IT Division Year in Review – Highlights work of the eLearning Team at GVSU

Information Technology Division

In a recent newsletter, GVSU’s Information Technology (IT) Division highlighted a variety of successes in 2020. While this past year has been challenging because of the impact of the pandemic on our community and across the world, IT has worked with many areas with great success!

Here are a few of the highlights from the newsletter that were supported by the eLearning team:

#1 – TEAM EXPANDED

The eLearning / Teaching & Learning Technologies team was expanded by 50% to meet the online/hybrid needs of the university for the growing adult learning portfolio.

#2 – RECORD NUMBERS OF FACULTY FACULTY SUPPORTED DURING PANDEMIC

The pivot to remote teaching created an increase in demand for faculty professional development the eLearning / Teaching & Learning Technologies team supported the training of over 800 faculty in 2 days in March 2020.  Further, the team facilitated professional development opportunities for over 2,346 faculty, provided drop-in consultations, and phone/email support for 1,800+ faculty throughout the year.

#3 – BLACKBOARD ALLY ACCESSIBILITY SCHOLARSHIP CONTEST

The eLearning / Teaching & Learning Technologies team facilitated a contest to promote the awareness of accessibility in a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Student Scholarship Competition, leveraging GVSU’s enterprise accessibility tool called Blackboard Ally. The winning department (Classics) was awarded a $1,000 student scholarship in their name!

#4 – BLACKBOARD ALLY ROAD TOUR STOPS AT GVSU

Additionally, GVSU was one of a select group of institutions that hosted a Blackboard Ally Tour, whereby, Blackboard accessibility experts came to campus to lead Universal Design for Learning workshops as well as connected with our Disability Support Resources office to share the impact Blackboard Ally was having at GVSU.

#5 – PANOPTO (and all digital tools) EXPAND IN USE DURING PANDEMIC

The eLearning / Teaching & Learning Technologies team supported a 905% increase in the total hours spent watching Panopto content. In fact, 44% of all Panopto content was created in the Fall 2020 semester, and there was a 5X increase in Blackboard courses using Panopto.

#6 – LEADS DEGREE COMPLETION PROGRAM DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT PROVIDED

The eLearning / Teaching & Learning Technologies team established a course development and design model, a project management process to track progress with Asana, and created 25 courses for GVSU’s new Degree Completion Program (LEADS).

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myBlueLaker + Blackboard Chatbot to provide Students with timely Course Updates

GVSU launched the myBlueLaker Virtual Assistant in 2020.  It is a fast and easy way to get answers anywhere or anytime, such as building info, bus schedules, personalized registration and class details. 

COMING SOON! myBlueLaker and Blackboard Integration

In response to feedback from students, myBlueLaker will soon be connected to Blackboard. The target launch date is expected to be Monday, January 25, however, please stay tuned for the most up to date availability…  Students have asked to be able to use myBlueLaker to look up due dates for assignments and to view their grades.

Faculty are encouraged to make their courses “myBlueLaker-friendly”.  This new connectivity is helpful to students, but also has the potential to save faculty time by reducing the number of deadline- and grade-related questions received.


Tips for Setting up Blackboard to be “myBlueLaker-friendly”

Below are a couple of steps faculty can use to set up Blackboard so that courses are “myBlueLaker-friendly”.

STEP #1 – Set Due Dates for Graded Activities

When creating assignments, assessments, or graded activities, setting the due date will help students manage multiple classes and deadlines. Here is what the due date area looks like when setting up an assignment in Blackboard:

  • NOTE – When using the course copy feature, faculty may also use the Blackboard due date management tool, to more efficiently manage and adjust due dates.

STEP #2 – Set up your Course Gradebook

Timely feedback is extremely valuable and helpful for students and their learning.

Using the Grade Center in Blackboard, faculty can share gradebook scores, annotated assignment feedback, and extended audio/video-based comments with students. Assignments can be set up in Blackboard so that grades/feedback is automatically added to the Grade Center and manual columns can also be created.

myBlueLaker Sample Queries

After the go live date of January 25, students will be able to use myBlueLaker to ask the following questions, while personalized feedback is returned with live data from Blackboard:

  • What courses am I enrolled in?
  • What is my grade in <course name>?
  • What assignments do I have for <course name>?
  • What is my current grade in <course name>?

Get Help & Support

The eLearning team at GVSU is available to provide support in setting up assignments/assessments, using due dates, and in setting up the Grade Center in Blackboard. Here are the top 4 ways to get assistance and to learn more:

  1. VISIT the eLearning Teaching with Technology Support Web SiteAccess on-demand and self-help resources for Blackboard Learn (content, communication, assignment management and grading), Blackboard Collaborate (live web conferencing), Blackboard Ally (accessibility), Panopto (video), Respondus LockDown Browser/Monitor (online exam proctoring) and more!
     
  2. EMAIL eLearning bbadmin@gvsu.edu
    Get help, support, and assistance for teaching with technology.
     
  3. CALL eLearning Support (616) 331-8526
    8:00 AM – 5:00 PM | Monday through Friday
    24×7 after-hours support is available by calling (616) 331-2101
  4. LEARN about GVSU’s myBlueLaker Virtual Assistant
    Learn more about myBlueLaker here: https://www.gvsu.edu/mybluelaker/

Creating a Custom Home Studio to Promote Engaging Instruction

In this post, Dr. Jerry Johnson, professor in the School of Social Work, was interviewed by Kim Kenward, Hunter Bridwell, and Noah Campbell from the eLearning Team.

Listen in and watch a really fun and very inspiring interview with Dr. Johnson, who talks through his experiences in teaching with Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, and creating a custom studio environment to promote engaging instruction in his teaching.

As a social work instructor who was convinced back in March that he wasn’t going to be able to teach online, Dr. Johnson, enrolled in a Foundations of Online and Hybrid Course Development course in May and worked with Kim Kenward, to envision how technology could be leveraged in his teaching.

Over the summer, Hunter Bridwell talked with Dr. Johnson about setting up a variety of digital technologies to create a small, but mighty, home studio above his barn, to help engage with his students in synchronous sessions with Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Specially, Dr. Johnson uses a remote controlled video camera, a wireless headset, and a good old fashioned  whiteboard during his live teaching sessions. 

Further, he is also using Panopto to create asynchronous lecture content.  Dr. Johnson has also investigated the use of a Swivl device through the Technology Showcase at GVSU.

 Watch the full interview below!

Happy New Year – Top 10 Posts from 2020

At GVSU, the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team is here to support faculty pursuing innovation in teaching and learning. Our team is dedicated to supporting faculty, contributing to teaching excellence, and enhancing student success through:

  • exemplary instructional design
  • effective application and integration of instructional technologies
  • interactive digital media development
  • administration and enhancement of the university’s enterprise learning management system (Blackboard)
  • deployment of innovative emerging technologies

Reflecting back on 2020, we would like to recognize and celebrate the work of faculty at GVSU in their efforts to advance education through the application of technology in teaching. Digital transformation brings about tremendous opportunities and we are excited to collaborate to pioneer the future of education.

In the past year, our gvsuelearn.wordpress.com blog has had 7,324 views by 6,066 visitors, and we have published 37 posts!

Here are the top 10 most viewed posts from the eLearning and Emerging Technologies blog in the year 2020:

#1 – 7 Things you didn’t know that Blackboard can do!

#2 – 10 Tips for Quality Online and Hybrid Teaching

#3 – Using Blackboard Goals to Monitor Curriculum and for Accreditation

#4 – Blackboard and 7 Principles of Good Practice

#5 – Using Blackboard Collaborate for Authentic Practice in Virtual Interviews

#6 – How to use Blackboard Analytics to Support your Students at GVSU

#7 – Meet the NEW eLearning and Emerging Technologies Team

#8 – Teaching with the Lightboard @GVSU

#9 – 2020 Blackboard Exemplary Course Program – Now Accepting Submissions

#10 – GVSU STA 419 Students assist in reviewing Blackboard Faculty and Student Survey Results

2020 – A Year in Review

The eLearning team has had quite a year!

Our mighty team of 15 staff are on mission to provide a wide array of services and resources designed to facilitate a cohesive and seamless digital learning experience for students at GVSU.

We strive to support faculty in delivering high-quality, high-impact, high-engagement innovative teaching. 

Here are just a few of the highlights that bubble to the top as we look in the rear view mirror of 2020:

  1. eLearning Expanded Team by 50%
    Through the support of the President and Provost, the eLearning team grew by 50% in staffing. The eLearning team collaborated to create a new position “Instructional Technology Project Specialist (ITPS)” to facilitate the upcoming work for the LEADS degree completion program, and growing needs within the adult learning portfolio.

    eLearning conducted a search and selected and selected 4 adjunct ITPS positions, promoted an internal “Digital Media Developer” to an Instructional Designer, and finally onboarded a new adjunct DMD. As of December, all of these adjunct positions were made permanent!
  2. Pivot to Remote Teaching
    In a huge sprint, the eLearning team trained over 800 faculty in 2 days on March 12 and 13.

    Further, since the pandemic, eLearning facilitated a wealth of faculty professional development opportunities, Foundations of Online and Hybrid Development and Design certifications, faculty learning communities, live seminars/webinars serving over 2,346 faculty reservations since March 1, drop-in consultations, and phone/email support for 1,800+ faculty.

    Further, through the prior and ongoing work of the eLearning team in establishing and promoting an effective technology stack for teaching and learning, GVSU was well positioned to switch to remote using Blackboard, Blackboard Collaborate, Blackboard Ally, Panopto, and Respondus Monitor.
  3. LEADS Degree Completion Implementation
    The eLearning team established a course development and design model, a project management process to track progress with Asana, and created 25 courses for GVSU’s new Degree Completion Program in the past year.
  4. Blackboard EAC Visual Data Deployment
    To support the assessment and outcomes work of GVSU Assess, as well as college needs for accreditation, eLearning facilitated the review, project management, and implementation of Blackboard EAC Visual Data.

    Bb EAC has resulted in student fees being eliminated as the use of LiveScribe and Chalk and Wire were not renewed. The following areas are now using Bb EAC: College of Education, School of Social Work, School of Public, Nonprofit, and Health Admin, and College of Engineering. Bb EAC leverages existing assessments, assignments, and rubrics which align to global institutional outcomes to save time and to provide deep analysis and reporting needs for accreditation purposes.
  5. Blackboard Ally 2019 Tour and Inclusive Education CLAS Accessibility Contest
    Noteworthy this year, was the eLearning’s team promotion of inclusive education First, the eLearning team facilitated a contest to promote the awareness of accessibility in a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Student Scholarship Competition. The winning department (Classics) was awarded a $1,000 student scholarship in their name.

    Additionally, GVSU was one of a select group of institutions that hosted a Blackboard Ally Tour, whereby, Blackboard accessibility experts came to campus to lead Universal Design for Learning workshops as well as connected with our Disability Support Resources office to share the impact Ally was having at GVSU.
  6. GVSU Hosted State-wide Educational Technology Organization of Michigan Conference
    Just over 1 year ago, the eLearning team facilitated a state-wide conference in collaboration with the ETOM board, on the theme of digital learning. The keynote was delivered by a GVSU faculty member on the topic of active learning.
  7. 18th Annual Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium
    Just over a year and a half ago, eLearning facilitated the largest ever Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium, including an appearance by President T Haas and with a keynote by Provost Cimitile. There were over 26 different presentations and “5 Technology Test Kitchen” demonstrations.

As we continue to partner with faculty and build the future together, we are looking forward to 2021!

Increasing Accessibility at GVSU with Blackboard Ally

Blackboard Ally was adopted at GVSU to provide:

  • An institutional dashboard of the overall “health” of the accessibility documents that have been uploaded by faculty into Blackboard at the institutional and course level.
  • On demand instructor guidance and help information for faculty on how to improve the accessibility of their uploaded files.
  • Automated conversion of instructor uploaded files into alternative formats for students such as: ePub, electronic braille, audio only, HTML, Tagged PDF, and OCRed PDF.

Since January 1, 2020 through November 23, 2020, here are a few highlights around the use of the system by faculty and students.

Overall Ally Usage

In the Fall semester:

Total Courses 4,135 | Content 451,402 | Accessibility Score 67.3%
  • Most severe accessibility concern = documents that are not OCRed (14,196).

Alternative Formats

  • 64,650 total downloads of alternative file formats, including: Tagged PDF, HTML, ePub, BeeLine Reader, and audio-only as the top 5 formats.
  • 5,600 courses had alternative file format downloads by students.

Instructor Feedback

  • 942 total fixes by faculty have occurred in 256 courses.
  • 2,865 feedback launches have occurred, providing faculty with feedback.

Teaching at GVSU?

Head on over to our web page for more information
and help in creating accessible course content
to support inclusive education!

GO TO: Ally at GVSU

eLearning Team provides Faculty Support for Digital Teaching at GVSU

GVSU’s eLearning and Emerging Technologies team provides a wealth of opportunities for faculty in support of digital teaching at Grand Valley State University.

Here are a few key areas of support and highlights offered to faculty in the remainder of the Fall semester and in Winter 2021.

  1. Faculty Learning Community Meetings – Tuesday, November 17, 1 to 2pm and Thursday, November 19, 10:30 to 11:30am
    Featuring faculty members who will share experiences with synchronous tools such as Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Zoom, and Google Jamboard.
  2. eLearning Webinars 
    Over 40 sessions are available for the remainder of Fall and in Winter 2021. Featured sessions offered in November and December include leveraging Blackboard in teaching, using Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor for assessments and exams, and more.
  3. Blackboard Default Layout for Winter 2021
    The refreshed Blackboard layout is sorted into functional categories with dividers, along with new “Begin Here” and “Weekly Content” menu items. Sample content (which is hidden from students) is also included to offer effective practice suggestions along with an “Instructor Guide”.
  4. 10 Effective Practices for Digital Teaching
    This NEW web page provides 10 effective practices for quality online, hybrid, and digital teaching. Practical examples of teaching and course design practices are combined with tools and technologies that are targeted to support student success at GVSU.
10 Tips | Effective Practices

GVSU eLearning Team and Faculty attend ETOM Fall Conference

One of the largest events ever hosted by the Educational Technology Organization of Michigan, the #ETOM20 Virtual Conference was held online on November 6, from 9AM to 3PM. The online conference included a keynote along with 10 breakout sessions on a variety of topics at the intersection of teaching, learning, and technology.

GVSU’s attendees included: Eric Kunnen, Vincent St. Germain, David Nivala, Jeanne Smith, Kimberly Kenward, Justin Melick, Glenna Decker, Barbara Stevens, Carrie Smucker, Julia VanderMolen, Colleen Cameron, Kerry Mohney, Matthew Roberts, Bradford Dykes, and Elisabeth Hammer.

Kicking off the event was a keynote by Dr. Norm Vaughan. Dr. Vaughan is a Professor in the Dept. of Education, Faculty of Health, Community, Education at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta. Dr. Vaughan’s keynote highlighted the following topics:

  • Student expectations and demands on faculty to deliver a quality distance learning experience
  • What faculty can do in Zoom beyond lecturing the entire time
  • Synchronous/asynchronous learning
  • Maintaining/ensuring quality in blended learning environments

Here are the presentation slides from Dr. Vaughan’s session.

Another highlight from the conference was a session by Glenna Decker, Instructional Designer, in eLearning and Emerging Technologies, who presented at the conference on the topic “When the Medium Chooses the Method: Online Discussion Beyond Respond Once, Reply Twice”.

Visit the ETOM Conference web site for more information and session recordings which will be posted after the event.

CHANGE NOTICE: New Blackboard Default Layout for Winter 2021

With each new semester, courses are created in Blackboard with a default menu and layout. Faculty can then personalize the menu and layout to meet the needs of their class.

WHAT IS CHANGING?

Beginning in the Winter 2021 semester, the default course layout in Blackboard will be updated. 

  • NOTE: If your school, department, or program has a customized Blackboard course menu, the new default layout will not apply.

WHAT DOES THE NEW LAYOUT LOOK LIKE?

The layout is sorted into functional categories with dividers, along with new “Begin Here” and “Weekly Content” menu items. Sample content (which is hidden from students) is also included to offer effective practice suggestions and faculty guidance.

To best take advantage of this new layout, a hidden to students “Instructor Guide” is readily available on the menu of every course. 

Here is a comparison of the OLD and NEW menu in Blackboard:


WATCH A VIDEO TOUR OF THE NEW LAYOUT
 

Play Bb Default Layout Video


WHY IS THE DEFAULT LAYOUT CHANGING?

The change is designed to establish a uniform learner experience.

The new default layout, created in concert with GVSU’s Online Education Microcredential Council, is intended to:

  • Provide a clear, consistent, and uniform learner experience.
  • Reduce cognitive load and to increase ease of navigation for students.
  • Leverage effective practices and focus on quality design principles through organizations such as Quality Matters and the Online Learning Consortium.

WHEN WILL I SEE THE NEW DEFAULT LAYOUT? 

The new layout will appear to all faculty in Winter 2021 courses, which will be available to faculty on November 9.

WILL I SEE ANY CHANGES TO MY CURRENT MENUS?

To ease in the use of course copy and to reduce workload in preparation for the upcoming Winter 2021 semester, please note that EXISTING FALL, SUMMER, and WINTER 2020 courses will have the following 4 menu changes:

  1. Syllabus menu items will change to Syllabus and Schedule
  2. Email will change to Send Email
  3. Grades will change to Check my Grades
  4. Help will change to Blackboard Help

HOW CAN I GET HELP?

 Please contact the eLearning team at:  bbadmin@gvsu.edu

ETOM Fall 2020 Virtual Conference – Free Registration Now Open!

On Friday, November 6, ETOM will offer it’s first virtual conference!

GVSU faculty are invited to participate for FREE as the university is a member of the Educational Technology Organization of Michigan (ETOM).

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Norm Vaughan – An educator and researcher with interests in blended learning and Faculty development.

Dr. Vaughan is a Professor in the Dept. of Education, Faculty of Health, Community, Education at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta. Dr. Vaughan will talk about:

  • Student expectations and demands on faculty to deliver a quality distance learning experience
  • What faculty can do in Zoom beyond lecturing the entire time
  • Synchronous/asynchronous learning
  • Maintaining/ensuring quality in blended learning environments

In addition, GVSU eLearning’s own Glenna Decker, Instructional Designer, will by delivering a session entitled: “When the Medium Chooses the Method: Online Discussion Beyond Respond Once, Reply Twice”.

Download Program | REGISTER HERE | CONFERENCE WEBSITE


Conference Overview


Welcome and Keynote (9:00 – 10:30am)

  • Margaret Bourcier, ETOM President
  • Dr. Norm Vaughan, Professor

Breakout Session 1 (10:40 – 11:30am)

  • Empowering the Pivot: Supporting Faculty in Uncertain Times and Beyond
  • Incorporating Experiential Learning into Computer Classes
  • HyFlex teaching and Blended Learning: A Genre Problem

Breakout Session 2 (11:40 – 12:30pm)

  • LOL! The Fun We Have with Live OnLine!
  • Nap Time or Class Time: Engaging Students in the Zoom Classroom
  • COVID CRAZY – Maintaining Peace and Best Practice During a Pandemic

Lunch Break(12:30 – 1:00 pm)


Breakout Session 3 (1:00 – 1:50pm)

  • First Year Engineering Students’ Advice for Online Faculty 
  • Academic Integrity Through Teaching and Learning 
  • When the Medium Chooses the Method: Online Discussion Beyond Respond Once, Reply Twice
  • Meaningful Engagement in the YouTube Era

Wrap Up (2:00 – 2:50pm)

  • Dr. Norm Vaughan will lead a discussion of key learning from our virtual conference.
  • The ETOM Executive Board will share special announcements and launch the survey!