IDeL

Designing Quality Courses in Blackboard with Cheryl Kautz

kautzcSit back, relax, and watch as Cheryl Kautz, Affiliate Instructor, in the School of Computing and Information Systems at GVSU guides you through her CIS 231 course in Blackboard.

 

 

As a previous “Blackboard Exemplary Course Award” and “Most Inclusive Classroom Award” recipient, Cheryl focuses on using quality course design methods including key tools in Blackboard such as Blackboard Ally for accessibility (eg. Syllabus, course content etc. includes alternative formats such as audio only), Panopto for video with popup formative quizzes, and tips for improving navigation including using course links to keep students on track and to provide easier navigation.

Highlighted in Cheryl’s course tour are the following design principles in using Blackboard to delivery quality instruction at GVSU.

Streamlined Course Menu

Customizing the course menu provides students with a simple and easy way to navigate the areas of her course. When designing your menu, aim to keep your navigation areas as clean, short and simple as possible. Use headings and dividers to break up the menu into chunks.

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Course Links

Course Links assists students with navigating and jumping from section to section in a course site. Using Blackboard Course Links ensures students can easily navigate to other areas of your course quickly.

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Checking for Accessibility with Blackboard Ally

Cheryl has dedicated time for inclusive learning by ensuring the content uploaded is accessible with Blackboard Ally. A GREEN indicator indicates that the file has a good rating. Yellow or red indicators appear when a file has low or poor levels of web accessibility.

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Students benefit from using Blackboard Ally by accessing alternative file formats such as audio only.

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Getting Started

Establish a “Getting Started” content area to help students “get started”. This area of Cheryl’s course provides:

  • links to “Are you ready for online learning at GVSU”
  • encouraging students to upload a Blackboard profile picture for increased engagement
  • an introductory Blackboard blog post for student to student interaction
  • a course link directing students to begin the “week 1 tasks”

Weekly Folders

Each weekly folder uses a consistent design and includes key dates and reminders such as midterm, spring break, final exams, and most importantly the objectives to be covered. The objectives are connected to the learning activities and assessments to inform students clearly about what they are expected to accomplish throughout the week which is good instructional design.

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Inside of each weekly folder, students are presented with a “To Do” instruction list, practice assignments, video lectures, discussions, projects, quizzes, audio PowerPoints, and homework help.

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Panopto Videos with Quizzes

Cheryl uses Panopto to present video based instruction with quizzes to check for students’ understanding and to provide formative feedback.

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eLearning and Emerging Technologies Team offers Course Design and Development Support

As you build courses in Blackboard, please feel free to reach out to the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team for assistance in most effectively leveraging the use of Blackboard in your teaching at GVSU. We’re here to help!

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eLearning Team Supports Online Learning Growth at GVSU

Online and hybrid learning is growing rapidly at GVSU – and the eLearning team is here to support and equip faculty with instructional design, instructional technology, and digital media development assistance.

See also:

  • “Online Education Ascends” – Number and proportion of college and university students taking classes online grew +6.4% in 2017, as overall enrollments fell by -.4%. A third of all students now take at least one online course. 
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The eLearning and Emerging Technologies team provides support to faculty at GVSU. Pictured left to right: Vince St. Germain, Matt Roberts, Justin Melick, Colleen Cameron, Sherry Barricklow, Kim Kenward, Katie Clark, Glenna Decker, and Eric Kunnen. (Not pictured: Hunter Bridwell)

As part of the Information Technology Department, eLearning and Emerging Technologies provides a wide array of services and resources designed to facilitate the support of faculty teaching hybrid and online classes as well as to assist faculty in delivering innovative classroom based instruction.

The eLearning and Emerging Technologies team is dedicated to supporting facultycontributing to teaching excellence, and enhancing student success through:

WE’RE HERE TO HELP!


A Growing Demand in Online Learning

In the Fall 2018 semester, student enrollment in online/hybrid courses has risen to 5,318 which represents a 15% growth since Fall 2017.  Looking back to the Fall 2017 semester, GVSU offered over 300 online/hybrid courses, (177 unduplicated), representing a one-year increase of 17%  (from Fall 2016), and significantly, a 78% increase in online enrollment since 2013. In fact, as of the Fall 2018 semester, 17% of all students at GVSU are taking at least 1 online or hybrid course, with 12% of all classes now being offered via distance education.

17% of all students at GVSU (5,318 enrollments) are taking at least 1 online or hybrid course.

Additionally, in the summer 2018 semester, online/hybrid courses contributed to a 4% growth in overall enrollment, with 42% of all enrollment offered as distance education. During the summer, there were nearly 4,000 students in total enrollment, which represented a 10% increase in online/hybrid enrollment since the summer 2017 semester.

High Touch and High Tech

On Friday, August 24, 2018, GVSU President Haas provided the campus with an inspiring lecture for the opening semester faculty/staff address. Focusing on the topics of stewardship, leadership, and innovation, the address also highlighted flexible learning options that meet students’ needs, including online learning while also mentioning the importance of high touch practices through high tech methods.

“We must be responsible to the changing needs of our students… on how we deliver education. Online learning and that becomes more vital to our students… we will not lose our high touch practices as we smartly utilize high tech methods.” – President Haas

GVSU 2021 Strategic Connection

Distance education is connected to the following GVSU strategies with special focus on Objectives 3.D.2 and 3.D.3:

Strategic Priority Area 1: Actively engage learners at all levels.

Institutional outcome D: Grand Valley supports innovative teaching, learning, integrative scholarly and creative activity, and the use of new technologies.

Objective 1.D.2: At least 93% of faculty members regularly use electronic course management tools, such as Blackboard, in their teaching. Baseline: 89% of faculty indicated either daily or weekly use of Blackboard in their teaching according to a GVSU faculty survey conducted winter 2016.

Objective 1.D.3: At least 60% of faculty members use state-of-the art instructional methods in their teaching. Baseline: 47% of faculty members use state-of-the-art instructional methods in their teaching according to a GVSU faculty survey conducted winter 2016. Additional Information Source: Education Center for Analysis and Research preliminary data is being collected for 2014-15, available June 2015.

 

  • The eLearning team provides support for innovative teaching methods, including the advancement and use of Blackboard.

 

Strategic Priority Area 2: Further develop exceptional personnel.

Institutional outcome E: Grand Valley strategically allocates its fiscal, human, and other institutional resources.

Objective 2.E.1: At least 75% of faculty and 75% of staff participate in professional development to expand, enhance or extend their competencies and capabilities within the context of the responsibilities of their positions. Baseline for faculty will be determined via Digital Measures in summer 2015. Baseline for Fall 2014 for staff is 50-55%.

 

  • The eLearning Team provides the facilitation and training of faculty through a variety of seminars, including the Foundations of Online and Hybrid Course Development and Delivery course.

 

Strategic Priority 3: Ensure the alignment of institutional structures and functions.

Institutional outcome D: Grand Valley supports innovative teaching, learning, integrative scholarly and creative activity, and the use of new technologies.

Objective 3.D.2: At least 30% of undergraduate courses are offered in innovative approaches and formats, such as hybrid, online and competency-oriented. Baseline for undergraduate courses for Fall 2014 is 6%.

Objective 3.D.3: At least 30% of graduate courses are offered in innovative approaches and such as hybrid, online and competency-oriented. Baseline for graduate courses for Fall 2014 is 25%.

 

  • Key to the advancement of online and hybrid courses, instructional designers in eLearning provide the point of contact for faculty in their work to design distance education courses as well as to facilitate a quality learning experience for students.

 

The eLearning Team is Here to Help!

If you are new to online learning or a seasoned veteran, the eLearning team is here to help! We provide consultations, faculty learning communities, coaching, and guidance to faculty. Please reach out and connect with us today!

WE’RE HERE TO HELP!

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 https://www.lillyconferences.com

Glenna Decker and Eric Kunnen deliver webinar for the @Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series (BITS)

On Wednesday, October 10, Glenna Decker, instructional designer, and Eric Kunnen, associate director of elearning, delivered a webinar for the Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series (BITS).

Their session title was “Improving Student Engagement and Retention through the Community of Inquiry”. Over 700 attendees registered for the webinar. The session provided attendees with an overview of the importance of student engagement and retention in higher education, an introduction to the Community of Inquiry model, and a variety of tips, application, and suggestions for integrating CoI principles into courses in Blackboard.

Student engagement and retention continues to be central as a success measure in higher education. The Community of Inquiry (CoI) Framework provides an opportunity to focus on learning as a result of interaction of social, cognitive, and teaching presence. Through purposeful instructional design, the students’ educational experience can lead to higher satisfaction and better learning through active engagement and the application of CoI.

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A selfie before the start the BITS webinar with Glenna Decker, instructional designer (left), and Eric Kunnen, associate director (right), from eLearning and Emerging Technologies.

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Webinar Slides

Webinar Resources

Community of Inquiry TIP Sheets on IDeL Website

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About Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series (BITS)

The Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series (BITS) is comprised of bi-monthly professional development webinars for faculty, instructional technologists, course designers, and faculty trainers. Participants learn the top strategies and pedagogy for both increasing educator efficiency and improving learning outcomes during these free webinars that are taught by educators and supported by Blackboard experts.

2018 Fall Webinar Schedule

For more information about each session, to register, and to view recordings of sessions on demand, please visit the BITS registration page.

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Online Learning Vital to our Students

On Friday, August 24, GVSU President Haas provided the campus with an inspiring lecture for the opening semester faculty/staff address. Focusing on the topics of stewardship, leadership, and innovation, the address also highlighted flexible learning options that meet students’ needs, including online learning while also mentioning the importance of high touch practices through high tech methods.

The eLearning and Emerging Technologies team at GVSU supports the work of the university in advancing online learning as well as leveraging technology to provide high touch – high tech methods.

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“We must be responsible to the changing needs of our students… online learning becomes more vital to our students… we will not lose our high touch practices as we smartly utilize high tech methods.” – GVSU President Haas

eLearning is on mission and 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)
  • the deployment of innovative emerging technologies

Online Learning

The eLearning team provides integral support to faculty and the university in the 2021 Strategic Plan around the following areas:

Strategic Priority 3: Ensure the alignment of institutional structures and functions.

Institutional outcome D: Grand Valley supports innovative teaching, learning, integrative scholarly and creative activity, and the use of new technologies.

Objective 3.D.2: At least 30% of undergraduate courses are offered in innovative approaches and formats, such as hybrid, online and competency-oriented. Baseline for undergraduate courses for Fall 2014 is 6%.

Objective 3.D.3: At least 30% of graduate courses are offered in innovative approaches and such as hybrid, online and competency-oriented. Baseline for graduate courses for Fall 2014 is 25%.

Specifically, instructional designers in the IDeL group have a goal 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.

High Touch – High Tech

In addition, the Atomic Object Technology Showcase provides key resources for high tech emerging technologies, while the Digital Studio supports faculty in the creation of interactive and engaging media. Further, the eLearning team encourages the use of a wide array of instructional technologies to increase instructor presence and support communication and collaboration opportunities for students and faculty.


If you are a faculty member at GVSU, please know that we are here for you. eLearning and Emerging Technologies offers key support and services such as:

 

 

 

 

eLearning and Technology Showcase participates in Fall Teaching Conference

The eLearning and Emerging Technologies team, along with student Emerging Technology Specialists from the Atomic Object Technology Showcase participated in the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center resource fair, which was part of the Fall Teaching Conference.

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Ron and Sam, student Emerging Technology Specialists from the Atomic Object Technology Showcase brought innovative emerging technologies to demo for faculty attending the Fall Teaching Conference at GVSU.

On Wednesday, August 22, around 250-300 faculty arrived at the Eberhard Center to participate in the 24th Annual Fall Conference on Teaching & Learning. This year’s focus was on the importance of storytelling.

How are GVSU faculty, staff and students telling our stories of purpose, transformation, innovation, and accomplishment? This year’s Fall Conference theme was chosen with the intent of shedding light on the powerful stories we all have to tell and providing a space where we can reflect on the ways in which we use narrative in our teaching. Whether analog or digital, oral or written, the crafting of impactful stories requires intentionality, skill, and practice – hence, the focus of this event.

At this event, and throughout the morning and over lunch, faculty attendees had the opportunity to engage with a variety of departments offering services and support to faculty. GVSU’s eLearning and Emerging Technologies team provided demonstrations of emerging technology through the showcase, while highlighting the resources offered through the IDeL, Digital Studio, and support for using #edtech in teaching at the university.

If you missed seeing us at the event, here are some key support and services that are provided by the eLearning team:

3 Ways to Support Student Success in Online Courses

Teaching online? Please take note of these strategies that are proven to help students succeed in online learning environments.

  1. Use Learning Analytics within Blackboard to Monitor Students At-Risk
    Maximize student retention by proactively contacting inactive students, students with missing deadlines, or poor performance. The Blackboard Grade Center shows the date of last course access for students. The Retention Center,  Performance Dashboard and Item Statistics provide faculty with information about student activity as well as the ability to monitor students at-risk. Use these tools to determine whether any students in your class are falling behind or neglecting to check Blackboard regularly. Intervene early on, so they get back on track quickly.
  2. Provide Timely Feedback on Student Work
    Students need (and want!) to know how they’re doing throughout the semester, so your timely feedback on assignments, discussions, and course activities is essential. Be sure to use the gradebook in Blackboard!

    Each time you provide feedback to students, you make your presence known–key to making students feel connected to your course and supported in their work.As you craft assignments, consider the frequency of and methods by which you’ll provide feedback to students’ work.

    Try audio recording feedback to students’ writing, or giving formative, brief feedback more frequently during an assignment to encourage students’ reflection and learning.

    Establish a goal of responding to students’ inquiries or activities on Blackboard within 24 hours Monday – Friday, or on Mondays for activities students may complete over the weekend. (It’s certainly OK to take more time to grade longer projects or papers.)

  3. Create Opportunities for Students to Develop Mastery
    Discussion threads are a popular component of Blackboard courses, but an online conversation is just one of many ways you can help students demonstrate knowledge or practice skills.

    Keep students engaged and focus on active learning strategies.

    Think beyond the discussion forum: given your course content, how might you build in multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate knowledge or mastery of a skill across a variety of activities? How will you reinforce skills or knowledge learned in one portion of the course in a future activity? What short assignments might you ask students to engage in and post for quick feedback?


Want More Info? Need Help? Try These Resources!

Brought to you by the Online Education Council, eLearning and Emerging Technologies, University Libraries, the Pew Faculty Teaching & Learning Center, and the Office of the Provost