GVSU explores Extended Reality in the Showcase


Photo Credit: Amanda Pitts

Extended Reality (XR) is a frequent topic among those in higher education. XR is about engaging students across a wide array of digital experiences, including: virtual, augmented, mixed, and haptics-based interactions.

Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience of the physical “real world” environment where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory, and olfactory.

In the showcase we have multiple Augmented Reality experiences including the MERGE CUBE and the CURISCOPE AR T-Shirt. The Merge Cube includes multiple apps that can transpose various three dimensional holographic applications a user can experience, while the Curiscope T-Shirt pairs with an application named Virtual-tee to provide an anatomical visualization of the human body.

Justin Robinson, student assistant in the showcase, is currently developing an app for the Merge Cube to assist GVSU medical students in the study of Moro Infant Reflexes.

The app will project a “virtual” baby that will respond to the movement of the cube in the same way a baby would respond tilted in a given direction. This provide students with the understanding of infant reflexes without having to use an actual child.

Here are a couple of photos of the AR experience that Justin is developing in collaboration with Hunter Bridwell, digital media developer, in eLearning and Emerging Technologies.

Merge Cube    Merge Cube AR Experience

“The Technology Showcase gives me and other students the ability to experience and develop the future of learning and entertainment and I’m blessed to be a part of it.” – Justin Robinson

Showcase participates in #GivingTuesday

YOU can make a DIFFERENCE!

On Tuesday, December 3, the Atomic Object Technology Showcase at Grand Valley State University is excited to be participating in:


Lakers Helping Lakers

Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to give back to not only the Showcase, but also to the GVSU community. With your help we can explore new innovative technology right here in the showcase!

Make a #LakerEffect impact and consider donating a gift of any amount though the Atomic Object Technology Showcase GIVE web page!

Give to the Technology Showcase Now!

Now, more than ever, #edtech is playing a critical role in student success. Through your support of the the “Emerging Technology Fund“, the showcase can continue to pioneer the future of education.

Thank you for your consideration in supporting the work of academic innovation at GVSU.



Please help us to spread the word among your connections and fellow GVSU alumni.
Thank you, in advance, for giving back!


GVSU Alum visits the Showcase

We were grateful and thankful to have a recent visit by a GVSU alumna, Lily Snyder. A graduate of GVSU in 2010, Lily went on to receive project management and ScrumMaster certificates while pioneering the way in virtual reality through her experiences as COO for Doghead Simulations.

Lily is a writer and speaker and has provided keynote addresses at a variety of events, including the Cincinnati Tech Frontier Series, Seattle Startup Week, and IILeX Europe in Amsterdam.

Here is an excerpt from a recent post on Lily’s LinkedIn profile regarding her visit to the Atomic Object Technology Showcase at Grand Valley State University:

“Super stoked to have gotten a tour of the GVSU – Atomic Object TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE today. I met enthusiastic students and GV’s associate director of eLearning, Eric Kunnen along with Hunter Bridwell M.S., Digital Media Director. If you want to know how universities are implementing emerging technology like virtual reality, you should reach out to them. Grand Valley State University is my Alma Mater and I’m proud to see their continued dedication to their students, education, and technology.”
#digitialtransformation #education #virtualreality #augmentedreality
Showcase Behind the Scenes
Photo courtesy: Lily SnyderPictured left to right: Carson (student assistant), Lily Snyder, Hunter Bridwell, Eric Kunnen
Pictured left to right:
Carson (student assistant), Lily Snyder, Hunter Bridwell, and Eric Kunnen


Blackboard by the numbers…

Here is an infographic with a few stats, highlighting the use of Blackboard at GVSU in the Fall 2019 semester:

bbstats-2019_41917149 (1).png

Data in Infographic:

  • Users Logged in past 90 Days
    • 1,394 Faculty, 20,902 Students
  • Assignments Created
    • 14,366
  • Most Simultaneous Logged in Users
    • 17,028
  • Course Sections Available
    • 3,510
  • Logins per Minute
    • 121
  • Content Items Created
    • 238,486
  • Most Email Sent per Hour
    • 18,541
  • Most Assessment Attempts per Hour
    • 2,106
    • 7,710 Quizzes / Tests Created
  • Discussion Forum Created
    • 9,194
  • Total Announcements Posted
    • 39,225
  • Gradebook Columns Created
    • 61,132

GVSU hosts the ETOM 2019 “Active Teaching – Active Learning” Fall Conference


Introducing the… 2019 ETOM Fall Conference Attendees

After 4 years, the ETOM 2019 Fall Conference returned to Grand Valley State University! 

The event was held on Friday November 8 in the Kirkhof Center on GVSU’s Allendale Campus. There were over 90 administrators, faculty, and staff in attendance from 22 institutions, and the conference included 12 breakout sessions and a keynote. GVSU faculty Robert Talbert, Lissa Brunan, Sherry Johnson, and Jeremy Robinson shared their expertise by providing presentations at the conference.

Missed all of the action? Here is a recap post with all of the highlights:


Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies, GVSU and President of ETOM welcomed attendees to the Fall Conference

Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of  eLearning and Emerging Technologies, currently serving as President of the Executive Board of ETOM provided a short description of the history and work of ETOM throughout the year.

The Educational Technology Organization of Michigan (ETOM), is a non-profit that has been around since 1980 – always focused on expanding the use of instructional technologies in teaching and learning.

The following photos are from the earlier days of ETOM, as leaders from colleges across the state came together to collaborate and partner to combine resources and to spur on new ideas to improve education.

As with many organizations, the momentum is spurred on by the ETOM Executive Board. made up from online learning administrators from colleges and university’s across the state.


Sue Korzinek, Associate VP and CIO, welcomed attendees to GVSU.

GVSU’s Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Sue Korzinek, provided a brief welcome on behalf of Grand Valley.

In addition to the fall conference, ETOM provides a spring retreat geared toward distance learning  administrators as well as online meet ups that are held every other month focusing on a variety of trends and important topics connected to online teaching and learning.

Finally, ETOM provides a Teaching Certification course for faculty new to teaching online. ETOM.ORG is the place to go for more information.

Before kicking off with the keynote, Garry Brand, Executive Director of ETOM and Business Law professor at GVSU, provided a special presentation and recognition of Ronda Edwards, Executive Director of Michigan Colleges Online, who is retiring from her position this year.

ETOM presented Ronda with a lifetime membership for her years of advocacy and promotion of the use of technology to support education.


From left to right: Garry Brand, Executive Director of ETOM, Stacy Whiddon, Associate Dean of Distance Learning at Schoolcraft College, and Ronda Edwards, Executive Director of Michigan Colleges Online

The conference theme this year was Active Teaching and Active Learning.  The highlighted keynote was provided by Robert Talbert, who is a leader and author in the area of flipped learning. His talk was entitled: “Active Learning: Three reasons to embrace it, three reasons to avoid it, and three questions to consider”

  • Robert Talbert is a Professor of Mathematics in the Mathematics Department at Grand Valley State University. He holds a B.S. degree in Mathematics from Tennessee Technological University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mathematics from Vanderbilt University.

Watch Robert Talbert’s ETOM 2019 Keynote Presentation



Thank you to our presenters and attendees for an amazing event, pioneering the future for active learning and active teaching to support student success!

Using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra for Group Assignments

GVSU Nursing faculty Nancy Schoofs and Sue Harrington wanted to try something new in their Professional Nursing course. Instead of dividing their students into groups and having them submit a review of the course readings, they decided to use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and have the students record themselves engaged in a group discussion about the text. The results exceeded all of their expectations.

To carry out the discussions, students were divided into small groups and provided access to the Collaborate Ultra course group tool where they could share content and use the whiteboard, as well as create recordings.Blackboard Collaborate Ultra AllowHalf of the students read one course text and the other half read a second. They were then required to discuss a set of questions about each reading during a series of Collaborate Ultra sessions that were recorded throughout the semester. A rubric was used to evaluate their discussions based on the content they covered, their organization, teamwork, delivery and effectiveness.

According to Professor Schoofs and Harrington, their students really embraced the opportunity to discuss, rather then write about, the readings. Most of the students joined the sessions using their own computers and devices, but some chose to meet face-to-face and simply used Collaborate to record their discussion. Both methods worked exceptionally well and the results were both engaging and insightful. Given the opportunity, both Professor Schoofs and Harrington agreed that they would use the Collaborate Ultra course group tool for similar assignments in their future courses.

Blackboard Ally Tour arrives at GVSU to Raise Awareness of Inclusive Education through Accessibility

The Blackboard Ally Tour arrives at GVSU!

On Thursday, October 24 and Friday, October 25, John Scott, Product Manager on the Blackboard Inc. Ally team visited GVSU to share best practices around accessibility with faculty, staff, and students.

The goal of the visit was to provide the opportunity to engage in conversations around the importance of inclusive education through accessibility. John provided a workshop session to over 20+ attendees, covering the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), the features and capabilities of Blackboard Ally, as well as tips and techniques for improving the accessibility of files.

Missed out on this event? Watch the Universal Design for Learning Faculty Workshop Video!


Here are a few photos from the Ally Tour GVSU visit:

Jeff Sykes, Assistive Technology Coordinator, John Scott, Product Manager Blackboard Ally, Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies

Pictured left to right: Jeff Sykes, GVSU – Assistive Technology Coordinator, John Scott – Blackboard Ally Product Manager, Eric Kunnen – GVSU Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies

Learn more about this event on the eLearning “Blackboard Ally Tour comes to GVSU!” web page.

Building off the “Pathways to Inclusion” case studies (read GVSU’s “Data-driven Strategies for Inclusive Learning“), Blackboard facilitated an Ally 2019 Tour: On the Road to IncluCity event at GVSU to continue accessibility conversations across campuses around the world.

A key area of focus is to share best practices for implementing Universal Design for Learning principles and driving culture change around course accessibility.

“Supporting Diverse Needs through Inclusive Design and Learner Preference”

Accessible content authoring is not only essential for students who use assistive technologies, but it also results in more usable, flexible content that can adapt to diverse student needs and devices. During the workshop, we’ll discuss some of the key terms and research around inclusive learning and Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and the different ways Ally’s alternative formats and instructor feedback help support those learning goals. Participants will then form teams and work on a series of accessibility and UDL challenges, focused around content authoring, content remediation, multimodal literacy, and curriculum design. At the conclusion of the workshop, each participant will leave with one strategy or idea to make their learning environment more inclusive for all their learners.

Product Manager, Blackboard Ally

John Scott is a Product Manager for Blackboard Ally. Prior to joining the Blackboard Ally team, John completed his PhD in Learning Sciences and New Media at the University of California Berkeley, where he designed, taught, and researched online learning courses focused on collaborative learning, multimodal literacy, and Universal Design for Learning. He spent 4 years as a literacy and arts teacher in New York City public schools, earning a Master’s Degree in Special Education, and specializing in technology-mediated literacy and learning. He has published and presented at professional research conferences on digital literacies, networked learning, and global education. He is passionate about working with instructors in adopting new technologies in the classroom through research-backed pedagogy and critical design.