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.

Top 5 Blackboard Conference Highlights #BbWorld17

One of the best conferences of the year is the national Blackboard users conference “BbWorld“. This year, the event was held in New Orleans, LA.

In addition to the in person conference, there were also sessions streamed LIVE via “BbWorldLive“. Further, the conference was cohosted with “MoodleMoot” and was proceeded by the largest ever developers conference “DevCon“.


Pictured Left to Right: Eric Kunnen (associate director, eLearning), Colleen Cameron (systems analyst, eLearning), Szymon Machajewski (affiliate instructor, CIS), Vince St. Germain (eLearning and instructional technology specialist, eLearning)

Highlight #1 – GVSU Professors receive Blackboard Exemplary Course Award

Congratulations to Grand Valley State University’s professors Szymon Machajewski and Cheryl Kautz! These GVSU professors earned recognition from education technology company Blackboard Inc. as recipients of the “Exemplary Course Award” through the Blackboard Catalyst Award program. The winners were recognized during the a special reception at the conference.


Associate Director of eLearning, Eric Kunnen (middle) receiving Cheryl Kautz’s Exemplary Course Award with Tim Atkin, Chief Client Officer, Blackboard Inc., and Bill Ballhaus, CEO and President, Blackboard Inc. (right)


Szymon Machajewski, affiliate instructor in CIS, receiving his Exemplary Course Award from Tim Tomlinson, Chief Product Officer, Blackboard Inc.


Szymon Machajewski, Affiliate Instructor, in the School of Computing and Information Systems at GVSU received a 2017 Blackboard Exemplary Course Award for his CIS 150 – Introduction to Computing Course


Cheryl Kautz, Affiliate Instructor, in the School of Computing and Information Systems at GVSU received a 2017 Blackboard Exemplary Course Award for her CIS 238 – Internet Media and Programming Course.



Highlight #2 – Keynotes and General Sessions

There were a wide array of sessions offered at the conference. Eric Kunnen blogged at the conference, capturing 10 sessions. Here are a few noteworthy keynote sessions:


  • BbWorld General Session – Thursday’s general session started off with the Catalyst Awards winner presentation followed by Blackboard’s charitable giving program. Then, Dr. Mae Jemison, former NASA astronaut, engineer, physician & education advocate takes the stage to deliver an inspirational keynote address.
  • BbWorld Blackboard Opening Keynote – “Join us as we kick off BbWorld 2017 with Bill Ballhaus, Blackboard CEO and Katie Blot, Blackboard Chief Strategy Officer. Then, hear from lifelong education advocate, and former Second Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden.”


  • BbWorld General Session: How to Partner for Success – “Join us in the general session theater as two panels take the stage. You’ll first hear from clients about how they are overcoming challenges around student access and student success. This will be followed by a panel discussion on the intersection between technology, education and policy as we work to understand what the future holds.”


Highlight #3 – GVSU Staff Presentations

Eric Kunnen, and Szymon Machajewski presented at the conference in the following session:

  • DevCon: Managed Hosting, Does it work? Will I get access to my data? – “University of Illinois at Chicago adopted the managed hosting environment in 2012 and has been successful in important user support improvements and stability of operations. While employing GAs and undergraduate students in the support structure the resolution time for Blackboard tickets was reduced from two weeks to a few hours. Deep integrations have been created for event driven user synchronization. A number of OSCELOT projects are being sponsored and developed in a staging managed hosted system. The experience and collaboration with managed hosted team allowed for strong support of Blackboard Learn adoption on campus. The panel will include representative from Grand Valley State University, where initial deployment to Managed Hosting was later reversed to again become self-hosted.”

Szymon Machajewski presented at the conference in the following sessions:

  • Course Design Patterns: Latent Class Analysis with Opensource BbStats – “Fostering the adoption of teaching and learning technologies requires taking stock of how faculty use the LMS through a process that is reproducible, reliable, and affordable. Studies in student activity patterns, such as the recent Patterns in Blackboard Learn tool use: Five Course Design Archetypes, help us to understand evidence of use. But what about the ways that faculty design courses before any student activity takes place? This session will explore a case study at University of Illinois at Chicago in which course design patterns in Blackboard Learn were derrived using BbStats and Latent Class Analysis.”
  • Gamification in Blackboard Learn – “Gamification is an important movement in business management, but also in higher education.  Projects like the GradeCraft LMS, funded at $1.8 million dollars at U of M, demonstrate that designing student experience in learning is a top priority for major educational institutions.
    • Considering enrollment limitations and changes in population profiles, motivating students into program completion and into high employability STEM programs may provide a competitive edge for academic organizations.
    • Before switching to a fully gamified LMS, faculty, designers, and administrators should consider the capacity in Blackboard Learn  to support gameful pedagogy.  Gamification has the potential to motivate both the students and the faculty, especially in introductory courses.”


Highlight #4 – Product Roadmaps

In addition to keynotes and general sessions, there were a wide array of sessions offered at the conference. Eric Kunnen blogged at the conference, capturing 10 sessions.

Here are a couple product roadmap sessions from Blackboard, to showcase what is coming in future releases:

  • Blackboard Learn Product Roadmap – “We invite you to join our product management leaders to hear about the short and long term plans for Blackboard Learn. This session will cover both the Original experience (aka Learn 9.1) and the Ultra experience.”


  • Blackboard Collaborate Roadmap – “We invite you to join our product management leaders to hear about our short and long term product plans for Blackboard Collaborate.”


Highlight #5 – Watch BbWorldLIVE Session Recordings

There are 9 sessions available to watch on demand through BbWorldLIVE.

Here are a few of the topics:


eLearning welcomes new faculty at the @GVSU 2017 New Faculty Orientation


The eLearning team provided a wealth of information, #EDTECH demonstrations, and presentations to over 100 faculty that attended the 2017 New Faculty Orientation at GVSU.

Highlighted presentations and demonstrations included:

  • myBanner
  • Introduction to Blackboard Learn
  • Advanced Blackboard
  • IT Services
  • Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
  • GVSU Mobile and Apps
  • Blackboard Collaborate, TechSmith Relay, and Ensemble Video
  • Digital Studio, Lightboard, and Skype for Business
  • IDeL Seminars and Foundations
  • Technology Showcase
  • IT HelpDesk and Mobile Device Setup


During the event, new faculty that attended up to 5 sessions or more were entered into a raffle prize giveaway. We would like to congratulate the following faculty winners!

Betty Jo Enell Echo Dot CIS
Xiang Cao Power Core Mini CIS
Carla Floyd-Slabaugh Power Core Mini OT
Barbara Spraggins Camtasia License OT
Brittland DeKorver Laser Presenter Remote Chemistry
Nicole Wright GV Symbol Allied Health
Yoshiko Tsuda USB Microphone MLL

Also, the selection of our winners was broadcast live on Facebook, and here is the video:



We thought the afternoon was fantastic and enjoyed meeting all of the new faculty at GVSU! Here are a few photos from the orientation:


Thank you to all of the presenters and the faculty that attended the event.

Please remember, the eLearning team is here to help! Here is to a wonderful semester start to you all!

@GVSU Professors receive @Blackboard Catalyst Award

ECP_WinnerCongratulations to Grand Valley State University’s professors Szymon Machajewski and Cheryl Kautz! These GVSU professors recently earned recognition from education technology company Blackboard Inc. as recipients of the “Exemplary Course Award” through the Blackboard Catalyst Award program. The winners will be recognized during the BbWorld 2017 conference to be held July 25-27 in New Orleans.


Szymon Machajewski, Affiliate Instructor, in the School of Computing and Information Systems at GVSU received a 2017 Blackboard Exemplary Course Award for his CIS 150 – Introduction to Computing Course




Cheryl Kautz, Affiliate Instructor, in the School of Computing and Information Systems at GVSU received a 2017 Blackboard Exemplary Course Award for her CIS 238 – Internet Media and Programming Course.



The eLearning and Emerging Technologies department offers our congratulations to Cheryl Kautz and Szymon Machajewski in their hard work to support student success through excellence in course design and teaching!

The Blackboard Catalyst Exemplary Course Award recognizes faculty and course designers from schools, colleges and universities around the world who develop exciting and innovative courses that represent the very best in technology and learning.

The award highlights technologically rich, engaging, well designed, and pedagogically sound courses that showcase best practices for the user community. Submissions were judged by peers and by experts on the following components:

  • course design;
  • interaction and collaboration;
  • assessment; and
  • learner support

About the Blackboard Catalyst Exemplary Course Award:


Exemplary Course Award – This award recognizes faculty and course designers who develop exciting and innovative courses that represent the very best in technology and learning.

Congratulations to GVSU faculty Szymon Machajewski and Cheryl Kautz, along with all of the 2017 award winners:

  • Hawaii Pacific University: Dr. Han Nee Chong
  • Algonquin College, Ontario, Canada: Dr. Albert Dudley
  • Grand Valley State University, Michigan: Cheryl Kautz
  • Grand Valley State University, Michigan: Szymon Machajewski
  • Columbia Southern University, Alabama: Jacqueline Pica and Dr. Christine Whitaker
  • Ohio University: Kyle Rosenberger
  • Kent State University, Ohio: Dr. John Staley

For more information about the 2017 award program, please visit the Blackboard Catalyst Award Community Site.

“Blackboard is proud to recognize this year’s Catalyst Award winners for their commitment to leveraging technology to improve the education experience,” said Bill Ballhaus, Chairman, CEO and President of Blackboard. “We look forward to continuing to work with these educators and institutions to support learner success, and to share best practices widely for the benefit of the education community.”


Distance Learning by the Data – More than one in four students now take at least one distance education course…

Each year, surveys are conducted that track trends in the growth of distance learning. One survey that was released recently is the “Digital Learning Compass: Distance Education Enrollment Report“.

Here are a few highlights from the report:

“Key report findings include:

The number of higher education students taking at least one distance education course topped 6 million in 2015.

A year-to-year increase of 226,375 distance education students represents a 3.9% increase over the previous two years.

More than one in four students (29.7%) now take at least one distance education course (a total of 6,022,105 students).

Public institutions command the largest portion of distance education students, with 67.8% of all distance students.

Large enrollment drops among for-profit institutions were driven by a few of the largest institutions; the majority of for-profits grew their distance enrollments.

The number of students studying on a campus has dropped by almost one million (931,317), between 2012 and 2015.”

Another survey was facilitated by the Instructional Technology Council, entitled: “2016 Annual National eLearning Survey“. Here are a few of the key finding from this report:

“2016 Survey Results: Key Findings
For the first time in the twelve-year history of the ITC eLearning survey,
online enrollments at community colleges were essential flat for the 2015-
2016 academic enrollment period. Nationally, overall community college
enrollment has been in a downward trend by an average of 2.7% each
year since 2011. Online enrollments remain stronger than traditional
enrollments but have also been adversely impacted by the postrecession
drop in college enrollments.

➢ eLearning REPORT LINE

Eighty-three percent of respondents indicate their eLearning program
reports to some type of academic administrator. This continues a
twelve-year trend of programs moving from IT oversight to academic


The top three challenges for eLearning program administrators, are:
▪ #1: Addressing accessibility and universal design
▪ #2: Support staff needed for training/technical assistance
▪ #3: Adequate assessment of eLearning classes


Four LMS providers now dominate the higher education market. Eighty seven
percent of respondents listed the following as their current LMS:
▪ #1 Blackboard Learn (43%)
▪ #2 Instructure Canvas (23%)
▪ #3 Moodle (13%)
▪ #4 D2L (8%)


Confidence about compliance has eroded over the past nine years; in
2008, seventy-three percent of respondents said their institution was
either completely or mostly compliant. For 2016, only thirty-seven
percent of respondents were confident they were either completely
or mostly compliant. Well-publicized lawsuits and Dear Colleague
letters from the US DOE and DOJ have complicated the compliance


Ninety-four percent of respondents confirmed that their institution
(primarily community colleges) offers at least one online degree.


Ninety-five percent of respondents described their online courses as
either equivalent (87 percent) or superior (7 percent) to traditional


The 2016 survey included a number of comments from respondents identifying
staffing as a serious challenge. Asked about staffing, 5 percent indicated they
had no staff, 15 percent indicated they had only part-time/temporary staff, 66
percent indicated they had 1-2 staff members, 11 percent said they had 3-5
staff members, and 1 percent said they had 6 or more staff members.


#1: Engaging faculty in developing online pedagogy
#2: Evaluation of faculty
#3: Training


#1: Assessing online student learning and performance
#2: Orientation and preparation for learning online
#3: Low student completion rate


For the 2016 survey, forty-six percent of respondents reported their
retention is comparative for online and traditional courses, and forty-seven
percent indicated their online retention is lower than for traditional

At GVSU, the eLearning team is on mission to support faculty in their work to create high quality online and hybrid courses. Through the work of the IDeL team, faculty have access to a wealth of resources of support, including the Foundations of Online and Hybrid Course Development course, Faculty Learning Communities, and more! Visit the IDeL web site to learn more.

Survey Results: College Presidents Welcome Change

In a Chronicle of Education survey, sponsored by Blackboard, 350 presidents of four-year colleges provided feedback and insights around innovations in higher education, including the role various constituencies play in advancing ideas, as well as their opinions on online learning, hybrid courses, and competency-based degrees.

Read the full report here [PDF]:  “The Innovative University: Presidents Think About Change in American Higher Education”

The focus of the survey highlighted the following areas:

  • How public and private college leaders agree and disagree on the direction of U.S. higher education
  • Who should be leading change on the college campus
  • What innovations will have the most impact in the future

The following post highlights results focused on online and hybrid teaching and learning:

New ideas:

An overwhelming majority of presidents—three quarters at private institutions and even more at public campuses—think that hybrid courses that contain both face-to-face and online components will have a positive impact on higher education. They are more skeptical, however, about massive open online courses (MOOCs), at least in their current form. Half of the presidents surveyed suspect that MOOCs will have a negative impact on higher education.

Two-thirds of presidents say that the pace of change is too slow.

Presidents believe that the focus right now should be on changes to the model of teaching and learning.


Presidents believe hybrid courses that blend face-to-face learning as well as adaptive learning will have the most positive influence on the future of higher education.


57% indicate faculty don’t get enough support to move their courses online/hybrid:


The eLearning team at GVSU is here to support faculty in their work to transform education through good practice in leveraging #EdTech as well as to assist in the delivery of the next generation of teaching and learning through online/hybrid courses. Contact us!

Where will U.S. higher education stand in worldwide rankings 10 years from now?