Month: August 2015

GRADE-on-the-GO with Blackboard Grader Mobile App

As a faculty member, you are busy and need to maximize your time. Along with the flexibility of mobile devices, you can now grade student assignments and work on-the-go and from wherever you are with the Bb Grader app and an iPad.

Here is a video that highlights the key features of the Bb Grader app:

If you use rubrics to grade assignments, you can use this to quickly assess student assignments while also providing video and audio feedback to students using the built in feedback workflow.

The mobile app also includes features from the Student Retention Center.

Learn more about this app on Blackboard Help and the Bb Grader web page.


NEW & FREE – Introducing the Bb Student Mobile App

NEW this semester and also FREE, students at Grand Valley State University can take advantage of a mobile app to access their course materials easily and seamlessly from anywhere.

Bb Student Mobile App

Learn More about the Bb Student app on Blackboard Help.

Download the app on: Apple, Android, and Windows

More information about Blackboard at GVSU can be found on our
Teaching with Technology (Blackboard) web site.

Applying the Blackboard LMS to TPACK

TPACK is a framework that helps to zero in on the interplay between technology, pedagogy, and content.  In thinking about including the use of a LMS into teaching and into the classroom, this model can help to connect what may seem like separate and distinct areas of teaching practice into a synergistic view of integration.

“Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) attempts to capture some of the essential qualities of knowledge required by teachers for technology integration in their teaching, while addressing the complex, multifaceted and situated nature of teacher knowledge. At the heart of the TPACK framework, is the complex interplay of three primary forms of knowledge: Content (CK), Pedagogy (PK), andTechnology (TK).” – SOURCE:

Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by

What I like about TPACK is that it zeros in on the intersection and interplay of the domains of: Content, Pedagogy, and Technology. This model can be used to be reflective and yet intentional when viewed from the aspect of teaching practice and instructional technology deployment.  This can be useful for faculty, instructional designers, those involved in designing professional development activities, and instructional technologists.

Using the TPACK model, faculty and instructional designers can focus on relaying content that adhere to course outcomes in a way that is pedagogically effective through the application of appropriate technologies.  Taken together this truly has potential to transform teaching and learning.  This in turn, has direct implications for faculty professional development as well as instructional technologists that are charged with providing support for technology integration in teaching.

While the focus is on the TPACK “center”, the following intersections may be helpful to review to begin putting TPACK into practice and it is also where the “rubber-meets-the-road” so to speak.

Consider the following equation (TCK + PCK + TPK = TPACK):

TCK (Technological Content Knowledge)

  • This intersection is all about how technology can be applied to subject matter to represent it and formulate it in ways never before possible – with the goal to make it comprehensible for diverse populate learners and learning styles.
  • Blackboard can power unique applications and representations of content.  Powerful analogies through Blackboard Collaborate Voice Tools or VoiceThread, illustrations through Slideshare and Flickr Mashups, examples and simulations or explanations throughYouTube Mashups, and demonstrations or real world application of content with engaging video tools such as NBC Learn can be easily added to courses in Blackboard.


PCK (Pedagogical Content Knowledge)

  • This intersection relates to how subject matter can be organized, adapted, facilitated, and presented.
  • Blackboard enables faculty and instructional designers to create an effective sequence and structure in displaying course materials, assignments, and learning activities.  Learning Units, Lesson Plans, Course Links, and Tool Links can be used by faculty to bring about custom course designs in Blackboard.  In addition, Adaptive Release can be leveraged to create custom learner paths.


TPK (Technological Pedagogical Knowledge)

  • This intersection is about the knowledge of the existence of technologies and the ability to apply them to transform teaching and learning.
  • Blackboard has a wide array of tools for teaching.  These tools can be broken down into Content Delivery, Communication, and Assessment categories.  There are also features that provide the ability to manage and maintain class records.  A few of the features in Blackboard include: Grade Center, Discussion Boards, Wikis, Blogs, Journals, Assignments, SafeAssignments, content Mashups (Slideshare, Flickr, YouTube, Camtasia Relay, NBC video content,Voice Authoring), Email, Instant Messaging, Voice Boards, Voice Email, Voice Announcements, Self and Peer Assessment, Surveys, Tests, Group Tools, Announcements, etc.



  • and the potential of transforming teaching and learning with technology…

Some closing questions.  As you assess this model:

  1. Which domain do you naturally fall into?
  2. What domain do you need to spend some more time on and learn about?
  3. What steps can you take to approach “the center”?
  4. How can the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team at GVSU support you?

Adapted from a prior post on February 3, 2011, 2:59 pm from

Fall Teaching Conference – 5 Transformative Teaching Practices

IMG_4259FTLC Fall Teaching Conference
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
8:30 am – 1 pm
Eberhard Conference Center
Pew Grand Rapids Campus

Session Description: Whether deepsignificanttransformational, or transformative, teaching and learning are about growth and perpetual change. How can faculty create learning environments and craft activities that foster change in students and promote learning that transcends the classroom? This conference will describe a framework for designing significant learning experiences and provide concrete examples of the framework’s application.

The opening presentation was facilitated by Dr. Stewart Ross, currently a senior member of Dee Fink & Associates, and the founding Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU). He holds a Ph.D. in Music Education from Northwestern University.


  • High impact = transformative practices.
  • NSSE – A focus on student engagement.  In 2008, 5 high impact practices emerged:
    1. First Year Seminars
    2. Learning Communities
    3. Service Learning
    4. Undergrad Research
    5. Capstone Courses and Projects

We cannot improve student learning without improving our own teaching!

  •  How do we get better over time… the quality of teaching begins when you start teaching and into the future.  Continuously improving practice, going to workshops, connecting and sharing with others to collaborate and learn new skills.  Trial and error is part of teaching.  Keep getting better, don’t let people tell you you don’t have time.  Work and work to become a better teacher because there is more joy as students get better and better.
  1. Change Students View of Learning
  2. Learning-Centered Course Design
    • Taxonomy of Significant Learning
    • Understand and remember the key concepts, know how to use the content, relate the subject to other subjects, understand the personal and social implications of knowing the subject, value the subject and further learning about it, keep on learning about the subject after the course is over.
  3. Team Based Learning
    • A special way of using small groups.  Social constructivism is part, but not all ways of using small groups are equally good.
  4. Be a Leader with your Students
    • Ken Bain
    • Knowledge of the Subject Matter, Interact with Students, Designing Learning Experiences, and Managing the Course.
    • Leadership – Motivating and enabling other to do something important well.
    • Interact in such a way that shows you care!
    • Interact in a way that motivates students.
    • KEY > Care about the subject and care about the students.
    • Give praise in a way that motivates.
    • Listen well to the learners.
    • Celebrate achievements.
    • Give power to students to make their own decisions.
  5. Students Reflecting on their own Learning
    • Portfolios are commonly used – the best way to deploy is for the entire department to use them…

High Impact Teaching Strategies

Slides – 5 High Impact Teaching Practices

The opening session highlighted the following examples of how transformative teaching practices are being applied on our own campus. Highlights were be shared by:

  • Kurt Ellenberger, Professor of Music, Frederik Meijer Honors College
    • Office hours are not well attended by students. Most faculty report no use or less than %25. 2% of grade was assigned if the students visited the faculty office within the first 2 weeks.  Pre-class survey questions is another idea. (Blackboard is a good solution for pre-class surveys as the results can be tied to the gradebook for points as well as the ability to have the survey “turn off” after the class begins. Bb Collaborate or Instant Messenger could also be used for online office hours.)
  • Julie White, Affiliate Professor, Writing
    • 3rd week check up – take 5 minutes to hang around if the students wanted to chat.  To create unit and community with the students.  Helping to learn student’s names. (Blackboard photo roster is a potential option in the future.)
  • Chasity Bailey-Fakhoury, Assistant Professor, Special Education, Foundations, and Technology
  • Susan Harrington, Assistant Professor, Nursing
  • Nancy Schoofs, Professor, Nursing
  • Mary Bair, Associate Professor, Special Education, Foundations, and Technology
  • Judy Whipps, Professor, Liberal Studies and Philosophy
    • ePortfolios are a unique way to showcase learning. (Blackboard ePortfolios is a potential option in the near future.)
  • Danielle Lake, Assistant Professor, Liberal Studies

Engage with Emerging Technologies in the Showcase

Have you been to the Atomic Object Technology Showcase (room 012 atrium level) in the new library on the GVSU Allendale campus?  Have your students? If not, we invite you!

We have more emerging technologies in the showcase than you can shake-a-stick-at!

Google Glass @ GVSU

Google Glass, Oculus Rift, 3D Printing and more is available to check out in the showcase! Faculty, staff, and students can drop by anytime the showcase is OPEN. Fall 2015 hours are 10-9 Monday through Thursday and Friday 11-5.


The showcase has over 27 technologies that are available to faculty to check out for a temporary basis. FREE 3D printing is also available to faculty and students.


In the past 2 years, the showcase has hosted a series of class visits from courses such as: CIS 150, EDR 321, COM 495, Kendall College of Art and Design / Introduction to Design, and more!

Some faculty have assigned projects too, based on the tech in the showcase such as a required blog post in Blackboard, tweeting about their experience with a hashtag, etc.


The goal of the showcase is to expand the reach of technology – and to transform the educational experience at GVSU, while focusing on student success.  One example of a technology that has escaped the showcase is Swivl. This technology has enabled the College of Education to offer a unique option for classroom observations.  Check out this case study!

EDUCAUSE Review Article

So what are you waiting for? Head on over to the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons and drop by the showcase today!