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

Technology Showcase partners with @GVSU Art Gallery for an Immersive Experience


Artist Herbert Murrie’s daughter Karen used Google Tilt Brush to create this creative masterpiece using an HTC Vive for the grand opening of the GVSU Art Gallery’s “Ebb and Flow” exhibit!

In a unique partnership with the GVSU Art Gallery, the Atomic Object Technology Showcase provided a unique virtual reality experience at the opening reception which was held on January 15, from 5 – 7 PM. To celebrate the grand opening of “Ebb & Flow: Explorations in Painting” with art by artist Herbert Murrie, participants were able to create their own painting in a 3D virtual reality experience using Tilt Brush by Google.

Here are a few photos from the event. The video wall was generously provided by Pride Tech Solutions.


Learn more about this opening exhibit in the following Grand Valley Lanthorn article: “‘Ebb and Flow’ exhibit highlights artist’s creative journey, return to fine arts


Improve Student Success and Save Time with @Blackboard Rubrics

Rubrics are extremely valuable in helping to align faculty assignment expectations with student performance. In other words, rubrics help to communicate faculty expectations for an assignment and help make grading much more clear to students.

Blackboard provides a robust, effective, and easy to use rubric tool that is built-in. Once created, students can view the assignment criteria and faculty can quickly and efficiently, click-to-score their students’ assignments. Further, faculty can provide personal feedback for each student using the rubric tool.

To learn more about creating rubrics in Blackboard, head on over to the GVSU eLearning Help page.

Supporting Students with Blackboard Advisor Organization Sites

65e77138-ea28-fab9-7f607ba367045016At GVSU, both academic advisors and faculty student advisors are provided with Blackboard organization sites that support student success through a variety of communication and content capabilities.

Advisor sites are automated from Banner, providing ease of use for faculty and staff. Students enrollments are kept up to date so that the information is timely and is sent to those students in need.

Blackboard Collaborate is also valuable as it provides screen sharing and allows advisors to work with students remotely, providing just-in-time guidance.

The most popular organization sites include the following information:

  • Program Information / Helpful Documents
    • Degree and Curriculum Guides
    • Internship Information
    • Bachelor and Masters Materials
    • Graduate Certification
    • Graduation Requirements
  • Advisor Information
    • Faculty/Staff Bio
    • Office Hours
    • Link to Collaborate Ultra for Live Office Hours
  • Discussion Board
    • Posts with Questions and Answers from Students
      • Advisors can “subscribe” to posts to receive timely email questions from students. Further, with public posts, this forum provides a FAQ services.
  • Website Resources
    • Department/Division Web Site
    • GVSU Library Databases
    • GRE Information
    • Employment Opportunities

To learn more about using Blackboard for student advising, contact

Join an Online/Hybrid Faculty Learning Community

cqqdn0eu8aeermsWelcome back and Happy New Year!

If you are teaching an online or hybrid course this semester we would like to extend a personal invitation for you to considering joining our GVSU Online & Hybrid Teaching Faculty Learning Community.

The initial group began meeting in January 2015 and we now have three learning communities (one per campus) located at the Allendale, CHS or Pew campuses where we meet once a month for 90 minutes to:

  • Support new and experienced online/hybrid faculty through dialogue and samples
  • 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

Sponsored by IDeL (Instructional Design for eLearning) and the Pew Faculty Teaching & Learning Center, these learning communities provide a venue for faculty-led dialogue and to share collective expertise regarding online/hybrid instruction at GVSU.   During the winter semester we will be meeting at the following dates/locations:  

  • Wednesday(s) meeting at CHS
    1pm – 2:30pm 1/17 (CHS127), 2/14 (CHS209), 3/14 (CHS209), 4/18 (CHS209)
  • Thursday(s) Meeting on the Pew Campus
    9:30am – 11am  1/18, 2/15, 3/15, 4/19 (302E DEV)
  • Friday(s) Meeting in Allendale
    11:30am – 1pm 1/19, 2/16, 3/16, 4/20 (KHZ4402)

We will use our first meeting to introduce members, share technology updates, review discussion topics and assign various faculty to act as lead facilitators for subsequent meetings.  In addition to monthly meetings, a Blackboard organization has been set up to provide access to new resources/meeting agendas and minutes related to online & hybrid teaching.  If you’d like me to add you to this Bb organization so that you can be part of our email distributions (even if your schedule doesn’t allow for meeting attendance) we are happy to add you. 

Please contact Kim Kenward if you are interested in joining our Online/Hybrid Teaching Faculty Learning Community and best wishes with your winter semester preparations!

Kim Kenward, Instructional Designer
Grand Valley State University

kenwardk_150tThis eLearning post comes to you from Kim Kenward, Instructional Designer in IDeL. Kim holds a Masters in Information and Library Studies from the University of Michigan, and joined GVSU in 2000 as an instructional designer. In addition to her instructional designer duties, she is also responsible for facilitating university-wide and department specific faculty development workshops and coordinates the Online & Hybrid Teaching Faculty Learning Communities.  

Blackboard > Update to Inline Grading for Assignments

The Inline Grading view for Blackboard Assignments has been a convenient way to grade student submissions directly in the browser. Behind the scenes, that has used an online solution from a system called “Crocodoc” to display the submission within the browser. Unfortunately, acquired Crocodoc in 2013, and is now discontinuing the service as of January 15, 2018.

Fortunately, Blackboard has updated the inline grading service to leverage the New Box View API. It offers several improvements over Crocodoc, including improved rendering fidelity and expanded support for new file types. While there are a few differences between the two services, the new Box View will still provide a simple and convenient way to view and annotate on student Assignment submissions. In addition, existing student work in Crocodoc will be migrated to the new Box View, and will continue to be available.

comparison of crocodoc with new box view

New Features

The new Box View supports a wider variety of file types, including image, video, and audio files, which can be viewed or played in the browser, instead of downloading them. It also includes the ability to print student submissions from the browser.

Features Lost

Unfortunately, some features are not available in the New Box View, because Box has not included them in their API.

  • Annotation Types: Box View only includes point-based or highlighting-based comments. You cannot add drawing annotations or strike-through text, as you could in Crocodoc.
  • Download AnnotationsYou can download the student’s original file, but there is no way to download the file with the annotations included.

Blackboard has been working with Box to request that these features be added, and Box has been receptive to the feedback. You can view the suggestions and vote on their priority on the Blackboard Idea Exchange.

How Does the New Box View Work?

The New Box View is very similar to Crocodoc. To add a point-based comment, click on the text bubble in the toolbar.

click the text bubble in the toolbar and type your comment, then click post

To highlight text and add a comment, click and drag to select the text, then click either the highlight or comment icon.

select the text and then click the text bubble to add a comment

eLearning Help

To learn more about using the new Box view of inline grading, please visit the “New Box View Grading” tip sheet.

The content of this post was shared with permission from Northern Illinois University, Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center.

The Potential of Global Learning @GVSU

Online learning continues to expand at Grand Valley State University with over 170 instructors teaching in 174 different online/hybrid courses with a student enrollment of 4881 (3,870 headcount) in the Winter 2018 semester. This represents a +25.8% enrollment growth since last year. Additionally, roughly 17% of our students are taking at least 1 online/hybrid course.

To assist in preparing students, GVSU provides an “Are you Ready for Online Learning?” assessment for students interested in enrolling in online courses.

The survey offers an opportunity for potential or existing students to review their: 1) time management skills, 2) independent learning skills, 3) learning environment, 4) technology skills, and 5) computer requirements as to a variety of factors that can contribute to success in distance learning.

At the end of the survey, students are also asked to enter their current living location and zip code. The following maps indicate responses by students with an interest in online learning at GVSU.  Through online courses, the university has great potential to extend learning globally.


Top 7 Posts from 2017

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 2017, we would like to recognize and celebrate the work of faculty at GVSU in their work to advance education through the application of technology in teaching.

Here are the top 7 most viewed posts from the eLearning blog from this year:

1 – GVSU Blackboard Photo Roster Enhances Personalized Instruction

2 – Virtual Office Hours for Student Success with Blackboard Collaborate and Bb IM

3 – 7 Things You Didn’t Know that Blackboard Can Do!

4 – GVSU Professors receive Blackboard Catalyst Awards

5 – Faculty and Student Blackboard Survey Highlights

6 – Applying the Blackboard LMS to TPACK

7 – Help Students be Successful with these Gradebook Tips for Blackboard