eLearning

GVSU Alum visits the Showcase

We were grateful and thankful to have a recent visit by a GVSU alumna, Lily Snyder. A graduate of GVSU in 2010, Lily went on to receive project management and ScrumMaster certificates while pioneering the way in virtual reality through her experiences as COO for Doghead Simulations.

Lily is a writer and speaker and has provided keynote addresses at a variety of events, including the Cincinnati Tech Frontier Series, Seattle Startup Week, and IILeX Europe in Amsterdam.

Here is an excerpt from a recent post on Lily’s LinkedIn profile regarding her visit to the Atomic Object Technology Showcase at Grand Valley State University:

“Super stoked to have gotten a tour of the GVSU – Atomic Object TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE today. I met enthusiastic students and GV’s associate director of eLearning, Eric Kunnen along with Hunter Bridwell M.S., Digital Media Director. If you want to know how universities are implementing emerging technology like virtual reality, you should reach out to them. Grand Valley State University is my Alma Mater and I’m proud to see their continued dedication to their students, education, and technology.”
#digitialtransformation #education #virtualreality #augmentedreality
Showcase Behind the Scenes
Photo courtesy: Lily SnyderPictured left to right: Carson (student assistant), Lily Snyder, Hunter Bridwell, Eric Kunnen
Pictured left to right:
Carson (student assistant), Lily Snyder, Hunter Bridwell, and Eric Kunnen

GVSU hosts the ETOM 2019 “Active Teaching – Active Learning” Fall Conference

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Introducing the… 2019 ETOM Fall Conference Attendees

After 4 years, the ETOM 2019 Fall Conference returned to Grand Valley State University! 

The event was held on Friday November 8 in the Kirkhof Center on GVSU’s Allendale Campus. There were over 90 administrators, faculty, and staff in attendance from 22 institutions, and the conference included 12 breakout sessions and a keynote. GVSU faculty Robert Talbert, Lissa Brunan, Sherry Johnson, and Jeremy Robinson shared their expertise by providing presentations at the conference.


Missed all of the action? Here is a recap post with all of the highlights:

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Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies, GVSU and President of ETOM welcomed attendees to the Fall Conference

Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of  eLearning and Emerging Technologies, currently serving as President of the Executive Board of ETOM provided a short description of the history and work of ETOM throughout the year.

The Educational Technology Organization of Michigan (ETOM), is a non-profit that has been around since 1980 – always focused on expanding the use of instructional technologies in teaching and learning.

The following photos are from the earlier days of ETOM, as leaders from colleges across the state came together to collaborate and partner to combine resources and to spur on new ideas to improve education.

As with many organizations, the momentum is spurred on by the ETOM Executive Board. made up from online learning administrators from colleges and university’s across the state.

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Sue Korzinek, Associate VP and CIO, welcomed attendees to GVSU.

GVSU’s Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Sue Korzinek, provided a brief welcome on behalf of Grand Valley.

In addition to the fall conference, ETOM provides a spring retreat geared toward distance learning  administrators as well as online meet ups that are held every other month focusing on a variety of trends and important topics connected to online teaching and learning.

Finally, ETOM provides a Teaching Certification course for faculty new to teaching online. ETOM.ORG is the place to go for more information.

Before kicking off with the keynote, Garry Brand, Executive Director of ETOM and Business Law professor at GVSU, provided a special presentation and recognition of Ronda Edwards, Executive Director of Michigan Colleges Online, who is retiring from her position this year.

ETOM presented Ronda with a lifetime membership for her years of advocacy and promotion of the use of technology to support education.

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From left to right: Garry Brand, Executive Director of ETOM, Stacy Whiddon, Associate Dean of Distance Learning at Schoolcraft College, and Ronda Edwards, Executive Director of Michigan Colleges Online

The conference theme this year was Active Teaching and Active Learning.  The highlighted keynote was provided by Robert Talbert, who is a leader and author in the area of flipped learning. His talk was entitled: “Active Learning: Three reasons to embrace it, three reasons to avoid it, and three questions to consider”

  • Robert Talbert is a Professor of Mathematics in the Mathematics Department at Grand Valley State University. He holds a B.S. degree in Mathematics from Tennessee Technological University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mathematics from Vanderbilt University.

Watch Robert Talbert’s ETOM 2019 Keynote Presentation

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Thank you to our presenters and attendees for an amazing event, pioneering the future for active learning and active teaching to support student success!

eLearning Team attends EDUCAUSE Annual Conference

IMG_5986Eric Kunnen, Sherry Barricklow, and Hunter Bridwell from the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team traveled to Chicago for the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois. With over 8,300+ attendees and large exhibit hall, the conference was full of innovative ideas.

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Representing Grand Valley State University, Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies delivered a presentation with John Scott, Product Manager, Blackboard Inc. along with the College of Southern Nevada and the University of Kentucky. Their session was entitled: “Leveraging Data-Driven Decision Making to Drive Student Success, Retention, and Accessibility Initiatives

Here are a few posts and notes from Eric Kunnen’s “EdTech with Eric” blog:

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Sherry Barricklow, Hunter Bridwell, and Eric Kunnen arrive in Chicago… ready to learn about the latest and greatest in #edtech…

Building Effective Student Learning Communities to Increase Engagement in Online/Hybrid Courses

Online/Hybrid Faculty Learning Communities meet throughout the semester to focus on improving teaching and learning in distance education at Grand Valley State University.

The eLearning team and GVSU faculty gather to form Online/Hybrid Faculty Learning Communities 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

Recently the focus was on the Community of Inquiry Framework (CoI).  Participants in the Online/Hybrid Faculty Learning Communities spent time discussing and sharing specific examples of how to build “Teaching Presence, Social Presence and Cognitive Presence” in courses.

Couldn’t attend the Online/Hybrid Faculty Learning Community meetings? Don’t worry, we have you covered! Here is a recording of the October 17, 2019 Pew Campus Learning Community session, facilitated by Kim Kenward, Instructional Designer in IDeL group in eLearning and Emerging Technologies:

Pew Campus Online/Hybrid Faculty Learning Community Recording

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Additional Resources

Videoconferencing Connects Campus Community at GVSU

In a recent EdTech Magazine article entitled How Videoconferencing Platforms Help Connect Campus Communities, live audio and video communication tools are explored as key solutions for the campus community, increasing flexibility and convenience.

Real-time videoconferencing solutions are growing in their popularity and use in higher education and in business to help bring students, staff, and faculty together.

At GVSU, we are seeing Collaborate used in a variety of ways, such as: professional development, live lectures and student group facilitation, online office hours, mock interviews, guest speakers, live campus meet ups and meetings, global events, and much more!

Here are a few excerpts: [Read Full Article on EdTech Magazine]

“Initially, these tools were pretty complex, and they presented a lot of challenges for teachers who wanted to try them,” says Eric Kunnen, associate director of e-learning and emerging technologies at Michigan’s Grand Valley State University. “But now I think those barriers are falling by the wayside. We’re seeing solutions that can be launched right from a browser, without extra plug-ins or the need for anything to be installed. Overall, they’re much more robust and significantly easier to use.”

At the same time, Kunnen adds, many universities view videoconferencing as a strategic investment.

“The current generation of students is coming to campus with video being part of their daily life,” he says. “If you’re not doing what you can to connect with them — to offer them that flexibility around how they want to be engaged, and to give them opportunities to learn remotely — I think you’re going to be missing the boat.”

"If they can reduce the need for travel and save people time simply by making videoconferencing an option, that’s something their community is going to appreciate.” Eric Kunnen Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies, Grand Valley State University

Similarly, he says, instructors and experts increasingly expect institutions to leverage whatever technologies they can to accommodate hectic schedules.

“A lot of universities are geographically spread out, with campuses all over the place. If they can reduce the need for travel and save people time simply by making videoconferencing an option, that’s something their community is going to appreciate,” says Kunnen.

Finally, live tools are excellent at increasing student engagement and instructor presence. These are key in facilitating a quality online course as they encourage active learning and the Community of Inquiry Framework and the 7 Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education.


About Blackboard Collaborate

Blackboard Collaborate™ is a simple, convenient, and reliable online collaborative learning solution. Collaborate delivers a level of engagement that makes learners feel like they’re together in the same room via collaboration and conference tools.

Collaborate provides opportunities for:

  • Live Class Sessions
  • Online Office Hours
  • Online Guest Speakers
  • Interviews
  • Advising
  • Study Sessions
  • Small Group Projects
  • and more!

Learn more about using Blackboard Collaborate for live events and to support teaching and learning at GVSU.

GVSU offers Virtual Reality space for Faculty and Students

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) in education may seem simply like a tool for the student of the future, however, it is very much the here-and-now at Grand Valley State University!

Visit the Atomic Object Technology Showcase to experience mixed reality in person!

hunter_vr.jpgVR and AR have the reputation of being something “high tech” and often very expensive with high-end headsets and controllers and while we have those tools in the Technology Showcase it isn’t necessarily required for an effective educational experience.

A simple smart phone, a Google Cardboard headset, and a Merge Cube can be a handy and cheap teaching tool for some faculty. There are plenty of apps on a variety of subjects offering some educational value, however often they aren’t very helpful beyond basic information on a subject, and lean on the technology itself as a gimmick for appeal. They’ve been simply something cool and new to try.

Unsatisfied with what is available we, in eLearning and the Atomic Object Technology Showcase, created a small team to work with faculty on developing ideas for their subjects and courses to help them instruct and students learn. Within VR and AR possibilities are vast and we are just beginning to scratch the surface of what we are capable of. Whether 360 degree photographs or video, seeing objects and tools in augmented reality, or having a wholistic immersive virtual reality experience, we have the technology to develop and create new ways for students to learn.

“I am excited to be working with the showcase and student assistants, to engage with faculty and discover how virtual reality can enhance teaching and learning. If you are a faculty member at GVSU with an idea, let’s talk!” – Digital Media Developer, Hunter Bridwell


hunter_bridwell.jpgThis post by Hunter Bridwell, Digital Media Developer, eLearning and Emerging Technologies. Hunter is a Digital Media Developer at Grand Valley State University. He works with faculty and staff to assist, facilitate, and create digital content for courses and instruction. Leveraging his skills and expertise in photography, video capture, and a variety of other media, Hunter strives to create potent and effective content.

Exploring OER with the Open Textbook Network

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Faculty at GVSU… are YOU:

  • CONCERNED about the impact of high textbook costs on students?

  • INTERESTED in finding course materials that you can freely revise and adapt?

  • CURIOUS why people keep talking about Open Educational Resources (OER) at conferences, workshops, and campus events?

On October 22, the University Libraries are hosting two visitors from the Open Textbook Network, a national consortium of academic institutions advancing the use of OER, for a full day of workshops and meetings.

Guest presenters Marilyn Billings (University of Massachusetts – Amherst) and Meggie Mapes (University of Kansas) are passionate, successful advocates for OER, and are presenting a badge-eligible workshop for any interested faculty instructors.

Open Opportunities: Exploring OER with the Open Textbook Network is a two-hour workshop focused on discovering and evaluating OER for potential use in a course. This badge-eligible session is specifically designed to provide an introduction to OER and kick-start attendee’s exploration of high-quality open textbooks.

Open Opportunities Workshop

TIME: 1:00 – 3:00 PM
DATE: October 22
LOCATION: LIB 030.

Access full details and registration in Sprout.


If you have any questions about this professional development opportunity or OER in general, please feel free to contact Matt Ruen, Scholarly Communications Outreach Coordinator, ruenm@gvsu.edu.