Month: December 2015

National Education Technology Plan @ GVSU

nationaltechplanRecently, the 2016 Future Ready Learning: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education National Education Technology Plan was revealed by the Office of Educational Technology, United States Department of Education.

The purpose of this plan is to set a vision and a plan for how technology can enable learning from K12 to higher education. The goal is to create a call to action and to offer recommendations for teachers, administrators, and professionals.

Engaging and Empowering Learning Through Technology

This 106 page report is broken down into the following sections:

  • Section 1: Learning – Engaging and Empower Learning through Technology
  • Section 2: Teaching – Teaching with Technology
  • Section 3: Leadership – Creating a Culture and Conditions for Innovation and Change
  • Section 4: Assessment – Measuring for Learning
  • Section 5: Infrastructure – Enabling Access and Effective Use

The key recommendations in the NETP, and those that resonate with our work in eLearning and Emerging Technologies include the following:

Section 1: Learning

We need to work to be creative and to build/design instruction that includes resources that take advantage of the flexibility and power of technology.  Leveraging technology can open up great flexibility and access to learning beyond the classroom walls.  Universal design, personalized learning, adaptive learning, and the use of learning objects or open educational resources are valuable in this work.  Our Digital Studio and Instructional Designers in IDeL support this work.

In addition, GVSU’s Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons and Atomic Object Technology Showcase provides informal and serendipitous learning opportunities through unique spaces that include active learning classrooms like the Steelcase media:scape LearnLab.

Section 2: Teaching

Coming along side faculty and equipping them with skills to leverage technology in creating instruction and learning activities for students is another focus of the eLearning and Emerging Technologies group.  We offer many seminars and individual consultations facilitated by instructional designers, instructional technologies, and digital media experts.

In addition as the university works to extend online and hybrid learning opportunities through the 2021 strategic plan, our team works in collaboration with faculty to make best use of enterprise applications such as Blackboard and emerging online technologies to support teaching and learning through the Atomic Object Technology Showcase.

Section 3: Leadership

Clear strategic planning through the eLearning and Emerging Technologies vision and mission provides institutional commitment and alignment for the advancement of educational technologies along with online and hybrid courses through the GVSU 2021 strategic plan.

Accelerating the topic of educational technology is also important.  These  conversations and connections are facilitated through events such as the Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium, Teaching Circles facilitated by IDeL and supported by the FTLC provide opportunity to share best practices.

“Rather than viewing technology as an add-on component to support learning, leaders should take stock of current systems and processes across learning systems and identify those that can be augmented or replaced by existing technologies.”

Section 4: Assessment

Key to teaching and to learning is the aspect of assessment.  Learning analytics, formative and summative assessment strategies, dashboards, badges, goals, and enterprise surveys provide feedback about student learning.  Many of these capabilities can be executed through tools and capabilities in Blackboard, including the following: enterprise surveys, goals, badging, online assignments/assessments, journals, ePortfolios, and performance dashboards such as the Retention Center.

The eLearning and Emerging Technologies team, especially the IDeL group of instructional designers and the Digital Studio can assist and support faculty in the creation of effective learning activities such as: simulations, educational games, interactive video, and learning objects can engage students while gathering student performance against objectives.

Section 5: Infrastructure

“Only when learners have the tools necessary to complete these activities are they able to realize the potential of education technologies fully.”

In order to provide a foundation for student success, a reliable baseline of technology creates the backbone from which learning can occur through technologically infused activities.

GVSU’s technology enhanced classrooms, pervasive Wifi network, enterprise applications such as (Blackboard, Ensemble, TechSmith Relay, etc.) help to ensure all learners have access to the needed technologies that support the next generation of education.

The timing has never been better for using technology to enable and improve learning at all levels, in all places, and for people of all backgrounds. From the modernization of E-rate to the proliferation and adoption of openly licensed educational resources, the key pieces necessary to realize best the transformations made possible by technology in education are in place.

The eLearning and Emerging Technologies team is on mission to support the 2021 GVSU Strategic plan, along with the initiatives and recommendations set forth by the 2016 Future Ready Learning: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education National Education Technology Plan.

ECAR Study of Students and Technology @ GVSU

EDUCAUSE has recently released the 2015 “ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology” that provides insight into students and their use of technology in education.  This research has been ongoing since 2004 with 970,000 students from 161 institutions participating in this year’s survey.

This was the first year for GVSU to participate in this research study. In fact, there were 50,274 respondents from 11 countries and 43 states that participated in the 2015 ECAR survey.

The following is a summary of the key study areas with the resulting key findings:

  • Technology Experiences – More than ever, students are using technology and are generally positive in reporting their experiences. Technology has had a moderate influence in the students’ active involvement in classes.
  • Technology Ownership and the Campus Environment – More students than ever own devices that are web enabled.
  • Mobile Devices and Student Learning – While mobile devices carry a high level of interest, the use of these in education is low.
  • Technology Resources and Tools – There is evidence that technologies are not integrated for their full potential in education.
  • Analytics and Data Privacy – The majority of students see the institutional use of data as important in tracking their academic progress.
  • New Models for Education – MOOCs and competency-based education haven’t yet impacted undergraduates while:

“The majority of students say they learn best with a blend of online and face-to-face work.”

Here are a few highlights from the report, along with GVSU’s results that include benchmarks.


For comparison, at GVSU, the results included the following:


The follow graphs highlight the use of the Blackboard (LMS) and Collaboration Tools (eg. Blackboard Collaborate, etc.).

When students were surveyed as part of the ECAR study, 94% indicated that Blackboard was used in at least one of their courses with 54% reporting that all of their classes used an LMS.



When faculty at GVSU were asked in the ECAR study about their use of the LMS, they reported the following:


When faculty were asked how often they typically use Blackboard, they indicated the following:BbOftenUse

Over 81% of faculty surveyed in the ECAR study at GVSU indicated the Blackboard was a very useful tool to enhance their teaching.BbValue.jpg

Similarly, when faculty were asked if the LMS is a very useful tool to enhance student learning, more than 74% agreed.


Also asked in the study, was the use of online collaboration tools in courses.  Here are the results from the study:




In addition to the use of the LMS and online collaboration tools, the importance of mobile access to campus resources was highlighted in the report.  Most notable was the importance of checking grades, content, and accessing the LMS (eg. Blackboard).


Importance of using technology and expectations for use by students was another highlight.  The top 4 included: search tools, LMS use (eg. Blackboard), online collaboration tools, and the use of laptops during class.


Finally, students were asked if they have taken a completely online class in the past year, and if they have ever taken and online course before.  The results are revealed in the charts below:

Related to these data above, GVSU currently offers a wide array of courses and degree programs in the online and hybrid format.  There are approximately 150 courses and just over 3,500 total student enrollments in distance education courses as of the Fall semester 2015.  In fact, this represents a 91% increase in enrollment since 2011 with 12% of students at GVSU taking at least 1 online/hybrid course.  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. Finally, online and hybrid learning connects to GVSU’s 2021 Strategic Plan in objectives 3.D.2 and 3.D.3.

What are your thoughts about these results and the opportunities that are provided by leveraging technology in teaching and learning?

EDUCAUSE Top 10 IT Issues and eLearning @ GVSU

Each year, EDUCAUSE releases the “Top 10 IT Issues and Strategic Technologies” report that will be released in January 2016.

The top 10 IT issues of 2016 are:

Reviewing the issues list from EDUCAUSE, the following areas are key in our mission and vision in our eLearning and Emerging Technologies group at GVSU:

#2 – Optimizing Educational Technology

#3 – Student Success Technologies

#10 – E-Learning and Online Education

Specifically, our mission is squarely targeted in the aforementioned areas for supporting faculty and students in traditional instruction as well as advancing our work as a university in online and hybrid classes.

Our eLearning and Emerging Technologies Mission Statement:

“eLearning and Emerging Technologies 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 course management system (Blackboard), and the deployment of new innovative emerging technologies.”

Additionally, we are aligning our work to the GVSU 2021 Strategic Plan in the following areas:

Strategic Priority Area 1: Actively engage learners at all levels.

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

Objective 1.D.2: At least 20% of faculty members use state-of-the-art instructional methods and technologies in their teaching. Baseline: Education Center for Analysis and Research preliminary data is being collected for 2014-15, available June 2015.

Strategic Priority Area 2: Further develop exceptional personnel.

Institutional outcome E: Grand Valley strategically allocates its fiscal, human, and other institutional resources.

Objective 2.E.1: At least 75% of faculty and 75% of staff participate in professional development to expand, enhance or extend their competencies and capabilities within the context of the responsibilities of their positions. Baseline for faculty will be determined via Digital Measures in summer 2015. Baseline for Fall 2014 for staff is 50-55%.

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%.

Strategic Priority 4: Enhance the institution’s image and reputation.

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

Objective 4.D.1:Effective technologies are integrated into every function and structure across the institution. Baseline: In 2013, IT implementation was above the median on 24 of 49 indicators across 7 functional domains.

As we look into the future, we are excited by the potential and looking forward to supporting faculty in the delivery of the next generation of teaching and learning!

eLearning @GVSU Targets Assisting Faculty to Support Student Success

In a recent report by the Campus Computing Project, and highlighted by University Business in an article entitled: “Campus Computing Project takes pulse of higher ed IT” the following areas are being reported as campus IT priorities in the next 2 to 3 years:

Closer to home, #1 #3 #5 are what-we-do here in eLearning and Emerging Technologies @GVSU!  Our staff of instructional designers, technologists, digital media specialists, and system analysts are on mission to assist faculty in supporting student success, using technology as a lever.

Helping faculty adopt instructional technology is a top IT priority in higher ed.

Mentioned also in this report are:

  • OER – Open Education Resources
  • Adaptive Learning

Read the full article here

What do you think the top priorities for campus IT are? Should be?