Author: ekunnen

Eric has a passion for, works to lead, support, and coordinate effective uses of technology in teaching and learning. He is an Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Allendale, Michigan. His primary role focuses on collaborating and supporting distance learning initiatives at the university while exploring future trends in emerging technologies in teaching and learning. He also collaborates to research and support academic technologies used in the classroom and in eLearning. Previously, Eric was the Emerging Technologies Coordinator at GVSU and a Director of Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Eric has a background in teaching Computer Science and Biology at the secondary level and a Master of Arts in Education with an emphasis in Educational Technology. I'm on mission to advance teaching and learning through the integration of emerging and innovative instructional technologies... More http://about.me/ekunnen

Blackboard Ally supports Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Education at GVSU

GVSU’s use of Blackboard Ally supports diversity, equity, and inclusive education.

Recently the GV Forum featured a highlight of Ally as the university works to increase the accessibility of course content in Blackboard.

 

Here is the article as highlighted by GV Forum:

Blackboard Ally supports inclusive education

More than 218,000 digital content items from more than 3,700 courses have been scanned by Blackboard Ally since the software was made available in June to students, faculty and staff members.

Blackboard Ally scans files uploaded into courses and evaluates the level of accessibility of content by displaying colored “dials” (red, yellow and green). These indicators provide awareness and insight and are only visible to instructors. The goal is to work to improve the accessibility of the files to turn the dials to green, which provides benefits for the learning needs of all students.

Eric Kunnen, associate director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies, said more accessible content means students have more usable, readable learning materials as well as high-quality alternative formats of content that work better on mobile devices.

“After Ally automatically scans course content, an indicator is displayed that estimates the level of accessibility of the file and a score is provided,” Kunnen said. “The system then provides on screen guidance to help make the file more accessible.”

So far, more than 464 files have been fixed by 138 faculty members in 146 courses.

Kunnen said Ally supports student success through universal design for learning principles and by building capacity to respond to increased federal and legal requirements for accessibility.

“Ally not only provides benefits to students with disabilities, but it also supports the university’s work in recognizing the importance of accessibility as part of our pathway to inclusive education whereby we support the diverse physical and cognitive needs of all of our students,” he said.

The eLearning and Emerging Technologies team offers support to faculty members using Blackboard Ally and has created a webpage with more information, gvsu.edu/elearn/help/ally.


Learn more about how you can use Blackboard Ally to support diversity, equity, and inclusive education at Grand Valley State University…

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EDUCAUSE research zeros in on Accessibility

Recently, the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research released a 2018 Students and Technology Report that zeros in on the need to improve awareness and support for accessibility issues in higher education.

Most noteworthy in this report is that students who have disabilities are often dissatisfied with their experiences at their institutions around general awareness of the importance of accessibility.

“The institutional provision of accessible web content and technologies is not then merely an issue of ethics or morality but one of legal liability.

Institutions that fail to properly accommodate the needs of their students may find themselves confronted with lawsuits, complaints, and settlements.

However, one of the major problems facing colleges and universities is that institutions may SIMPLY NOT BE AWARE of students’ needs.

EDUCAUSE 2018 Students and Technology Report on Accessibility

Blackboard Ally was adopted at GVSU to INCREASE AWARENESS of the importance of accessibility and ADA compliance, to BUILD the CAPACITY of faculty in creating accessible content, and to offer greater INSIGHT at the institutional level.

Looking more closely at the survey results, 58% of students with disabilities have responded that their institution’s awareness of their need for accessible technologies was “poor”. [See Chart Below]

Reviewing the data overall, EDUCAUSE suggests that IT accessibility is an issue for many college students with both physical and learning disabilities.

Also of note is that many students who have diagnosed disabilities do not reveal or register with the university’s disability support resources office for fear that they may be stigmatized or penalized.

To better support creating awareness and to provide better support to all students, EDUCAUSE recommends the following:

  • “Be a collaborative partner in testing and implementing assistive/accessible technologies and the principles of universal design for learning.”
    • At GVSU, the eLearning team works with the Disability Support Resources Office and supports the use of universal design for learning as well as the adoption of Blackboard Ally to encourage faculty to begin with accessibility in mind and to monitor the level of accessibility of their course content.
  • “Provide professional development to IT staff via accessibility workshops, conferences, and training; develop campus IT accessibility policies related to the development, procurement, and implementation of products…”
  • “Revise informational and course materials targeted to this population to emphasize accessibility, which focuses on inclusion and universal learning,11 to help destigmatize student learning barriers.”
  • “Offer training for faculty on implementing Web Content Accessibility Guidelines13 and other universal/inclusive instructional practices. Educate faculty on the inequitable impacts and potential legal implications that bans on in-class use of personal devices can have on students with disabilities.”
  • “And stop us if you’ve heard this one before:  STOP BANNING LAPTOPS.”

STOP BANNING LAPTOPS

“After a difficult freshman year, Lucas realizes he needs help. In high school he was diagnosed with a condition that affects his fine-motor skills, and he received therapy and accommodations that helped him succeed. When he started college, he decided not to register with the campus Office of Disability Services, but the demands of college proved challenging, and he struggled to keep up. Writing in longhand for extended periods is painful and results in illegible class notes.

Using his laptop works best for him, but half of his instructors last year didn’t allow laptops in class.

The Office of Disability Services requires proof of his condition that must be no more than three years old, so Lucas visits his doctor for an updated exam, earns money to cover the medical fees to fill out his accommodation forms (which aren’t covered by his insurance), and registers.

He receives an accommodation to use his laptop in class and notifies all his instructors before classes begin. On the first day of his Intro to Economics course, the professor reviews the course policies, which include a ban on personal tech devices in class.

As the student next to him packs her laptop away, she says,

“Didn’t you hear her? We can’t use our computers in class.”

Even though he has an accommodation, Lucas doesn’t want to talk about his disability with a stranger. He closes his laptop screen and takes out a pen and paper.”

EDUCAUSE 2018 Students and Technology Report on Accessibility


Further, since 2014, the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative has surveyed the teaching and learning community to uncover the top themes and challenges facing higher education. Accessibility and universal design has been in the top 10 as a key strategic issue in higher education, and in fact, last year was ranked as #2. This area of concern continues to bubble up and with it challenges such as:  faculty buy in, funding, time for training, expertise, and dedicated staff become areas of focus.

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative 2018 Key Issues in Teaching and LearningAccessibility and UDL continue to be important key issues and the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team supports these initiatives through faculty professional development and shared resources along with collaborative services with the Disability Support Resources department.

Blackboard Ally was adopted and put into production at GVSU in the summer of 2018 to: generate awareness, build capacity, and increase institutional oversight of accessibility.

In addition, Panopto was implemented to provide video caption capability for faculty who are using instructional video content in their teaching.

Both Ally and Panopto support the principles of inclusive education through accessibility and UDL.

Technology and Teaching Naked Techniques

teachingnakedtech.jpgThis post highlights a variety of tips from the book entitled: “Teaching Naked Techniques: A Practical Guide to Designing Better Classes” by José Antonio Bowen and C. Edward Watson.

“A fitness coach understands the human body and the individual subject, but also the equipment in the gym.

Technology is bringing new tools and new competition to higher education, but it is also changing the base rules about how we operate as human beings.”

  • Technology is a tool of which, the goal is to increase learning
  • The focus should not be on the delivery of content, rather, how can we best increase faculty-student interaction, design and sequence enhanced learning experiences, elevate students to the application/analysis/synthesis of information, and increase the motivation of students.
  • Technology makes course design and pedagogy more important
  • The role of technology is to create more time and generate more valuable opportunities for face-to-face
  • Faculty can leverage social media to connect ideas outside of the classroom

“In fact, if you don’t ever contact students outside class, you are reinforcing the idea that the information in your class is not relevant to the ‘real world’.”

First Exposure

  • TIP:  Make learning goals transparent to students and create rubrics improve visibility and give students a target and checklists help students stay on track.
  • TIP:  Use online content such as creating your own video content (Panopto/Lightboard) and be sure to use closed captions, and take advantage of open educational resources, for first student exposure

arrow-2207748_960_720.pngLearn more about using Panopto and the lightboard to create engaging and motivating instructional video content in your teaching at GVSU.

Entry Point

So… where do YOU begin? Where do your STUDENTS begin?

  • Students start at “why do I care and why does this matter”?  Good teaching always starts with what matters to students… and ends with what matters to you.

  • Don’t ignore, rather, place your focus on the entry point of instruction
  • Discover what your students care about, what they are motivated by, and what they already know
  • Use opportunities to engage students with content and why it matters to students

Pre-Class Online Quizzes, Discussions, and Learning Activities

  • TIP:  Use frequent pre-class quizzes, online exams, discussions and learning activities to improve student preparation for class – with feedback
  • TIP:  Use student performance on these quizzes as an opportunity to guide classroom time

arrow-2207748_960_720.pngLearn more about using Blackboard to create online quizzes, assignments, discussions, and learning activities at GVSU.

  • Benefits of low stakes testing: aids retrieval and retention, identifies gaps in knowledge, students learn more when they study, produces organization of learning, improves transfer of knowledge, improves metacognitive monitoring, provides feedback to instructors and students, encourages students to study.
  • Low stakes assessments are critically important for students and they are much less likely to encourage cheating

“Limit the length of lectures, break up class time into active learning activities, leverage class time for connection, community, and relationships…”

Give Students Prompt and Detailed Feedback

  • Be sure your learning goals are linked to your learning activities and finally outcomes assessment
  • Provide clear goals and use rubrics and give feedback

“Learn to use your online gradebook – enter grades directly into your LMS (Blackboard) and include feedback…”

arrow-2207748_960_720.pngLearn more about using Blackboard’s grade center at GVSU to provide feedback to students.

  • Best practices in providing feedback include: frequent, immediate, discriminating (specific), and loving.

Use eCommunication Technologies to Connect with Students

  • Use a variety of electronic communication technologies to reach students
  • Increase your social presence
  • Add a social media presence to connect with students outside of class
  • Use your LMS and email to provide a supportive presence to students

Ensure Student Success with Retention and Intervention

Technologies are proving successful at increasing the quality of instruction and improving student success rates across a number of metrics.

  • Learning and analytics tools embedded in the LMS (Blackboard) reveal predictive patterns and provide intervention opportunities for students at risk

arrow-2207748_960_720.pngLearn more about Blackboard’s Retention Center and Performance Dashboard at GVSU as learning analytics tools to monitor students and intervene with students “at risk”.

S-W-E-E-T

  • Encourage students to use SWEET:
    • S – Students need Sleep
    • W – Students need to drink Water
    • E – Students need to Eat well
    • E – Students need Exercise
    • T – Students need to manage their Time

Remember: “A single professor can make a massive difference in a student’s life.”

  • Significant student impact can be found with a professor who: 1) CARES about the student as a person, 2) MAKES students excited about learning, and 3) ENCOURAGES  students to pursue their dreams.

How about you?

What techniques do you find as beneficial to aid in student learning and success?

Teaching Naked with Technology

teachingnakedThe following post, highlights key points from the book: “Teaching Naked – How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning

  • The future of higher education is deeply intertwined with new technologies.
  • If we want campus education to survive, then we need to focus on enhancing the experience of direct physical interaction in higher education – and make it worth the extra money it will always cost to deliver.
  • The value of bricks-and-mortar will remain in its face-to-face (i.e. naked) interaction between faculty and students.

“Student engagement and faculty student interaction matter most in student learning…” – Alexander Astin

  • This book proposes that technology should be used outside of class in order to increase the “naked interaction” (aka face-to-face) with students inside the classroom.
  • The new classroom is a flat screen. The challenge for universities is to take advantage of the new possibilities that e-learning provides to improve and prove learning across the curriculum.
  • With 79% of students commuting, creating a campus community is more difficult.
  • Social networking is a tool to create communities, connect with students, integrate ideas, apply knowledge, influence student culture, and improve student learning.
  • Teaching is about making connections, and the first thing we need to do is to connect with our students.
“If you don’t use technology as a faculty member, you lose credibility with students – as you are unfamiliar with modern life.”

TEACHING TIPS

1 – eCommunication

  • Use e-communication and all of it’s flavors, from text messages to tweets, and  asynchronous to synchronous.  From short bursts to sustained live connections.  Building a classroom community for engaging outside of the classroom for more frequent re-engaging with course materials and concepts.

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Learn more about using Blackboard discussion boards, email, announcements, and live connections via Collaborate Ultra at GVSU.

2 – Use Panopto or Podcast Lectures

  • Use Panopto to record lectures and consider using podcasting. Why? Because you can take the time to explain (you may not have time in class to go over examples) and provide focus using audio over a diagram to help students hone in. Students can rewind/re-listen or speed forward. Links to additional resources increase richness. Move content delivery out of class time can give more time to maximize the naked class-time for interaction, integration, and deep processing, and finally student interactions and commenting on video lectures can enhance community and collaboration.

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Learn more about using Panopto and the lightboard to create engaging and motivating instructional video content at GVSU.

3 – Learning Modules and Pre-class Quizzes

  • A well-designed learning module or folder in Blackboard provides students with a sequence of activities. Beginning with the learning objective, launching into a presentation of content, and providing practice to review are elements of design. A Blackboard quiz before class can be helpful in learning, while also using rubrics for assessment and assignment learning ensures students are clear as to the expectations.

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Learn more about using Blackboard and interactive interactive grading rubrics at GVSU.

4 – Lectures, Active Learning and Student Engagement

  • Lectures are good for showing students the right entry point into the content (the what and why we want them to learn).  To motivate students, it’s ideal if they can witness passion, see connections to the “why” of new ideas, and be inspired.  Lectures can help students make connections. Allow significant time for student reflection even if silence is awkward.  Lectures should only be given when there is a pedagogical need.
  • Is lecture that best technique for the content for the class?  Faculty should ask themselves if their lecture can demonstrate that it will promote the learning outcomes. Lectures work best when students do not take notes because connection comes from attention.  The notes should really only be about a list of things to do.

Students learn by doing.

  • Restructuring in person classes with active learning exercises requires different preparation that a lecture using  PowerPoint.  The key to a good class is to make sure you really need people together in that place before you assemble with them – and have clear goals for your time together. (And if the goal can be better met with technology in/out of class.) Good discussions help students make connections with each other and the content.  The ability to use technology is an essential skill of the 21st century.

“The best education of the future will be hybrid in that there will be a balance of face-to-face interaction and online resources so that the precious F2F time is maximized.  Think about musicians who have a mix of recordings and live concerts.”

  • On student engagement – to improve learning we must force students into more substantive interaction with material outside of class.  (And we can take advantage of technology to help create more meaningful interactions – take online quizzes, organize notes, do assignments, play games, work together, create online learning communities, etc.)
Goal:  Use technology to motivate and challenge students outside of the classroom to provide new opportunities to increase learning.
  • We need to provide more content outside of class, but also more and better ways to engage with that content.  Asking students to read is not enough, we need them to engage and interact with the content. To process it.  To like, comment, subscribe, tag, discuss, vote, take note, bookmark, prioritize, quiz, make connections with the content.

What about you?

What are your strategies and techniques for active learning, best using classroom time, most effectively using technology?


This post originally appeared on #EdTech with Eric in 2015.

The Changing Landscape of Online Education Report meets eLearning at GVSU

chloe2report.jpg

Quality Matters and Eduventures has recently released a report with a variety of perspectives on the changing Thelandscape of online education.

The following charts are from “The Changing Landscape of Online Education (CHLOE)” report and connections to GVSU are highlighted in each section.

See also:

  • “eLearning Team Supports Online Learning Growth at GVSU” – In the Fall 2018 semester, student enrollment in online/hybrid courses has risen to 5,318 which represents a +15% growth, as overall enrollments fell by -1.5%.  17% of all students at GVSU are taking at least 1 online or hybrid course.

The LMS is King

In the following chart, the top 5 technologies have risen to the top as the most important to online learning.

#1 – Learning management system
Blackboard is the university’s enterprise LMS at GVSU.

#2 – Anti-plagiarism
SafeAssign is available in Blackboard at GVSU to assist faculty with plagiarism checking of student assignments.

#3 – Audio/video conferencing
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is GVSU’s enterprise instructional video conferencing system, available to all faculty and students.

#4 – Lecture/video capture and management
Panopto is GVSU’s enterprise video management solution.

#5 – Online assessment and proctoring
Tools like Respondus LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor are increasing in use in higher ed.

lmsisking.jpg

Learning Analytics is the Next Big Bet

In the following chart, the top 5 emerging technologies have risen to the top as the most important to online learning.

#1 – Adaptive learning
Technologies such as SmartSparrow and Realizeit provide unique learning experiences that are individual and personalized.

#2 – Learning analytics
A growing field of connecting “big data” to actionable efforts, tools like Blackboard Predict bring intelligence to identifying and intervening with students “at risk”.

#3 – Student support dashboards
Focusing on the needs of online learners is key to supporting their retention and success.

#4 – Simulations/game-based
Providing game-based learning experiences and simulations enable active learning in distance education courses.

#5 – Virtual/augmented reality
New immersive technologies such as virtual and augmented reality provide opportunities to engage with content. The Atomic Object Technology Showcase at GVSU allows faculty and students to explore innovative technologies such as AR, VR, 3D printing, and more!

learninganalyticsisnext.jpg

Asynchronous Discussions Today; Simulations Tomorrow

In the following chart, the top 5 pedagogical techniques are highlighted.

#1 – Asynchronous discussions
#2 – Group projects/activities
#3 – Problem-based learning
#4 – Quizzes
#5 – Research projects

At GVSU, the use of open educational resources (OER) is growing.  In fact, there has been an estimated savings of $480,000+ from the adoption of OpenStax textbooks.  Badging and micro-credentials continues to be offered to faculty for professional development, along with a growing use of badges for credit and non-credit.

asyncdiscussions.jpg

Online Learning is Growing

  • Fully online undergraduate students as a percent of total enrollment = 12.5%
  • Fully online graduate students as a percent of total enrollment = 27.5%

onlinegrowth.jpg

Instructional Designers Help Build Better Courses

At GVSU, the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team of instructional designers make up the IDeL group. Their mission is to “to develop confident and competent faculty, prepared to teach in blended and fully online learning environments, who are able to integrate technology in a way that is learner-centered and pedagogically sound.”

Based on the CHLOE report, instructional designers encourage faculty to include more:

  • student-to-student interaction in the course design
  • consistent use of online tools

IDinteraction.jpg

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Learn more about “The Changing Landscape of Online Education (CHLOE)

A Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology via Inside Higher Ed meets eLearning at GVSU

Inside Higher Ed recently released a report based on a survey of faculty attitudes on technology.

facultyattitudes

Here are a few noteworthy highlights:

  • 75% of faculty support increased use of educational technologies
  • More than two-thirds (70%) support increased use of open  educational resources (OER).
  • 25% of professors said they had worked with an instructional designer on online or blended course, and 45% said they had received professional development about course design
  • Instructors who had taught online were likelier than their peers (44% versus 9%) to say they had worked with a designer.
    • The eLearning and Emerging Technologies team at GVSU provides faculty with instructional design through the IDeL team.
  • Challenges to online effectiveness include: concerns for “at risk” students learning online, maintaining academic integrity, and engaging students in rigor.

…professors who have taught online view online more favorably

  • 44% of college faculty members having taught at least 1 online course
    • At GVSU, 288 faculty are teaching online or hybrid courses per year.

numberoffacultyteachingonline.jpg

  • 75% of instructors who’ve taught online said doing so helped “develop pedagogical skills and practices that have improved” their teaching:
    • Think more critically about ways to engage students with content (68%)
    • Make better use of multimedia content such as video and audio (65%)
    • Use LMS better (61%)
    • Experiment more and make changes to try to improve their students’ learning  experiences (60%)
  • Accessibility
    • 2 of 3 professors say their institution offers training in making course materials compliant with ADA

 


Learn more about the Inside Higher Ed “A Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology

Students Benefit from Emerging Technology in the Showcase at GVSU

Recently, an article entitled: “Students Benefit from Exposure to Emerging Tech” in EdTEch magazine featured a report by the EDUCAUSE Center for Analytics and Research.

In this report, benefits were demonstrated for students who have access to emerging technology for experimentation, encouraging interdisciplinary work, and to remove barriers of access to improve digital fluency.

“Increasing student access to 3D technologies … encourages student experimentation, provokes innovative interdisciplinary applications of these technologies and may support larger institutional XR goals and initiatives,” the report states. “Limited or no access to these expensive emerging technologies, especially based on student major, may exacerbate existing or produce patterns of digital exclusion among students at U.S. institutions.” – EdTech Magazine “Students Benefit from Exposure to Emerging Tech

Most noteworthy is that less than 4% of students have access to virtual reality and 3D printing. Further, the report encourages “…universities to invest in emerging tools for public spaces like libraries, makerspaces, computer labs or active-learning facilities.”

This is precisely where the Atomic Object Technology Showcase comes in at GVSU. Located in the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons, the showcase  provides faculty, staff, and students with an immersive and engaging environment to: interactdiscoverlearn, and share how innovative emerging technologies can enhance teaching and improve student learning at GVSU.

Since August of 2015, the showcase at GVSU has exhibited over 40 different technologies, supported over 700 3D printing submissions, used 11 miles of 3D filament, and has had over 65,000 visitors.

The showcase highlights a variety of technologies including:  wearable computing, augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D printing, and smart speakers, to name a few. Further, the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team is beginning to engaged with faculty around supporting the use of 360 degree video and virtual reality applications. In fact, Hunter Bridwell, digital media developer, has supported students (ART 394 – Interactive Studio) and faculty (Biomedical Sciences) in their use of the Microsoft HoloLens for teaching and learning, including a unique augmented reality vision loss application for medical education.

Learn more about the showcase at GVSU!