Month: October 2015

GVSU to celebrate National Distance Learning Week on November 13, 2015

GVSU will be celebrating National Distance Learning Week (NDLW) from November 9-13, 2015 to recognize the continued growth and value of online and hybrid learning at the university. NDLW is organized by the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) and serves to highlight the successes and value of distance education.

To celebrate and to recognize faculty at Grand Valley State University, IDeL in the eLearning and Emerging Technologies group, and the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center (FTLC) have organized a breakfast on November 13, 2015!


THANK YOU GVSU FACULTY – PLEASE JOIN US FOR BREAKFAST!

We know how much work it takes to develop and teach quality online/hybrid courses and we appreciate the work of the faculty here at GVSU. Join us and allow us to treat you to a light breakfast in honor of National Distance Learning Week!

WHEN: Please stop by anytime between 8:30am – 10am on Friday November 13, 2015

WHERE: 119E DEV

WHY: For an informal meet, greet, and eat. This event is by the staff of IDeL (Instructional Design for eLearning) and the Pew Faculty Teaching & Learning Center.

RSVP: Please RSVP!


Grand Valley State University offers a wide array of courses and degree programs in the online and hybrid format with over 150 courses and just over 3,500 total student enrollments in distance education courses as of the Fall semester 2015. This represents a 91% increase in enrollment since 2011 with 12% of students at GVSU taking at least 1 online/hybrid course.  Online and hybrid learning is an important flexible learning option at the university.  In addition, over 500 faculty have been certified to teach online/hybrid courses through the Foundations course that is offered through IDeL and the FTLC.

According to the most recent report and 2014 Survey of Online Learning, Grade Level: Tracking Online Education in the United States, there are more than 7.1 million higher ed students learning online with 33% of all higher ed students taking at least 1 online course.  In addition, 70.8% chief academic leaders are now reporting that online learning is critical to their long-term strategy for their institutions, which is an all time high.  This connects to GVSU’s 2021 Strategic Plan as well in the following areas:

Strategic Priority 3: Ensure the alignment of institutional structures and functions.

Institutional outcome D: Grand Valley supports innovative teaching, learning, integrative scholarly and creative activity, and the use of new technologies.

Objective 3.D.2: At least 30% of undergraduate courses are offered in innovative approaches and formats, such as hybrid, online and competency-oriented. Baseline for undergraduate courses for Fall 2014 is 6%.

Objective 3.D.3: At least 30% of graduate courses are offered in innovative approaches and such as hybrid, online and competency-oriented. Baseline for graduate courses for Fall 2014 is 25%.

If you are interested in learning more, check out the eLearning and Emerging Technologies and IDeL websites along with the online/hybrid education faculty resources site at GVSU.

#EDU15 – Technology Showcase featured in EDUCAUSE Session

The Atomic Object Technology Showcase at Grand Valley State University was recently highlighted in a preconference seminar for the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference on October 27.  The session title was: Working with Emerging Technologies to Promote Engaging Learning. This session featured a panel of 12 presenters from 8 colleges and universities including: University of Oregon, Pennsylvania State University, Berry College, University of Miami, University of Central Florida, Glendale Community College, California State University, and Grand Valley State University.

Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies, talked about GVSU’s radically student-centered Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons and the value it provides for students and faculty to bring about opportunities to experience emerging technology through the Technology Showcase!

Here are the slides from the session:

PBS provides video content for courses at GVSU

In a special session organized by Kim Kenward, instructional designer in IDeL, faculty and staff at GVSU learned about a new resources available via a special partnership with PBS.  Faculty and students can access thousands of FREE, standards-aligned digital resources that can be used for classroom and online courses.

With 100k+ digital resources from a variety of subjects, faculty can integrate the content into their curriculum to help their students make connections to a variety of topics.  Developed in partnership with the WGBH Educational Foundation and supported by public media stations nationwide, PBS LearningMedia offers multiple service levels to millions of educators and students.

In July, Rosemary Cleveland, GVSU COE proferssor and graduate teacher certification students were filmed by WGVU regarding their training and use of PBS Learning Media.  This video is currently on the WGVU Home Page and is airing multiple times on WGVU HD from now until October 30.

Background information about PBS Learning Media can be found at:

Learn more about PBS LearningMedia and create your account by visiting: http://pbslearningmedia.org  You can also follow PBS LearningMedia on Twitter and Facebook.

Campus Technology Magazine awards applications in use at GVSU

Several applications in use at Grand Valley State University​ were recently recognized in a Campus Technology​ Readers’ Choice Award.  These solutions provide a wide array of capabilities that enhance teaching and learning and they include:  Blackboard Inc.​, TechSmith​, and Rave Wireless​.

  • Blackboard #1 in LMS
  • Blackboard #1 in ePortfolios
  • Blackboard Collaborate #2 in Virtual Classroom
  • TechSmith Camtasia #1 in eLearning Authoring
  • Rave Wireless #3 in Emergency Communications

If you are interested in learning more about how you can take advantage of these tools in teaching and learning at GVSU, please let us know!

Read more about the Campus Technology Readers’ Choice Awards

Design and Organization Tips from GVSU’s Blackboard Exemplary Course Award Winners!

The IDeL team held a special seminar session to highlight 2 faculty members that have been awarded the Blackboard Exemplary Course Award for their course design.  This session was also offered for the College of Education’s “Big Byte”.

Bb Exemplary Award LuncheonProfessors Machajewski and VanderMolen were highlighted in a special recognition luncheon at the national BbWorld conference in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2014.

The “Design & Organization Tips from GVSU’s Blackboard Exemplary Course Winners” session was delivered by Affiliate Instructor in the School of Computing and Information Systems, Szymon Machajewski and Julia VanderMolen, Assistant Professor in Allied Health.  These faculty received their award for their recognition of course quality in the design of their courses. The award in 2014 recognized 67 other winners from 43 institutions from around the world.

Key design tips:

  • Clear communication with students of what is happening now and what is coming up and when things are do.
  • Chunking content within items and folders and replicating certain blocks of content can help students keep track of the most important information.
  • Numbering sequences are also helpful in the content (1, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc.) to match the sections in the gradebook.
  • Links within the course to help documents for students provide timely assistance.  For example, linking to the student help area on help.blackboard.com to provide information about how to submit their assignment.
  • Quick links in the navigation panel such as “Send Email” is helpful because it is easy then for students to contact the instructor with the subject of the email indicating the section that the student is enrolled in.
  • In the gradebook changing the total to “Projected Grade” helps student to understand where they are in the course at any given time.  A “Final Grade” column is set up to show students their non-cumulative grade to help them get a better view of their progress.
  • Using colors in the gradebook provides quick and at-a-glance views of the students that may not be performing as desired.  Using a magenta color for flagging cells of higher than 100% provides the instructor with a quick way to check their work for accuracy in grading. That is, to catch errors in input.
  • Providing multiple file formats to support universal design and access to content helps students with their ability to review the content from whatever computer or mobile device they are using.
  • Learning styles may be now “lifestyles”
  • Szymon uses achievements and openbadges for students so they can export these to Mozilla Backpack. Here are some videos about using badges through openbadges.  Badges can be linked to outcomes and provide an element of incentive for students (think gamification) and then also take these achievements with them after they graduate in their Mozilla Backpack.
  • Julia uses screencast-o-matic (like Techsmith Relay) for weekly introductory videos which are part of weekly modules. Each week has a task and agenda.  There are 3 opportunities to see and hear what is due in the week.  In the course syllabus, there are also reminders of what is due and when.  There is a check list of what tasks need to be done.
  • Each week there are learning outcomes that are clearly identified to students which helps them zero in on what is due and where to focus.
  • Using Blackboard IM and Collaborate tutorials are provided to students to help them connect to live sessions.
  • Julia embeds the Google calendar in Blackboard so students can easily add the event to their calendar because all students at GVSU have access to Google.
  • Consistency is key with same font and good colors.
  • Due dates are also important to use because it helps students organize and prioritize their work across multiple classes.
  • Using the discussion board helps to build community through a “getting to know you” opportunity.

Here are a few photos from the session:

Interested in learning more? Check out the resources on the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program website.

Online & Hybrid Teaching Circles – Encourage Collaborative #EdTech Conversations

eLearning and Emerging Technologies through the work of IDeL (Instructional Design for eLearning) and in partnership with the Pew Faculty Teaching & Learning Center have a unique opportunity for faculty at GVSU.  The “Online and Hybrid Teaching Circles” are designed for faculty to meet and to collaborate together to enhance online and hybrid teaching and learning.

Kim Kenward, instructional designer in IDeL, helps to coordinate and lead these circles. This is the second year that a teaching circle dedicated to online and hybrid instruction has been offered at GVSU.

IDeL Instructional Designer, Kim Kenward, facilitating the Online & Hybrid Teaching Circle on Thursday, October 1st, 2015.

The “Online and Hybrid Teaching Circle” meets once a month for 90 minutes during the Fall semester to:

  • Support new and experienced online/hybrid faculty through dialogue
  • Explore best practices associated with online/hybrid teaching and learning
  • Identify emerging technological needs to support online teaching and learning
  • Share collective expertise across disciplines

It’s not about the technology… it’s about the when and the why around leveraging #EdTech to promote student engagement, enhance the quality of instruction, explore a variety assessments and feedback strategies, and finally to improve student success.

Last year, the following topics were discussed by the teaching circles:

  • Student engagement/building community/student accountability
  • Course delivery, organization, design, and pacing
  • Instructor presence and student feedback
  • Rigor and responsibilities for online students and preparing students to be online student
  • Digital media (new tools, advanced video with Ensemble, SWIVL, and video streaming databases)
  • Online discussion and alternatives to the discussion board
  • Peer feedback  and student collaboration

This year, there are 3 Teaching Circles meeting at CHS, DeVos, and the Allendale campuses.

If you are teaching online at GVSU, we invite you to join in on a conversation
about enhancing online and hybrid courses at the university!