Call for Proposals – ETOM Fall Conference hosted by GVSU


Call for Proposals

The Call for Proposals is now available for the ETOM 2019 Fall Conference! 

Held every year in the Fall, this event focuses on best practices in using technology to enhance teaching and learning.

    Grand Valley State University
    Russel H. Kirkhof Center
    1 Campus Drive, Allendale, Michigan 49401
  • WHEN
    Friday, November 8, 2019

“Active Teaching – Active Learning!” is the conference theme and the event will focus on strategies to make the teaching/learning process more dynamic and interactive – from furniture and room configuration to synchronous and online strategies.

Sessions will address ways to promote active learning in both an online format as well as within the campus classroom.

You are invited to share your active teaching and learning strategies by submitting a proposal to present. Conference breakout sessions are 60 minutes (including time for questions).

To submit a proposal, go to the ETOM conference page at:

The deadline for proposals is September 13, 2019.

Also be sure to follow ETOM on social media (@ETOMConnect) for the latest updates!


GVSU attends ETOM Summer Retreat & connects eLearning to Online Learning Accreditation


Recently, on June 10 and 11, Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies attended the Educational Technology Organization of Michigan (ETOM) Summer Retreat. This event was held at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Michigan.

Bringing together distance learning administrators, staff, faculty, and instructional designers, this retreat focused on online learning as it meets the Higher Learning Commission accreditation from the view of 2 reviewers, Dr. Karen Solomon, Vice President for Accreditation Relations of the Higher Learning Commission and Dr. Marius Boboc, Professor of Education and Vice Provost for Academic Planning at Cleveland State University. Dr. Solomon and Dr. Boboc presented HLC/C-RAC distance learning guidelines and what reviewers look for from an evidence perspective.

The ETOM Summer Retreat is always a great opportunity to meet with other institutions around the topic of distance education, compare notes around the campfire and share best practices.

IMG_3001[Photo by Carl Weckerle, Director, Instructional Technology & Online Learning, Macomb Community College]

This year, Eric was elected ETOM President of the Executive Board with the passing of the ETOM hat and Kettunen Center “bell”.


Eric also captured some highlights on his #EdTech with Eric blog post entitled: “#ETOM19 – Evaluating Distance Education: Are you ready?”

Connected most directly to the work of the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team at GVSU are the following C-RAC Distance Education Guidelines:


See you next year for another amazing retreat!

Can’t wait that long?
Join us at the ETOM Fall Conference, hosted by GVSU on November 8, 2019!

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Conference Features Session on Inclusive Education through Accessibility

This year, the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Annual Meeting offered nearly 150 breakout sessions, featured keynotes, posters, and even an “extended reality” (virtual and augmented reality) experience lab.

Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies, from Grand Valley State University and Heidi Pettyjohn, Executive Director for Accessibility, from the University of Cincinnati presented a poster entitled: “Strategies to Establish Pathways for Inclusive Education”, focusing on the topics of inclusive education, accessibility, and universal design for learning (UDL).

Heidi Pettyjohn, Executive Director for Accessibility, University of Cincinnati and Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies, Grand Valley State University pictured, presenting a poster at the ELI Conference.

Heidi Pettyjohn (left), Executive Director for Accessibility, from the University of Cincinnati and Eric Kunnen (right), Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies, from Grand Valley State University present a poster at the ELI Annual Meeting

Notes from the following sessions are available on the #EdTech with Eric blog under the #ELI2019 tag:

  • #ELI2019 – EDUCAUSE Horizon Report
  • #ELI2019 – Improving Student Success Analytics with Multiple Data Sources
  • #ELI2019 – Presentation Pair: Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning
  • #ELI2019 – Use Them or Lose Them: Digital Devices for Student Engagement
  • #ELI2019 – App Smackdown! A Battle Royal of Education Technology
  • #ELI2019 – Poster Sessions
  • #ELI2019 – Demonstrations: Extended Reality in Higher Education
  • #ELI2019 – Presentation Pair: Learning Horizons
  • #ELI2019 – How Higher Ed Can Cultivate Students to Lead the Future We Want to Live In
  • #ELI2019 – On Innovation, Extended Reality, and Digital Transformation
  • #ELI2019 – Strategies to Establish Pathways for Inclusive Education

About ELI

The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) is a community of higher education institutions and organizations committed to advancing learning through information technology innovation. The ELI Annual Meeting provides an opportunity for those interested in learning principles and practices, all dimensions of student success, and innovation in post-secondary learning to explore, network, and share.

EDUCAUSE Highlights the Best Thinking in HigherEd IT

SherThis post is brought to you by Sherry Barricklow, eLearning and Instructional Technology Specialist.

The EDUCAUSE Annual Conference is one of the largest higher education technology events, bringing faculty, staff, instructional designers, technologists, and vendors together to share best practices.  This years themes included sessions in the following tracks:

  • Creating a Culture of Data-Informed Decision-Making
  • Evolving Infrastructure and Enterprise IT
  • Exploring Innovation in Teaching and Learning
  • Leading and Partnering Across the Institution
  • Managing and Reducing Information Technology Risk
  • Transforming the Student Experience

Here are a few of the sessions I attended:

  • Digital storytelling and Education Technology:  The State of the Art
    Bryan Alexander and Mark Corbett Wilson

    This session was excellent in reinforcing the concept of digital storytelling from both the instructor and student perspective.  Alexander was animated in describing the long-tern retention of details in any subject when the faculty member uses a storytelling multi-sensory format vs a lecture style.

    He also discussed the concept of enhanced learning for students to internalize the materials they were to learn about and distill them into digital storytelling. Along with content acquisition, students learned skills/abilities as they assembled their materials to tell the story.

    Fun link

  • Eavesdropping on America’s Conversation of Race
    Michele Norris
    Michele Norris discussed The Race Card Project and how six-word snapshots paint a vivid picture of America’s attitudes and experiences about race during a fascinating moment in American history. Michele has a project site with more information.
  • Open-Source Tools for Auditing and Inspecting Web Accessibility

    This session focused on a variety of tools that can be used to check for accessibility.

    Open-Source Tools and Session Slides

  • Talking to Our Colleagues About Universal Design for Learning
    Tom Tobin
    Instead of ADA think Re-Framing UDL Focus on Mobile Learners.  Instead of talking about the students with exceptions, Talk about how it is a way to reach out to our students on their mobile devices.

    Most student students have a smartphone 93%

    “Aim for progress not perfection…”

  • Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast Transformation of Culture through IT
    Mojgan Amini, Laura Boehme, Todd Migliaccio, Jen Schwedler

    This session spent time polling the audience.  Here are some of my favorite responses and buzz phrases:

    Failure is also information.

    IT is the sticky-ness of the organization

    What percentage of strategic initiatives fail and what is failure and success?

    Check and double check for the Organizational technology Readiness

    If the administration does not have a willingness to invest in training is hard to convince Faculty and Staff that it is very important.

    Define the culture so you can move forward and get ideas out it a way that makes sense to the end users.

    Look at this as a business process > (not the shiny tools)

    Define what is success?  It is not 100% adoption.


  • Secret Decoder Ring
    Presented by Sarah Miller (U of Wisconsin-Madison) and Cody Connor (Purdue)
    Explore Faculty Roadblocks

    Examine How Faculty Communicate

    Identify Key Challenges in your Community

    Identify Strategies

    Share Institutional Examples

    Distillation of all the conversation:   Faculty must feel supported and that they can get help, when needed, to move forward in adopting technology.

    • What issues might be contributing to each situation?
      • Change is difficult and scary
      • Change takes times
      • Fear of failure and embarrassment
      • Not convinced that active learning will have desired outcomes
      • Belief students like traditional
      • Student evaluation process and the validity of use of active learning
      • Not have the technology support.  Not the active learning tools.

Humanizing Online Learning at the ETOM Fall Conference

On November 2, 2018, Matt Roberts, Vince St. Germain, Justin Melick, Hunter Bridwell, and Eric Kunnen from eLearning along with faculty member Kerry Mohney attended the ETOM Fall Conference. The conference brought together over 80 faculty, staff, instructional designers, and distance learning administrators to focus on enhancing online learning. In addition to the keynote, there were 3 breakout sessions with 15 presentations on topics such as: OER, using video in learning, badging in professional development, tips for effective online discussions, interactive and engaging learning, critical thinking, and crafting collaborative classrooms.

Humanizing Online Learning Experiences


The conference was kicked off by Michelle Pacansky-Brock who delivered a session entitled: “Humanizing Online Learning”.  Dr. Michelle Pacansky-Brock is a noted leader in higher education with expertise in online teaching, course design, and faculty development. Michelle’s work has helped online instructors across the nation and beyond understand how to craft relevant, humanized online learning experiences that support the diverse needs of college students.

Michelle is the author of Best Practices for Teaching with Emerging Technologies (2nd edition, Routledge), has received national recognition for her excellence in teaching, and has held various leadership roles with the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI).

Currently, Michelle is Faculty Mentor, Digital Innovation with the California Community College system. She coordinates professional development efforts related to emerging technologies in online teaching and learning for @ONE (Online Network of Educators) and the CCC Online Education Initiative. The California Community College system includes 114 colleges in 72 districts, serves 2.1 million students per year, and has roughly 60,000  faculty members. Learn more about Michelle at and connect with her on Twitter @brocansky.

  • When trying a new #edtech, tell students – so they lean in and become part of the feedback – that vulnerability is part of the core of meaningful human experience.
  • Brene Brown TED Talk – Dare to Lead

When teaching online, there can be a boundary in getting to know students and inviting them into the learning experience. When there is limited teaching presence, students can feel isolated. Students strive for a sense of connection, a safe place, an environment where relationships matter.

  • Clips Apple Video App – Clips help faculty record videos and easily share on Twitter and instagram posts. Denise Maduli-Williams, San Diego Miramar College, uses Clips to engage with students and to be very present, very in the moment…

You can’t get to empathy without vulnerability…

  • TIP: As a faculty member start a week with a video engagement technique, as a way to increase instructor presence.
  • Presentation Slides:


At the conference, the eLearning staff presented at the conference in 2 sessions:

Digital Badges for Faculty: A Primer


Matthew Roberts, Instructional Designer, and Eric Kunnen, Associate Director or eLearning and Emerging Technologies

GVSU In this session we will detail the history of Grand Valley State University’s Faculty Badges Initiative (, an effort to improve the recognition of faculty professional development. The discussion will include how GVSU came to develop a campus badging initiative, the considerations involved in establishing a badging curriculum, and the personnel and technical questions that need to be answered to create a functional badging process.



Promoting the creation of efficient and effective instructional media

IMG_1142 2

Justin Melick, Digital Media Developer, GVSU

GVSU This session will explore the ways in which Grand Valley State University has created a positive culture around the production of educational media by their faculty members. By providing faculty with the resources to create their own content GVSU has been able to expand the use of asynchronous media to help meet the needs of it’s students. Specifically, this session will cover how GVSU has promoted the creation of screencasts, more highly produced lightboard videos and other more complex educational resources as well as an overview of the training that is available to faculty members in regards to the various forms of media they could produce for their courses.



Session Notes by Vince St. Germain

Vince St. Germain, eLearning and Instructional Technology Specialist, captured the following notes from the conference:

Keynote: Humanizing Online Learning Experience

Dr. Michelle Pacansky-Brock

  • Relationships matter…face-to-face and online
  • Be vulnerable
  • Be present
  • Humanize your course and its contents
  • 96% of undergraduates own a smartphone
  • More 18-24 year olds have smartphones than computers
  • What if educators designed mobile environments that embraced phones as a learning tool?
  • Relevant Connections – deeper learning
  • Untethered Learning – learning woven into life
  • Multisensory learning – supports unique needs of all learners
  • Take learners from passive consumers to active creators of content
  • Storytelling builds empathy
  • Most importantly:
    • Be Human
    • Tell Stories
    • Reduce Disposable Assignments

Creating Accessible, Mobile Videos

Dr. Michelle Pacansky-Brock

Tips for creating mobile content:

  • Turn your phone. You want to record in landscape mode (rather than portrait mode) so your video fills the video/YouTube player.
  • Keep it short. The longer your video, the larger the file size. Uploading large files can be a problem if you are using a purely mobile workflow.  For videos longer than a few minutes, it is best to transfer them to your computer and then upload them to YouTube.
  • Light your face. That’s right, we won’t be able to see you if you are backlit. Be mindful of where your light source is before you record.
  • Look at the camera. I know it feels weird, but it feels even more weird to watch a video of a person who isn’t looking at you.
  • Find a quiet spot. Background noise can be especially problematic in mobile recordings. If you are recording somewhere noisy, do a quick recording test and play it back. Use a simple pair of earbuds with a built-in mic to improve your audio quality.

Critical Thinking in the Age of Google

Brad Stetson – Schoolcraft College

  • What is critical thinking?
  • Students can typically master the first three levels:
  • Remembering – Find or remember information
  • Understanding – Understanding and making sense out of information
  • Applying – Use information in a new way (but similar) situation
  • …but have difficulty with higher levels of learning
  • Creating – Use information to create something new
  • Evaluating – Critically examine info and make judgements
  • Analyzing – Take info apart and explore relationships
  • Build confidence in critical thinking through your course structure (decrease the discomfort level)
  • Critical Thinking in the Age of Google – continued

Problems to overcome:

  • Discomfort with higher level learning
  • Students – Google
    • Used semester-to-semester (increased exposure)
    • Available online answer resources (Chegg, CourseHero)
    • Publisher resources
  • Student-Student
    • Copying
    • Sharing feedback/correct answers (previous semesters)

What has worked:

  • Pooled questions (prevents student-student)
  • Randomizing questions semester to semester (curbs some Student-Google)
  • Allow audio and video answers
  • Pre-submission feedback (curbs discomfort)
  • Not everybody has to solve the same problem or get the same answer as long as the students are learning the appropriate concepts.

Surprising Impact of Synchronous Sessions in Nonsynchronous OL Classes

Deirdre Hennebury and Lynn Wietecha – Lawrence Technological University

  • The use of synchronous sessions in an online class can increase a student’s perception of faculty presence in the course and a greater sense of learning community.
  • Synchronous sessions can be both connecting and humanizing for students and faculty.
  • Tips for online synchronous sessions:
    • Break class into smaller groups and schedule multiple, shorter live sessions
    • Set expectations for participation in syllabus and make clear in course introduction
    • Make them required and relevant


GVSU eLearning team with Vince St. Germain, Matt Roberts, Justin Melick, Hunter Bridwell and Faculty Member, Kerry Mohney

Advancing Teaching and Learning in Traverse City

Thanks to a run of good luck with presentation proposals, I’ve had the privilege of attending the Traverse City Lilly Conference for several years now. Even though this time the winds blew harder and the first snowflakes of the season were in the air, Traverse City in October remains a great time to reflect on the art and science of teaching.

My presentation this year was titled “Alone at the Table Together: Hospitality, Community, and Online Education.” In this talk I tried to bring together some very different things. One part of the conversation was about the design choices we make in building online classes as well as the “big picture” pedagogical choices we make about designing our classes themselves. The other part of the conversation was about how we conceptualize what education and teaching really mean. I presented a way to think about teaching that focuses on the idea of hospitality and welcoming students into a shared exploration of the world. From this perspective, many decisions about how to design online courses actually end up communicating that students aren’t really welcome in our virtual educational spaces.

Several of the other sessions I attended focused on helping prepare faculty to do a better job teaching online. Staff from Wayne State University’s Office for Teaching and Learning led a session in which participants discussed how their institutions train faculty to teach hybrid and online classes. Before the session ended, the presenters gathered contact information to help continue the conversation beyond the conference. In a similar session, an instructional designer from Central Michigan University talked about the services his university offers to faculty through a cohort-based model of training faculty.

Founded in 1981 at Miami University, the Lilly Conferences have grown into a series of seven different conferences and events held annually across the world. Each conference offers faculty the opportunity to discuss issues of teaching and learning in a community environment. For more information, please see

Sherry Barricklow delivers Webinar for the Texas Blackboard Users Group

On Friday, September 28, 2018 at 10:00 am CT, Sherry Barricklow, elearning and instructional technology specialist, presented in a Texas Blackboard Users Group webinar. Her topic was: Using Blackboard to support and review faculty promotions


Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan has been using Blackboard to gather faculty advancement materials for over 10 years.   This process did take a while to catch on but is now appreciated by the candidates and their peer reviewers.  The Dean’s office is very pleased with the one stop location to review upwards of 40 candidates each semester.   This session will discuss the process from faculty application, how the faculty sites are designed, the review process and then on to the Deans office for final approval.

The session recording is posted on the T-BUG website.