Online Learning

The Potential of Global Learning @GVSU

Online learning continues to expand at Grand Valley State University with over 170 instructors teaching in 174 different online/hybrid courses with a student enrollment of 4881 (3,870 headcount) in the Winter 2018 semester. This represents a +25.8% enrollment growth since last year. Additionally, roughly 17% of our students are taking at least 1 online/hybrid course.

To assist in preparing students, GVSU provides an “Are you Ready for Online Learning?” assessment for students interested in enrolling in online courses.

The survey offers an opportunity for potential or existing students to review their: 1) time management skills, 2) independent learning skills, 3) learning environment, 4) technology skills, and 5) computer requirements as to a variety of factors that can contribute to success in distance learning.

At the end of the survey, students are also asked to enter their current living location and zip code. The following maps indicate responses by students with an interest in online learning at GVSU.  Through online courses, the university has great potential to extend learning globally.

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TIPS for Teaching Online via LIFT

GVSU has adopted a student evaluation instrument from IA Systems to collect feedback about courses and instructors. This initiative is called: “Laker Impressions of Faculty Teaching (LIFT)”.

In short, LIFT is GVSU’s university-wide system for collecting student feedback about courses and instructors.  All course sections (with limited exceptions) use the online LIFT surveys to collect student feedback.

LIFT is administered by the Office Of Institutional Analysis, under the oversight of the LIFT Advisory Committee.

Courses delivered via distance education, such as GVSU’s online and hybrid classes use a special LIFT GVSU Distance Education form.

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The questions that connect most directly to teaching online are compiled below, within a category of pedagogical focus:

Instructor Presence

  • LIFT QUESTION:  The instructor’s contribution to the course was:
  • LIFT QUESTION:  The instructor’s effectiveness in teaching the subject matter was:
  • LIFT QUESTION:  Student confidence in instructor’s knowledge was:
  • LIFT QUESTION:  Online interactions to accomplish learning outcomes were:

TEACHING ONLINE TIPS: Be present and engaged in your online or hybrid class. If students do not see announcements, posts in discussions, or emails, it may feel to them that there isn’t an instructor teaching the class.

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.

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?

Here are more tips from currently faculty teaching online, on the topic of Building Community:

Faculty Feedback

  • LIFT QUESTION:  Timeliness of instructor responses was:
  • LIFT QUESTION:  Quality/helpfulness of instructor feedback was:

TEACHING ONLINE TIPS: 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. And 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.

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.

Here are a few more tips for providing student feedback from Rosemary Cleveland:

Course Navigation/Menu

  • LIFT QUESTION: The organization and ease of navigation of the course website was:

TEACHING ONLINE TIPS: Review your course from the viewpoint of a student. Is information clearly labeled by its function and easy to find? In addition to using consistent formatting and terminology, consider adding features such as Blackboard assignment due dates, guideposts, assignment checklists, multiple representations of essential information (reading assignments listed in the syllabus as well as in a course calendar), and introductory text or audio overviews with each folder/module.

Will it be crystal clear to students when assignments are due? Which readings are required or optional? How much time should students expect to spend on a quiz or project? Ensuring this information is easy to find and clearly stated will go a long way toward helping students stay on track.

In short, pay close attention to the overall navigation of your course. For example, if your menu is too long this can be confusing for students. The goal is to keep your menu short and simple with a focus on getting students where they need to be to access your weekly content, learning activities, and assessments.

Technology Preparation/Orientation

  • LIFT QUESTION: Instructor’s use of technology to support learning outcomes was:
  • LIFT QUESTION: Clarity of student responsibilities and requirements was:

TEACHING ONLINE TIPS: Be sure to welcome your students and orient them to your course. You can do this via email, announcements, or a brief video. Flipgrid can be an effective tool to use as an icebreaker for students to get to know one another and to feel like part of a learning community.

To help students assess their preparation on the online/hybrid learning experience, you may wish to assign your students the online self-assessment. In an easy-to-find location, provide students direct links to resources such as the Blackboard student support, GVSU IT HelpDesk, and other relevant student support services.

6 Small Things You Can Do To Have a BIG Impact on Student Learning

This post is 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.

When teaching online and hybrid courses, there are a variety of key strategies that are proven to help students succeed. This blog post highlights 6 tips for success.

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6 Small Things that you can do that have a BIG Impact on Student Learning

  1. Ensure students have the appropriate orientation and support to use the technology in your course.

    Be sure to welcome your students and orient them to your course. You can do this via email, announcements, or a brief video.
    Flipgrid can be an effective tool to use as an icebreaker for students to get to know one another and to feel like part of a learning community. 

    To help students assess their preparation on the online/hybrid learning experience, you may wish to assign your students the online self-assessment. In an easy-to-find location, provide students direct links to resources such as the Blackboard student support, GVSU IT HelpDesk, and other relevant student support services.

  2. Publish your syllabus to your Blackboard site and open the course to students a week or two before the semester begins. 

    Research indicates that students benefit when given time to prepare and assess the course expectations ahead of time, so any extra time you give students to assess their readiness for the course and get into the mindset for online or hybrid learning is useful.
    Upload your syllabus to the course before the semester begins and email students an invitation to peruse it. If you are someone who is still building your Blackboard site up to the last minute, consider emailing your syllabus directly to students and letting them know when the course site will be ready for them to explore. 

  3. 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. 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.

  4. Establish a simple course menu and use consistent formatting & organization.

    Review your course from the viewpoint of a student. Is information clearly labeled by its function and easy to find? In addition to using consistent formatting and terminology, consider adding features such as Blackboard assignment due dates, guideposts, assignment checklists, multiple representations of essential information (reading assignments listed in the syllabus as well as in a course calendar), and introductory text or audio overviews with each folder/module.
    Will it be crystal clear to students when assignments are due? Which readings are required or optional? How much time should students expect to spend on a quiz or project? Ensuring this information is easy to find and clearly stated will go a long way toward helping students stay on track.
  5. 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. And 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.

  6. 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.
    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!

  • Consult with the instructional designers in IDeL for more online/hybrid course design tips and to learn how to increase your teaching, social, cognitive presence through the Community of Inquiry.
  • Access tips, tutorials, and information for effectively using Blackboard.
  • Review the one-stop Faculty Resources for Online Education.
  • Contact the Digital Studio for assistance in creating a welcome video or leveraging interactive media in your courses.
  • Review University Library resources for distance learning.

 

GVSU Online/Hybrid Faculty Celebrate National Distance Learning Week

This Fall, over 5,000 students are participating in over 300 online and hybrid courses at GVSU. This represents a one-year increase of 17% (78% growth since 2013) and 17% of students at the university are taking at least 1 online or hybrid course. Further, the university now has over 700 faculty that are certified to teach an online or hybrid class with over 220 professors completing the Foundations of Online and Hybrid Course Development and Delivery training just last year!

To celebrate the 170+ faculty that are teaching distance education courses this Fall at GVSU, the university took part in National Distance Learning Week (NDLW) with a special faculty recognition breakfast in the University Club on the downtown Pew Campus.  The breakfast provided an opportunity to come together as faculty and staff to recognize the continued growth and value of online and hybrid learning at the university.

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This event was sponsored by the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team along with the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center (FTLC).

During the breakfast faculty and staff shared experiences and explored new ways to design, develop and teach high quality online/hybrid courses that are focused on enhancing student success, retention, and persistence at GVSU.

eLearning and Emerging Technologies along with the FTLC would like to thank faculty at GVSU for focusing on delivering high-quality online/hybrid courses through teaching excellence!


NDLW is organized by the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) and serves to highlight the successes and value of distance education.

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GVSU Celebrates National Distance Learning Week with Faculty Appreciation Breakfast

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GVSU will be celebrating National Distance Learning Week (NDLW) from November 7-11, 2016 to recognize the continued growth and value of online and hybrid learning at the university. NDLW is organized by the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) and serves to highlight the successes and value of distance education.

To celebrate and to recognize faculty at Grand Valley State University, the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team along with the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center (FTLC) have organized a breakfast on Wednesday, November 9, 2016!


THANK YOU GVSU ONLINE/HYBRID FACULTY – PLEASE JOIN US FOR BREAKFAST!

We know how much work it takes to develop and teach quality online/hybrid courses and we appreciate the work of YOU, the faculty here at GVSU. Join us and allow us to treat you to a breakfast in honor of National Distance Learning Week!

WHAT:  National Distance Learning Week – Faculty Appreciation Breakfast

WHEN: 8:30am – 10:30am on Wednesday, November 9, 2016 (Please stop by anytime.)

WHERE: University Club – Pew Campus

WHY: For an informal meet, greet, and eat – to appreciate YOU, our online and hybrid teaching faculty.

This event is sponsored by the eLearning and Emerging Technologies department including the IDeL (Instructional Design for eLearning) team and the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center.

RSVP: Please RSVP!


Grand Valley State University offers a wide array of courses and degree programs in the online and hybrid format with over 150 courses and just over 4,500 total student enrollments in distance education courses as of the Fall semester 2016. This represents a  105% increase in enrollment since 2012 with 16% of students at GVSU taking at least 1 online or hybrid course.  Most students are from Michigan, however, we do have students from states such as Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Washington, and also internationally.  Online and hybrid learning is an important flexible learning option at the university.  In addition, over 500 faculty have been certified to teach online/hybrid courses through the Foundations course that is offered through IDeL and the FTLC.

According the 2014 Survey of Online Learning, Grade Level: Tracking Online Education in the United States, there are more than 7.1 million higher ed students learning online with 33% of all higher ed students taking at least 1 online course.  In addition, 70.8% chief academic leaders are now reporting that online learning is critical to their long-term strategy for their institutions, which is an all time high.  This connects to GVSU’s 2021 Strategic Plan as well in 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%.

If you are interested in learning more about teaching and learning online, check out the eLearning and Emerging Technologies and IDeL websites along with the online/hybrid education faculty resources site at GVSU and the Faculty Learning Communities offered through the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center.

Online & Hybrid Learning Expands @GVSU

Grand Valley State University currently offers 6 online (100% of the courses are online) and 23 hybrid (at least 50% of the courses are in the online or hybrid format) programs.

The online programs are offered by:

  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Education
  • Nursing

The hybrid programs are provided by:

  • Community and Public Service
  • Education
  • Health Professions
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Nursing

Online and Hybrid Enrollment at GVSU Up by 17%

Flexible learning options at the university continue to grow as more faculty become certified to teach online and as more courses are offered in the online and hybrid modality.

Online and hybrid enrollment expanded this year by 17% (from 2015) to include over 3,800 enrollments in online and hybrid classes at GVSU.

In addition, 14% of all students at the university are enrolled in at least 1 online or hybrid class.

The online/hybrid courses were taught by 136 faculty in 150 courses, representing 11% of the classes at the university.

Students at GVSU take a blend of face to face and online/hybrid classes with some students residing in other states and even overseas. Learning online is growing nationally as well, with over 5.8 million students taking at least 1 online course (which amounts to more than 1 in 4 students) according to the Babson Survey Research Group.

“The trend of increasing distance education enrollments in the face of declining overall higher ed enrollments suggests an important shift in the American higher education landscape, with contemporary learners leaning in to online options,” said Kathleen S. Ives, chief executive officer and executive director of the Online Learning Consortium. “The majority of academic leaders recognize this and understand online learning is critical to their institutions’ long-term strategy.”

GVSU Strategic Plan

As indicated in the Babson survey above, eLearning (online/hybrid) is critical to an institutions long-term strategy.  In fact, the 2016-2021 GVSU Strategic Plan includes a priority statement for expanding the number of courses offered in the online and hybrid format.

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%.

eLearning and Emerging Technologies Provides Faculty Support

With the growth in eLearning nationally and locally at the university, the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team is here to provide support to faculty at GVSU that are interested in creating and/or teaching an online or hybrid course.  Faculty learn how to prepare, design, and teach an online or hybrid course through a Foundations of Online/Hybrid Course Development workshop which is facilitated by 3 instructional designers in the IDeL group.

In addition, digital media and technology support is provided by a digital media developer, 2 eLearning and instructional technology specialists, and 2 system analysts that work with the university’s Blackboard learning management system.  Blackboard support for faculty is provided by the eLearning team including 2 graduate assistants through seminars, email, phone, and office consultations.  Online readiness for students, along with a variety of student services are also offered by the university, including the GVSU IT HelpDesk.

How can the eLearning team help YOU? Please reach out and let us know!

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Ten Ways to Use Video in Your Classroom

This year’s Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) conference was filled with three days of intense, hands-on learning experiences centered on the practice of integrating technology and learning.

Presenting at the conference was Jason Valade, Customer Success Manager at TechSmith on “10 Ways to Use Video in Your Classroom”. Jason is a former elementary school teacher and Technology Lead whose love for “all things” video led him to TechSmith and their Customer Success Team.

During the session, Jason ran down his favorite top 10 uses for video in education and showed examples of how both video novices and experts can easily create video content to enhance instruction and engage students.

Tech Symposium

  1. Flip a Lesson

Rather than using class time to introduce new content, record a series of short videos that students can review on their own and then come to class prepared to extend the learning.

  1. Teach when you are Absent

Unable to attend a class, create a video review of that day’s related topics and assignments.

  1. Personalized Feedback

Use a desktop recording application to capture annotations and your voice as you provide feedback on assignments or use a document camera to record your voice while you manually mark up a printed assignment.

  1. Parent / Community Classroom

Post a video update for parents or the community by recording a PPT or Google presentation with the latest class information and achievements.

  1. Stop Repeating Yourself

Don’t keep responding to the same old questions over and over again, create a library of short how-to videos that can be used year-to-year.

  1. Give a Course Overview

Great at the beginning of the semester or when starting a new topic.

  1. Introduce Yourself

Build instructor presence and community. Perfect for online classes.

  1. Walk through Materials

Create a tutorial to review a complex procedure, demonstrate a process or solve a problem.

  1. Authentic Assessment

Let students storyboard, shoot and edit a video for review by the entire class.

  1. Filming Experiments

Use for review, as part of a quiz or other assessment.

Video recordings are quickly becoming a key component in any classroom, whether it’s face-to-face or online, video can be the catalyst that spurs a student’s imagination and learning.