Hunter Bridwell, (Dr. Robin DeRosa, Keynote Speaker), Matt Ruen, Genevieve Elrod, Debbie Morrow, Jacklyn Rander, Susan Strouse and Karyn Butler (Not Pictured)

Michigan Colleges Online organized the 2017 MI OER Summit and the goal was to gather together to collaborate about how to advance education through open educational resources.  This year, the event was hosted by Kellogg Community College (Battle Creek, MI) at the Binda Performing Arts Center.

speaker The keynote for the Summit was provided by Dr. Robin DeRosa – professor and chair of Interdisciplinary Studies at Plymouth State University, New Hampshire.

The keynote session title was: “Harnessing the Power of OPEN: How Open Education Can Transform Our Assignments, Courses, and Colleges”

In her presentation, Robin focused on how we can come together as a community of learners to transform courses, assignments, and ultimately, our public colleges and universities. With a special focus on Open Educational Resources and Open Pedagogy, Robin offered both ideas to re-inspire a sense of mission in public college instructors and examples of non-disposable assignments that will get students actively contributing to the knowledge commons.

The presentation introduced participants to the idea of connected learning, and offered new ways of conceiving of course architecture to better link students with their scholarly and professional communities of practice.


#MIOERSUMMIT Keynote Highlights

Here are a few of the key points shared in the keynote:

  • 56% of students pay more than $300 per semester and 20% of students pay more than $500 per semester on textbooks.
  • Students worry more about paying for books than worry about paying for college.
  • Open pedagogy is the piece that happens when students are producers of knowledge not just consumers.
  • OPEN is about access to knowledge and access to knowledge creation.
  • Areas of Caution: Digital redlining and the digital divide are real and insidious. Open is not the opposite of private. EdTech is selling something. Open is a process not a panacea.
  • Learn more about this event, along with additional highlights from the keynote on Eric Kunnen’s blog.

In addition to the keynote, there were a variety of breakout sessions by universities and community colleges across Michigan.


Open Education: Putting the PUBLIC back in public Higher Ed.

Learn more about this event, including additional notes from the keynote on Eric Kunnen’s blog

GVSU @Blackboard Photo Roster Enhances Personalized Instruction

Based on a project request from faculty involved in the Pew FTLC Strong Start Initiative, a class photo roster feature has been implemented in Blackboard to enhance personal connections between faculty and students.

The Strong Start Initiative, led by Pew FTLC Faculty Fellow Tom Pentecost, focuses faculty attention on best practices for engaging students in first-year undergraduate courses and important aspects of the college experience vital to student success.

The Strong Start Initiative highlighted the importance of making it a priority to learn students’ names and calling them by name as a recommendation for improving student success, along with being more approachable as a faculty member.

Introducing the Blackboard Class Photo Roster…

Beginning in August 2016, each course site in Blackboard included a class photo roster (in the course tools area) that displays the official GVSU ID photographs of enrolled students.

This photo roster application was brought to GVSU through the collaboration of the author, Dr. Szymon Machajewski, Affiliate Instructor in the School of Computing and Information Systems at GVSU, and eLearning and Emerging Technologies system analysts Katie Clark and Colleen Cameron.  Katie Clark provided key areas of the implementation, including automation and card ID system integration.

Dr. Machajewski has written many open source Building Blocks, which are plugins for Blackboard Learn.  Some of these plugins include: LoginAs for help desk support, a My Blackboard Amazon Alexa Skill for the Amazon echo, and BbStats that is beneficial to monitor and to track analytics of course design and student activity. A number of universities have adopted the same photo roster tool, such as the University of Illinois at Chicago.  The BbStats module is the second most frequently downloaded software package in the open source Blackboard directory with almost 14,000 downloads.

“Learning student names in a classroom course is important to creating an inclusive learning environment.”

“Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language. The average person is more interested in their own name than in all the other names in the world put together. People love their names so much that they will often donate large amounts of money just to have a building named after themselves. We can make people feel extremely valued and important by remembering their name.” Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People – Open Photo Roster for Blackboard Learn – Learning Student Names

How to Access the Blackboard Class Photo Roster at GVSU

For additional information, along with instructions for accessing the class photo roster, please visit the Photo Roster for Faculty and Photo Roster for Students websites. For additional policy questions, please contact the Registrar’s Office at regdept@gvsu.edu or 616-331-3327. For support in using this new Blackboard feature, please visit the eLearning and Emerging Technologies website or contact bbadmin@gvsu.edu.

2017 OER SUMMIT to Focus on Open Educational Resources to Transform Courses

Attention:  GVSU Professors! Have you ever thought of adopting an open textbook, or perhaps leveraging creative commons licensed resources to enhance your course? This event is for you! Join faculty from across the state to discuss, share, and learn how to enhance courses with OER!

The 2017 OER Summit will be held on September 22, 2017 at the Battle Creek campus of Kellogg Community College.

Registration is now OPEN!


The keynote for the Summit is provided by Dr. Robin DeRosa – professor and chair of Interdisciplinary Studies at Plymouth State University, New Hampshire.

“Harnessing the Power of OPEN: How Open Education Can Transform Our Assignments, Courses, and Colleges”

In this presentation, Robin will focus on how we can come together as a community of learners to transform courses, assignments, and ultimately, our public colleges and universities. With a special focus on Open Educational Resources and Open Pedagogy, Robin will offer both ideas to re-inspire a sense of mission in public college instructors and examples of non-disposable assignments that will get students actively contributing to the knowledge commons. The presentation will introduce participants to the idea of connected learning, and offer new ways of conceiving of course architecture to better link students with their scholarly and professional communities of practice. Those who are fluent with using new technologies and/or OERs in their courses and those who are just beginning to explore and learn are equally encouraged to attend.


Educational Technology Organization of Michigan (ETOM) Fall Conference – Call for Proposals

Attention:  GVSU Professors! If you are teaching online or hybrid courses, this is an excellent opportunity to join faculty from across the state to discuss, share, and learn how to enhance distance learning courses!

The ETOM Fall 2017 Conference will be held on October 27, 2017 at the Mt Pleasant campus of Mid Michigan Community College.

Registration is now OPEN!


1504091316karenshawOur keynote this year is Dr. Karen Swan. She will be speaking on “Developing Social Presence in Online classes.” Dr. Swan is the Stukel Professor of Educational Research and a Research Associate in the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service (COLRS) at the University of Illinois Springfield. For the past 20 years, she has been teaching online, researching online learning, and writing extensively about her experiences. She received the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) award for Outstanding Individual Achievement, National University Technology Network (NUTN) Distinguished Service Award, and the Burks Oakley II Distinguished Online Teaching Award for her work in this area. She is also an OLC Fellow and a member of the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame.

Call for Proposals

Are you or someone you know at your college or university doing something special to increase online student success? Is your college or university leveraging instructional technologies to improve student engagement and retention? If so, encourage them to share their ideas by doing a presentation at ETOM’s Fall Conference.

Submit your proposal today! 

New #EDTECH Summer Teaching Institute centered on Supporting Student Success through Effective Teaching

This summer, eLearning and Emerging Technologies was pleased to introduce the brand new…

 This event was held on Wednesday, August 16 and Thursday, August 17 for a 2 day series of hands-on workshops, discussions, and shared reflections all centered on the use of emerging teaching practices and technologies to support effective teaching.

The institute was structured for faculty to attend workshops, exchange ideas, and to spend time to get their courses ready for the Fall semester through support from the eLearning team.

The event theme was:

“Learn something new, get your course ready for Fall!”


There were 7 breakout sessions that were offered during the institute:

  • Individual Work Time with eLearning Team Support
  • #1 – Planning and Re-organizing your Online/Hybrid Course
  • #2 – Instructor Presence and Building Community
  • #3 – Library Resources and OER (Open Educational Resources)
  • #4 – Video and Digital Media Creation Tools
  • #5 – Assessing Student Learning and Engagement
  • #6 – Implementing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Principles in the Classroom to Support All Learners


This was an outstanding first time event! The institute offered nearly 60 faculty and staff the opportunity to learn from each other and to spend time working on prepping courses for Fall.

Here are a few social media highlights via Storify:


This event was organized in partnership and in collaboration with the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center.

eLearning and Emerging Technologies would like to thank all of the presenters, attendees, and the FTLC for their support to make this event possible!

Learn more about the #EDTECH Summer Teaching Institute

3 Campus Technology Conference Highlights #CAMPUSTECH

The Campus Technology conference was held this year in Chicago. Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies, captured 9 blog posts from the conference on his blog. This post features a few highlights from the conference.


Pictured left to right: James Vliesides (Western Theological Seminary) Justin Melick (Digital Media Developer, eLearning), Eric Kunnen (Associate Director, eLearning), and Hunter Bridwell (Digital Media Developer, eLearning)

Highlight #1 – GVSU Professor, Andrew Topper, presented on Supporting Faculty in Distance Education

GVSU’s Andrew Topper, Associate Professor of Special Education, Foundations and Technology presented at the conference in the following session:

  • Supporting Online/Blended Learning – “Many institutions struggle to support faculty effectively as they migrate toward blended/online course formats. Andrew Topper will share experiences developing, implementing and evaluating a fully online graduate degree, and examine why traditional institutional support may not be effective for the successful transition to technology-based teaching environments. You will also learn effective practices for faculty development in support of hybrid/online courses.”

GVSU Professor Andrew Topper, Associate Professor of Special Education, Foundations, and Technology presents at the Campus Technology Conference

Highlight #2 – Inspiring Keynotes and Informative Sessions

Here are a few highlighted sessions:

  • Creative Leadership: A Human-Centered Approach to Building Technology Strategies – “Student and stakeholder engagement throughout the strategic development process is essential to creating technology that is relevant, effective and forward-looking. Taking a human-centered approach, the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism partnered with innovation and strategy firm MO Studio to redesign an annual Student Technology Survey. Initially designed as a tool to collect basic usage data, it is now being used as a platform to increase student engagement. By building student empathy, focusing on collaborative design and generating insight, the school is able to better understand how students learn and faculty teach and to use this understanding to drive better technology decisions. The team will share the story of the approach, outcomes and impact of this process on the school’s ongoing strategic effort to develop an innovative technology roadmap.”
  • Measuring Student Success: What #HigherEd can learn from @Fitbit – “What gets measured gets improved. We are tracking activity like never before using wearables to measure steps and sleep. This data leads to greater awareness, which, in turn, perpetuates positive changes in user behavior. What if we applied this same concept by measuring activity in the classroom? Research shows that the more a student is engaged in class, the better he or she does in the course. Hear how behavioral data from the classroom, like learning management system engagement during the first weeks of class, note-taking and reviewing recorded lectures, can offer real-time insights about student success and transform the teaching and learning experience.”
  • Adopting a Learning Object Initiative for Student Success – “The Digital Pathways initiative at Columbus State Community College enables faculty to create state-of-the-art digital content (learning objects) and to employ interactive delivery methods that enhance student engagement. As one of the largest community colleges in Ohio and a leader in distance learning, Columbus State has formed a collaboration with Apple that provides faculty, as curators of information, the tools and knowledge to enhance the overall teaching and learning process. You will hear the challenges involved in creating a college-wide initiative that will meet the needs of millennial learners and analyze examples of interactive learning objects used in courses to discover how they have impacted student learning”


  • Keynote: Privacy and Security in the Age of Algorithmic Spies – “Security experts often claim that people are the most unreliable part of their systems and that privacy is dead. Jennifer Golbeck, an expert in cybersecurity and human-centered technology design, asserts that the problem is not people behaving insecurely, but security systems that are designed with no concern for their users. She’ll discuss the risks organizations face when humans are not the center of their security plans, present simple changes that can make systems more secure and easier to use, and describe how we can educate people about simple steps they can take to regain control over their digital lives.”

Highlight #3 – Discovering the Future for #HigherEd and #EdTech

  • Keynote: The Decade ahead for #HigherEd – “Higher education is on the cusp of far-reaching changes over the next decade as technology plays a larger role, and as students, parents and educators ask what colleges should teach and how learning should be measured in an era of shifting needs in the economy. Drawing on research from his bestselling book, College (Un)Bound, and his follow-up report for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Jeffrey Selingo will discuss the attributes of a new era of higher education, demographic changes coming to campuses in the next decade, emerging learning pathways, and the roles of technology and the physical campus in the future directions of higher education.”


  • Current Trends for the Future of Educational Technology – “During this workshop based on his long-running Future Trends in Technology and Education report, Bryan Alexander will explore present trends to extrapolate the future of higher education technology. The workshop will present cutting-edge, longitudinally informed research and activities that encourage you to consider how policy, economics, demographics and educational technologies are shaping your institution, community and life. Alexander will also examine trends and developments including social media, mobile, blockchain, artificial intelligence, evolutions in learning management and more.”

Bryan Alexander – Bryan Alexander is an internationally known futurist, researcher, writer, speaker, consultant, and teacher, working in the field of how technology transforms education.

Read more blog posts from the 2017 Campus Technology Conference on Eric Kunnen’s blog.