Online and Hybrid Learning

Using Blackboard Collaborate to connect Faculty and Students during Remote Teaching at GVSU

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

At GVSU Collaborate is integrated seamlessly into Blackboard as an enterprise solution for supporting the needs of faculty and students to meet live, remotely, at any time and anywhere. This post highlights the use of the system throughout the Winter 2020 semester.

Winter 2020 (Jan 1 – Apr 24) Totals

  • Collaborate Sessions Launched 53,550
  • Hours of Use 37,000
  • Recordings Created 8,297
  • Hours Recorded 4,500
  • Attendees in Sessions 210,179
  • Max Attendees in Single Session 210

Peak Usage

  • March 16 had the highest number of session instances launched in a day (2,958)
  • March 17 had the highest number of attendees (10,627) and unique attendees (7,715)

Blackboard Collaborate Session Charts

Use of Blackboard Collaborate expanded quickly as GVSU pivoted to remote teaching.



Teaching at GVSU?

Head on over to our web page for more information
and help in increasing student engagement, facilitating online office hours,
bringing in virtual guest speakers, establishing teaching presence,
and using Blackboard to support student success!

GO TO: Blackboard at GVSU

Winter 2020 Blackboard Usage Report

Blackboard is GVSU’s enterprise learning management system, used by faculty to:

  • enhance student success
  • increase student engagement
  • improve instructor efficiency
  • build and share course content
  • establish teaching presence
  • provide effective course design

This post highlights a variety of statistics related to the use of Blackboard by faculty and students.

Blackboard Login and User Statistics

As of April 15:

    • In the last 30 days, 1,667 faculty and 22,263 students have logged in to Blackboard.
    • At 4:00 PM on 4/15 there were 20,077 simultaneous users logged in, with the Blackboard environment averaging 78 logins per minute.


Content Uploaded by Faculty

  • 278,369 total items created
  • 3,558 courses with content
  • Top content types: 25% PDF, 22% Items, 18% Word, 11% Images, 9% Presentations, 6% External Links

Simultaneous Assessments Delivered

The most assessment delivered simultaneously was recorded at noon on April 22 with 4,415 tests taken within 1 hour. In addition, a total of 36,946 assessment attempts occurred within 24 hours.



Use of Blackboard Tools by Faculty

    • In the past 30 days as of Friday, April 24:
      • Announcements
        • 3,302 courses have posted announcements
        • 64,068 announcements have been posted
        • 107,798 student enrollments have received
        • 25,002 emails sent within 1 hour
      • Assessments
        • 1,726 courses have assessments created
        • 11,033 assessments have been created
        • 66,376 student enrollments are impacted
      • Assignments
        • 2,674 courses have assignments created
        • 23,632 assignments have been posted
        • 86,425 student enrollments
      • Discussion Boards
        • 2,135 courses have discussion forums
        • 18,254 discussion forums have been created
        • 68,149 student enrollments have access
      • Grade Center
        • 3,401 courses have grade center columns
        • 80,557 columns have been created
        • 111,231 student enrollments have access

Blackboard Disk Usage

Files and content have also grown over the Winter 2020 semester. Course files are those content items uploaded by faculty and protected files are student assignment uploads.


Blackboard Course Page Views

Total number of course page views to date. A course page view is a request for a page that occurs within a course or organization.

The most page views ever recorded at GVSU occurred on April 22, the total was 1,045,069.  An increase in use of Blackboard and access to courses was also observed,  beginning on March 8.


Teaching at GVSU?

Head on over to our web page for more information
and help in increasing student engagement, improving instructor efficiency,
building and sharing course content, establishing teaching presence,
and using Blackboard to support student success!

GO TO: Blackboard at GVSU

Winter 2020 Respondus Monitor Usage Report

Adopted in the Fall of 2019, Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor was selected at GVSU to provide a new academic integrity solution for online tests and quizzes that are delivered through Blackboard. This software was piloted in the summer of 2019 and was supported by the Office of the Provost, the Online Education Council, and eLearning and Emerging Technologies.

In brief, Respondus LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor provide faculty with the ability to offer proctored assessments for our online and hybrid courses. The two programs used together deter cheating and increase student identity verification capabilities.

Use of Respondus Monitor in the Winter 2020 Semester

3,253- Monitor Sessions during Final Exam Week
86 – Total Courses Using Respondus Monitor
10,994 – Total Monitor Sessions in Winter 2020


Teaching at GVSU?

Head on over to our web page for more information
and help in creating engaging course content
to support student success!

GO TO: Respondus at GVSU

Meet the NEW eLearning and Emerging Technologies Team!

As GVSU looks to the future, eLearning and Emerging Technologies is building up and aligning services, support, and structure – targeted to scale up digital learning options for learners.

We partner with YOU to create programs, courses, certificates, and digital experiences to support student success. In addition, we collaborate with the Office of the Provost, Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center, University Libraries, and Disability Support Resources to ensure we provide wrap around services and encourage high impact practices.

Our eLearning and Emerging Technologies team specializes on the following 5 key areas as we focus on accelerating digital transformation at GVSU.

Ven diagram with Instructional Design, Technology Showcase, Blackboard, Teaching with Technology, and Digital Studio

The eLearning team includes 15 staff and 15 student assistants on mission to support faculty pursuing innovation in teaching and learning.

With over 150 years of higher education experience in leveraging technology in teaching – we’re here to help faculty deliver the next generation of teaching and learning…

  1. David Nivala, Instructional Technology Project Specialist
    David is located in Lake Michigan Hall.

    David holds an MA plus 20 credits in Educational Administration. He has been immersed in educational technology since 1993 in California and Michigan, became an instructional designer in 2010 at a local 4 year university and joined GVSU in 2020.

    As a teacher, school administrator and instructional designer, David has always been focused on student success. Learning objectives, student engagement and authentic assessment are of particular interest to him. He has also planned and implemented a wide range of subjects in faculty and staff development. Away from work, David enjoys kayaking, mountain biking and snow skiing.

  2. Jeanne Smith, Instructional Technology Project Specialist
    Jeanne will be starting on March 12, and be located downtown in the Center for Health Sciences.

    Most recently, Jeanne Smith worked as a Learning and Development Specialist at the Michigan State University and as a member of the Spectrum Health/MSU Graduate Medical Education program. Formerly, Jeanne was an Instructional Design Specialist working at GVSU from 2007-2013. Jeanne has an M.Ed. in Educational Technology from GVSU, B.S. in Business Administration from Aquinas College, and was a participant in the Program for Educators in Health Professions from the Harvard Medical School, Macy Institute.

  3. Barbara Stevens, Instructional Technology Project Specialist
    Barbara’s office is located in the Kindschi Hall of Science.

    Barb Stevens has been working in higher ed since 1998 and in online education since 1999. She has experience in instructional design, course development as a subject matter expert, managing faculty, and teaching, both on campus and online. She has experience working with faculty from a multitude of disciplines at both the undergrad and graduate levels. She lives in Kalamazoo with her husband and two Yorkies.

  4. Stephanie Webber, Instructional Technology Project Specialist
    Stephanie is located downtown in DeVos on the Pew Campus.

    Stephanie Webber joins Grand Valley State University with a background in operations management, project management, and instructional design solutions.Prior to GVSU, she worked as a Project Specialist for Davenport University serving clients around the globe to develop innovative training solutions. She has a passion for cultivating the next generation entering the workforce and enjoys mentoring young students.

    In her spare time, Stephanie is a hospice volunteer, violinist, and martial artist. She completed her undergraduate degree in Business Administration at Grand Valley State University with an emphasis in business management. Currently she is pursuing her Master’s in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning. Through her professional practices, she aspires to consistently exceed the expectations of those around her.

  5. Justin Melick, Instructional Designer
    Justin was promoted to Instructional Designer from his prior position as Digital Media Developer. Justin will be located downtown in DeVos on the Pew Campus.

    Justin joined the eLearning team in 2014 and holds master’s degrees from Grand Valley State University in both Educational Technology and Adult and Higher Education. Prior to coming on board at GVSU, Justin taught social studies at the K-12 level. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member in Grand Valley’s College of Education since 2018, teaching and developing courses in educational technology.

  6. Noah Campbell, Digital Media Developer
    Noah comes to us as a former eLearning Digital Studio student assistant and most recently a graduate assistant in the College of Education. He will be replacing Justin Melick, and his office will be in the Kindschi Hall of Science.

    Noah is a Graduate student in the Educational Technology Master’s program, set to graduate in December 2020. He has been working with the eLearning department since 2017 through the Digital Studio. His goal is to help faculty and staff by creating videos and other digital content to fit their course needs, and is thrilled to be able to get a job that will allow him to do this so early on in his career.

What is an Instructional Technology Project Specialist?

The specialists will be responsible for working collaboratively with faculty, subject matter experts, instructional designers, digital media developers, and cross-departmental stakeholders in leading the design, development, and on-time delivery of quality digital learning experiences.

Top 10 Digital Learning Support, Services, and Resources at GVSU

Our goal is to help ensure GVSU’s digital learning experiences are designed in alignment with a cohesive and consistent learner experience, focusing on best practices, quality frameworks, and high impact teaching practices.

We’re here to help! Here are the Top 10 Digital Learning Support, Services, and Resources offered by the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team.


The mission of eLearning and Emerging Technologies is to support faculty, contribute to teaching excellence, and to enhance student success through:

Top 10 Digital Learning Support, Services, and Resources at GVSU

We’re here to help!


Goal: To ensure degrees, programs, micro-credentials, courses, and digital learning experiences are designed in alignment with cohesive and consistent learner experience best practices and quality frameworks.

We are here to help faculty transition courses from in person to online, while supporting faculty in the delivery of high quality – high impact digital learning experiences.


IDeL – Instructional Design for eLearning (

  1. Instructional Design Expertise and Support
    IDeL includes 4 instructional designers (Glenna Decker, Kim Kenward, Matt Roberts, Justin Melick) who specialize in designing online/hybrid teaching and learning.
  2. NEW! Instructional Technology Project Specialists (ITPS)
    NEW! To more effectively prioritize support in the creation of digital materials, 4 ITPS positions (David Nivala, Barb Stevens, Stephanie Webber, Jeanne Smith) have been created! The specialists will be responsible for working collaboratively with subject matter experts, instructional designers, digital media developers, and cross-departmental stakeholders in leading the design, development, and on-time delivery of high-quality digital learning experiences.
  3. Foundations for Online/Hybrid Course Development
    Learn how to design, build, and teach the next generation of education. Learn more:
  4. Online/Hybrid Faculty Learning Communities (FLC)
    Faculty are encouraged to join an FLC to make connections, learn best practices, and to find additional support and resources. Learn more:

Digital Studio (

  1. Multimedia and Digital Media Development
    Media-rich instruction can help solve instructional problems, enhance learning, and support student success. The Digital Studio promotes the creation of digital learning experiences for faculty.
  2. Lightboard
    This exciting technology was custom built at GVSU, and it combines a whiteboard-like experience with visibility of the instructor, resulting in highly engaging course content. Lightboard videos can be easily integrated into Blackboard and placed online. Learn more:

Atomic Object Technology Showcase (

  1. Innovative Emerging Technology
    The showcase provides faculty, staff, and students with an immersive and engaging environment to: interactdiscoverlearn, and share how innovative emerging technologies can enhance teaching and improve student learning at GVSU. Check out the latest at:

Teaching and Learning with Technology (

  1. Teaching and Learning with Technology
    Save time, increase your efficiency and effectiveness, better communicate with your students, easily share content, and provide timely feedback to students with a variety of technologies.Blackboard is GVSU’s enterprise learning management system, providing a consistent user experience for students as they access digital resources. In addition, resources such as online proctoring tools such as Respondus LockDown Browser/Monitor, and Blackboard Ally help to ensure content is accessible.

    Further, all students are provided a tutorial and Online/Hybrid Orientation to learn the basics of how to be successful at GVSU. Here is a complete list of Grand Valley’s Enterprise Instructional Technologies.

    The eLearning team of instructional technologists provide support to faculty in individual consultations, seminars, email support, and web resources. Learn more at:

Get Plugged In

  1. Seminars
    In addition to individual consultations and email support, training opportunities are offered through a wide array of seminars. Registration is available through the Sprout:
  2. Contact Us

Enrollments Grow in Online Learning while enhancing Teaching Effectiveness

Recently, an article in InsideHigher Ed “Online Enrollments Grow, but Pace Slows” featured new federal data that show that more than 1/3 of all 2018 college and university students took at least one online course, and online enrollments have grown.

In fact, 34.7% of students have taken at least one online course in 2018, making up 3,677,689 students. Further, there were 3,259,560 students enrolled in exclusively distance education courses.

In comparison, according to the federal data report, overall enrollment in higher education was down -1.1%.

Enrollment in online courses at GVSU continues to grow as do the national numbers.

At GVSU, 24.1% of students were enrolled in at least one online or hybrid course in the Fall 2019 semester. This is up from 20.4% in 2018. In addition, in the spring/summer semester, 57.8% of students were taking at least one distance education course in 2019, up from 49.7% in 2018.

Here is a chart of the number of the unduplicated count of students enrolled in at least one online or hybrid course from 2016 through 2019 at GVSU:


Related, in a recent “Faculty Attitudes on Technology Survey” administered by InsideHigher Ed, results indicate that professors’ are showing a steady acceptance of online learning.

In fact, professors also indicate that teaching online makes them better and more effective in their practice:

  • Three-quarters (77%) of instructors who have taught online say they have developed pedagogical skills and practices that have improved their teaching.

  • 75% think more critically about engaging students with content; 65% make better use of multimedia content; 63% more likely to experiment and make changes to try to improve the learning experience.

  • Two-thirds of instructors who had converted face-to-face course to an online or hybrid (blended) class said that they spent less time lecturing (65%) and incorporated more active learning techniques into the new course (69%).

Based on the Inside Higher Ed survey, now more than 46% of faculty members have taught an online course.

Further, for those faculty that have taught online, 61% agree that online courses can produce equivalent student outcomes.

As far as the adoption of using technology in teaching:

  • Nearly four in 10 instructors (39 percent) say they fully support the increased use of educational technologies, up from 32 percent in 2018 and 29 percent in 2017.

  • Professors who support educational technologies say they do so because “some students simply cannot attend a face-to-face class due to work or family obligations“ (64%) and “students learn better when I engage them with effective technology tools“ (57%).

  • Rated colleges positively on encouraging experimentation with new approaches to teaching (56% agree) and providing adequate technical support for creating and teaching online courses (52% agree for both).

About eLearning and Emerging Technologies


eLearning and Emerging Technologies provides a wide array of services and resources designed to facilitate digital learning at GVSU through supporting faculty in delivering high quality, innovative teaching.

We support faculty, contribute to teaching excellence, and enhance student success through:

6 Tips for Teaching Online at GVSU in 2020

Are you an online/hybrid faculty member at GVSU? If so, we have some news for you!


As you look ahead to teaching your online and hybrid courses in 2020, we have prepared the following resources designed to help support you and your students.

6 Tips for Teaching Online and Hybrid Classes in 2020

  1. Consider joining an Online and Hybrid Faculty Learning Community to explore best practices and learn from your peers! Learn more on the Online/Hybrid Faculty Learning Community web page.

  2. Focus on student success and retention with Blackboard tools. 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 and gradebook colors can be set to trigger alerts for faculty based on student performance.

    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.

  3. Respondus Monitor and LockDown Browser academic integrity tools are available for online exam proctoring. Learn more on the Respondus web page or request access to LockDown Browser and Monitor.

  4. Register for Seminars offered by eLearning and Emerging Technologies on a variety of technologies that can be used in teaching an online/hybrid course. View a list of seminars and register in Sprout.

  5. Encourage students to complete the Online/Hybrid Orientation in Blackboard. All students enrolled in an online or hybrid class are automatically added into a CourseSite in Blackboard entitled: “Online/Hybrid Orientation”. A link to this site is available to students in the “My Courses” module after logging into Blackboard. Students that perform all of the required activities in the orientation are provided with a “Certificate of Completion”.
  6. Have a question or need assistance? Contact an Instructional Designer on the eLearning team:Glenna Decker – Instructional Designer
    4453 Kindschi Hall of Science (KHS) | 616-331-2598

    Matt Roberts – Instructional Designer
    4452 Kindschi Hall of Science (KHS) | 616-331-9085

    Kim Kenward – Instructional Designer
    268C Richard M. DeVos Center (DEV) | 616-331-2131

Best wishes for a wonderful and relaxing break and a successful start to your 2020 semester!

If we can be of further support as you teach your online and hybrid courses, please reach out to the following units at GVSU:

  • eLearning and Emerging Technologies, Online Education Council, University Libraries, the Pew Faculty Teaching & Learning Center, and the Office of the Provost.
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