3 Campus Technology Conference Highlights #CAMPUSTECH

The Campus Technology conference was held this year in Chicago. Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies, captured 9 blog posts from the conference on his blog. This post features a few highlights from the conference.


Pictured left to right: James Vliesides (Western Theological Seminary) Justin Melick (Digital Media Developer, eLearning), Eric Kunnen (Associate Director, eLearning), and Hunter Bridwell (Digital Media Developer, eLearning)

Highlight #1 – GVSU Professor, Andrew Topper, presented on Supporting Faculty in Distance Education

GVSU’s Andrew Topper, Associate Professor of Special Education, Foundations and Technology presented at the conference in the following session:

  • Supporting Online/Blended Learning – “Many institutions struggle to support faculty effectively as they migrate toward blended/online course formats. Andrew Topper will share experiences developing, implementing and evaluating a fully online graduate degree, and examine why traditional institutional support may not be effective for the successful transition to technology-based teaching environments. You will also learn effective practices for faculty development in support of hybrid/online courses.”

GVSU Professor Andrew Topper, Associate Professor of Special Education, Foundations, and Technology presents at the Campus Technology Conference

Highlight #2 – Inspiring Keynotes and Informative Sessions

Here are a few highlighted sessions:

  • Creative Leadership: A Human-Centered Approach to Building Technology Strategies – “Student and stakeholder engagement throughout the strategic development process is essential to creating technology that is relevant, effective and forward-looking. Taking a human-centered approach, the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism partnered with innovation and strategy firm MO Studio to redesign an annual Student Technology Survey. Initially designed as a tool to collect basic usage data, it is now being used as a platform to increase student engagement. By building student empathy, focusing on collaborative design and generating insight, the school is able to better understand how students learn and faculty teach and to use this understanding to drive better technology decisions. The team will share the story of the approach, outcomes and impact of this process on the school’s ongoing strategic effort to develop an innovative technology roadmap.”
  • Measuring Student Success: What #HigherEd can learn from @Fitbit – “What gets measured gets improved. We are tracking activity like never before using wearables to measure steps and sleep. This data leads to greater awareness, which, in turn, perpetuates positive changes in user behavior. What if we applied this same concept by measuring activity in the classroom? Research shows that the more a student is engaged in class, the better he or she does in the course. Hear how behavioral data from the classroom, like learning management system engagement during the first weeks of class, note-taking and reviewing recorded lectures, can offer real-time insights about student success and transform the teaching and learning experience.”
  • Adopting a Learning Object Initiative for Student Success – “The Digital Pathways initiative at Columbus State Community College enables faculty to create state-of-the-art digital content (learning objects) and to employ interactive delivery methods that enhance student engagement. As one of the largest community colleges in Ohio and a leader in distance learning, Columbus State has formed a collaboration with Apple that provides faculty, as curators of information, the tools and knowledge to enhance the overall teaching and learning process. You will hear the challenges involved in creating a college-wide initiative that will meet the needs of millennial learners and analyze examples of interactive learning objects used in courses to discover how they have impacted student learning”


  • Keynote: Privacy and Security in the Age of Algorithmic Spies – “Security experts often claim that people are the most unreliable part of their systems and that privacy is dead. Jennifer Golbeck, an expert in cybersecurity and human-centered technology design, asserts that the problem is not people behaving insecurely, but security systems that are designed with no concern for their users. She’ll discuss the risks organizations face when humans are not the center of their security plans, present simple changes that can make systems more secure and easier to use, and describe how we can educate people about simple steps they can take to regain control over their digital lives.”

Highlight #3 – Discovering the Future for #HigherEd and #EdTech

  • Keynote: The Decade ahead for #HigherEd – “Higher education is on the cusp of far-reaching changes over the next decade as technology plays a larger role, and as students, parents and educators ask what colleges should teach and how learning should be measured in an era of shifting needs in the economy. Drawing on research from his bestselling book, College (Un)Bound, and his follow-up report for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Jeffrey Selingo will discuss the attributes of a new era of higher education, demographic changes coming to campuses in the next decade, emerging learning pathways, and the roles of technology and the physical campus in the future directions of higher education.”


  • Current Trends for the Future of Educational Technology – “During this workshop based on his long-running Future Trends in Technology and Education report, Bryan Alexander will explore present trends to extrapolate the future of higher education technology. The workshop will present cutting-edge, longitudinally informed research and activities that encourage you to consider how policy, economics, demographics and educational technologies are shaping your institution, community and life. Alexander will also examine trends and developments including social media, mobile, blockchain, artificial intelligence, evolutions in learning management and more.”

Bryan Alexander – Bryan Alexander is an internationally known futurist, researcher, writer, speaker, consultant, and teacher, working in the field of how technology transforms education.

Read more blog posts from the 2017 Campus Technology Conference on Eric Kunnen’s blog.

Top 5 Blackboard Conference Highlights #BbWorld17

One of the best conferences of the year is the national Blackboard users conference “BbWorld“. This year, the event was held in New Orleans, LA.

In addition to the in person conference, there were also sessions streamed LIVE via “BbWorldLive“. Further, the conference was cohosted with “MoodleMoot” and was proceeded by the largest ever developers conference “DevCon“.


Pictured Left to Right: Eric Kunnen (associate director, eLearning), Colleen Cameron (systems analyst, eLearning), Szymon Machajewski (affiliate instructor, CIS), Vince St. Germain (eLearning and instructional technology specialist, eLearning)

Highlight #1 – GVSU Professors receive Blackboard Exemplary Course Award

Congratulations to Grand Valley State University’s professors Szymon Machajewski and Cheryl Kautz! These GVSU professors earned recognition from education technology company Blackboard Inc. as recipients of the “Exemplary Course Award” through the Blackboard Catalyst Award program. The winners were recognized during the a special reception at the conference.


Associate Director of eLearning, Eric Kunnen (middle) receiving Cheryl Kautz’s Exemplary Course Award with Tim Atkin, Chief Client Officer, Blackboard Inc., and Bill Ballhaus, CEO and President, Blackboard Inc. (right)


Szymon Machajewski, affiliate instructor in CIS, receiving his Exemplary Course Award from Tim Tomlinson, Chief Product Officer, Blackboard Inc.


Szymon Machajewski, Affiliate Instructor, in the School of Computing and Information Systems at GVSU received a 2017 Blackboard Exemplary Course Award for his CIS 150 – Introduction to Computing Course


Cheryl Kautz, Affiliate Instructor, in the School of Computing and Information Systems at GVSU received a 2017 Blackboard Exemplary Course Award for her CIS 238 – Internet Media and Programming Course.



Highlight #2 – Keynotes and General Sessions

There were a wide array of sessions offered at the conference. Eric Kunnen blogged at the conference, capturing 10 sessions. Here are a few noteworthy keynote sessions:


  • BbWorld General Session – Thursday’s general session started off with the Catalyst Awards winner presentation followed by Blackboard’s charitable giving program. Then, Dr. Mae Jemison, former NASA astronaut, engineer, physician & education advocate takes the stage to deliver an inspirational keynote address.
  • BbWorld Blackboard Opening Keynote – “Join us as we kick off BbWorld 2017 with Bill Ballhaus, Blackboard CEO and Katie Blot, Blackboard Chief Strategy Officer. Then, hear from lifelong education advocate, and former Second Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden.”


  • BbWorld General Session: How to Partner for Success – “Join us in the general session theater as two panels take the stage. You’ll first hear from clients about how they are overcoming challenges around student access and student success. This will be followed by a panel discussion on the intersection between technology, education and policy as we work to understand what the future holds.”


Highlight #3 – GVSU Staff Presentations

Eric Kunnen, and Szymon Machajewski presented at the conference in the following session:

  • DevCon: Managed Hosting, Does it work? Will I get access to my data? – “University of Illinois at Chicago adopted the managed hosting environment in 2012 and has been successful in important user support improvements and stability of operations. While employing GAs and undergraduate students in the support structure the resolution time for Blackboard tickets was reduced from two weeks to a few hours. Deep integrations have been created for event driven user synchronization. A number of OSCELOT projects are being sponsored and developed in a staging managed hosted system. The experience and collaboration with managed hosted team allowed for strong support of Blackboard Learn adoption on campus. The panel will include representative from Grand Valley State University, where initial deployment to Managed Hosting was later reversed to again become self-hosted.”

Szymon Machajewski presented at the conference in the following sessions:

  • Course Design Patterns: Latent Class Analysis with Opensource BbStats – “Fostering the adoption of teaching and learning technologies requires taking stock of how faculty use the LMS through a process that is reproducible, reliable, and affordable. Studies in student activity patterns, such as the recent Patterns in Blackboard Learn tool use: Five Course Design Archetypes, help us to understand evidence of use. But what about the ways that faculty design courses before any student activity takes place? This session will explore a case study at University of Illinois at Chicago in which course design patterns in Blackboard Learn were derrived using BbStats and Latent Class Analysis.”
  • Gamification in Blackboard Learn – “Gamification is an important movement in business management, but also in higher education.  Projects like the GradeCraft LMS, funded at $1.8 million dollars at U of M, demonstrate that designing student experience in learning is a top priority for major educational institutions.
    • Considering enrollment limitations and changes in population profiles, motivating students into program completion and into high employability STEM programs may provide a competitive edge for academic organizations.
    • Before switching to a fully gamified LMS, faculty, designers, and administrators should consider the capacity in Blackboard Learn  to support gameful pedagogy.  Gamification has the potential to motivate both the students and the faculty, especially in introductory courses.”


Highlight #4 – Product Roadmaps

In addition to keynotes and general sessions, there were a wide array of sessions offered at the conference. Eric Kunnen blogged at the conference, capturing 10 sessions.

Here are a couple product roadmap sessions from Blackboard, to showcase what is coming in future releases:

  • Blackboard Learn Product Roadmap – “We invite you to join our product management leaders to hear about the short and long term plans for Blackboard Learn. This session will cover both the Original experience (aka Learn 9.1) and the Ultra experience.”


  • Blackboard Collaborate Roadmap – “We invite you to join our product management leaders to hear about our short and long term product plans for Blackboard Collaborate.”


Highlight #5 – Watch BbWorldLIVE Session Recordings

There are 9 sessions available to watch on demand through BbWorldLIVE.

Here are a few of the topics:


eLearning visits e-Cornucopia.2017 – Teaching with Technology Conference

img_3668On Friday, June 23, Matt Roberts, instructional designer on the IDeL team along with Eric Kunnen, associate director of eLearning, visited Oakland University for their e-Cornucopia.2017 Teaching with Technology Conference.

Over 100 attendees participated at the conference with breakout sessions along with a keynote on “Gameful Learning” by Barry Fishman who is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Learning Technologies in the University of Michigan School of Information and School of Education.

During the event, Matt Roberts and Eric Kunnen tweeted highlights along with Eric Kunnen who captured some notes on his “#EdTech with Eric” blog.

Michigan Blackboard Users Connect to Share Best Practices

The miBUG (Michigan Blackboard Users Group) Spring Conference was held at the VisTaTech Center on the campus of Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan on Friday, March 24, 2017. More than 100 educators from 20+ institutions across Michigan and Canada attended this event to collaborate and share best practices in leveraging Blackboard in teaching and learning.

GVSU eLearning staff Justin Melick, Vince St. Germain, Sherry Barricklow and Eric Kunnen attended this year and picked up great ideas and networking with institutions around the state.


GVSU eLearning Team (Pictured Left to Right) Justin Melick, Vince St. Germain, Sherry Barricklow, and Eric Kunnen

Several of the highlights from this event included:

  • Blackboard Learn, Collaborate, Mobile Product Roadmaps
    • New Features Coming: OneDrive (DropBox already available) Integration, Bb Instructor App, Attendance Management, New Video Everywhere Solution, and more!
  • New Blackboard Ally Product Announcement
    • Providing institutional dashboards, on demand tips for faculty on accessibile documents, and realtime conversion of uploaded files into accessiable formats.
  • Creating Course Videos – Wayne State University
  • Tackling an Unruly Grade Center – Schoolcraft College
  • Fostering Creating Critical Thinkers in Online Discussion Boards – Madonna University
  • Collaborate Ultra: Features and Tips you can Use Now – Blackboard
  • Getting to Know the Bb Peer Assessment Tool – Wayne State University
  • Blackboard Testing and Development in a Multi-Tier Environment – Center Michigan University
  • and more!


Engage with Fellow Faculty at the 2017 miBUG Conference!

mibuglogoRegister TODAY for the 2017 miBUG Conference! 

The Michigan Blackboard Users Group conference will be held at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan on Friday, March 24, 2017.

Registration is FREE and includes breakfast and lunch.

Mark Burris, Blackboard Customer Service Advocate will be presenting a Blackboard Roadmap session in the morning, and your peers will be presenting during the concurrent sessions. Don’t miss it!

 As this is a users conference, please take a moment to submit a presentation proposal to share how you are leveraging Blackboard in teaching and learning!

Visit for more details.

ETOM conference highlights gaming, OER, badging, accessibility and more!


cw_v-xnxcaau9dcJustin Melick and Eric Kunnen from eLearning had the opportunity to attend the ETOM conference in Flint on Friday. This conference was held at Mott Community College and brought together over 100 educators from community colleges and universities across the state of Michigan.

There were 6 faculty and staff from GVSU that attended the conference.  Thank you to the FTLC for supporting the attendance of 4 faculty through a grant opportunity.  Julia VanderMolen, assistant professor in Allied Health presented a session on captioning.

Here are are few highlights from the conference, captured and posted on Eric’s EdTech Blog:

EDUCAUSE 2016 Highlights

cvnpwc8ukai_tueWith over 8,000 attendees, the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference is one of the premier events each year bringing together the best of technology, teaching, and learning.

This year, the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference was held in Anaheim, California at the convention center.  The event began with pre-conference sessions on Tuesday, October 25th, which was followed by 2 and 1/2 days of sessions.

The conference included nearly 300 exhibitors, keynotes by Susan Cain, best-selling author, speaker, and co-founder of Quiet Revolution and Sugatra Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University in England, and a large variety of breakout sessions that covered the following program tracks:

  • Driving Innovation in Teaching and Learning
  • Enabling the Data-Driven Decision-Making Environment
  • Innovating in IT Infrastructure and Cloud-Based IT Environments
  • Leading and Partnering Strategically across the Academy
  • Producing, Distributing, and Using Digital-based Knowledge
  • Reducing and Managing Risk in a Digital World
  • Transforming the Student Experience

Consolidating the breakout session titles into a tag cloud highlighted the following keywords: “learning, student, education, technology, service”


Here are several highlights from the conference:

“The most successful students are those who access MyGrades most frequently; students doing poorly do not access their grades. Students who never access their grades are more likely to fail than students who access them at least once.”


About the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference:

The EDUCAUSE Annual Conference is the premier convening of IT professionals and technology providers across the diverse higher education landscape. The conference creates networking opportunities for colleagues to share ideas regarding strategies, leading change, effective processes, what’s working, and sometimes—more importantly—what isn’t.

EDUCAUSE 2016 represents the best thinking in higher education IT.