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


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:


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.


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.


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



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

Register for “Active Teaching – Active Learning” ETOM Fall Conference hosted by GVSU

Held every year in the Fall, the Educational Technology Organization of Michigan (ETOM) Fall Conference focuses on best practices in using technology to enhance teaching and learning.

The conference program includes keynote information and 12 breakout sessions by GVSU faculty Robert Talbert, Lissa Brunan, Sherry Johnson, and Jeremy Robinson!

    Grand Valley State University
    Russel H. Kirkhof Center
    1 Campus Drive, Allendale, Michigan 49401
  • WHEN
    Friday, November 8, 2019
    8:15am – 3:15pm


Robert Talbert, Professor of Mathematics GVSUThe conference will feature a keynote by Robert Talbert, 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.

ETOM’s theme this year is “Active Teaching – Active Learning!” The focus of the conference is 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.


The Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center has kindly offered to support up to 10 faculty registrations and has listed the ETOM Conference as a “Sponsored Teaching and Learning Event“.

Register & Apply for a Teaching and Learning Grant via FTLC

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:

GVSU hosts statewide ETOM Fall Conference on Online/Hybrid Teaching and Learning

ETOM Conference

On Friday November 6, over 80 faculty and staff from across the state converged at Grand Valley State University to participate in the ETOM (Educational Technology Organization of Michigan) Fall Conference.

The conference, coordinated by GVSU’s eLearning and Emerging Technologies group along with the ETOM Board, featured a keynote by Kari Frisch from Central Lakes College in Minnesota who talked about student retention in online learning.

The event also featured 4 breakout sessions with 14 presenters on the topics of Open Educational Resources, custom instructional video including the GVSU Lightboard, “essential questions”, student outcomes in face to face/flipped/online courses, student motivation in learning, “specifications grading”, accessibility, learner engagement, audience response systems, and creating engaging content with Camtasia.

Sharing experience from the eLearning team included: Glenna Decker and Matt Roberts in IDeL and Justin Melick. GVSU faculty members Julia VanderMolen, Star Swift, Mary Jo Smith, and Szymon Machajewski also presented.

The following sessions featured faculty and staff from GVSU:

Create Video Learning Modules for a Chemistry Lab Course – KC Room 1104

Mary Jo Smith and Justin Melick, Grand Valley State University

Showcase Lab Orientation and Safety Learning Modules that incorporated Videos and Quizzes to teach lab safety for chemistry lab courses. The modules were developed to address an anticipated delay in the availability of newly renovated labs, and have been a substitute for lab the first week of lab for the semester. We plan to outline the process used to develop the series of seven modules that are being used in two courses for 1300 students via Blackboard. This set of learning modules is for mastery learning, and students are attaining 100% on the assessment at the end of the series. Additionally, time permitting we would outline the steps to develop a self-paced learning module that teaches students significant figures for chemistry calculations. This module is also being used by 1300 students via Blackboard.

Increasing Instructor Presence through the use of a Lightboard – KC Room 1104

Justin Melick and Star Swift, Grand Valley State University

Instructor presence is one aspect of online instruction that has been shown to have a positive impact on student satisfaction rates in online courses (Cowan and Hodges, 2012). This presentation will describe the ways an instructor’s virtual presence was provided to students in a hybrid and an online law class.  The technology used to provide the instructor’s virtual presence in these two classes is called a lightboard. The lightboard is a device that allows instructors to write their content on glass and virtually speak to their students face to face through the glass. The professor is recorded while using the lightboard and the video is subsequently provided to the students. This allows faculty to create engaging visuals that will help drive home instruction. In this presentation you will learn how the lightboard was created and then used to increase instructor presence in various online courses. Additionally, we will share data gathered from students that suggests learners prefer videos created with the lightboard over other types of instructional media.

Justin Melick, presenting about the GVSU Lightboard at the ETOM Conference.

Grading Nirvana: Toward a Better System and How to Implement It (Kind Of) – KC Rm 2266

Matthew Roberts, GVSU

Linda Nilson’s 2014 book introduced the world to “specifications grading”, an approach to grading designed to address the problems that faculty and students have with the way learning is assessed in the vast majority of courses. The presenter will explain Nilson’s list of the fifteen features of an ideal grading system and how the specifications grading approach comes much closer to the ideal than more traditional approaches. The balance of the presentation will then focus on how the system has been implemented in an online American government course and how the grading features of the campus LMS (Blackboard) can be used to facilitate specifications grading–albeit in a limited and sometimes frustrating way.

Matt Roberts, Instructional Designer, IDeL presenting on “Specifications Grading” at the ETOM Fall Conference.

Applying Principles of Andragogy in Online Teaching – KC Rm 2270

Glenna Decker, Grand Valley State University

The adult (nontraditional) learner population growth in higher education extends significantly to online and hybrid courses (NCES, 2014).  Keeping these learners engaged and motivated will take intentional planning and community building.  Online discussion is a key factor in online teaching and students report that it must be meaningful.  This presentation will share some insights gleaned from students assigned online discussion and will draw from the literature on adult learning theory to discuss practical suggestions for online teaching.

Glenna Decker, Instructional Designer, IDeL presenting on the topic of online discussions at the ETOM Fall Conference.

Thank you to the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center for supporting a limited number of grants to cover the $75 registration fee for the conference.

WHAT: ETOM Fall Conference
WHEN: Friday, November 6 – 8:30am to 3:45pm
WHERE: Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons and Kirkhof Center
REGISTRATION: $75 (A limited number of grants are available through the Faculty Teaching and Learning Center.)

More information about the conference, including the breakout session topics can be found on the conference website.

Additional questions, please contact Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies: