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February 21, 2011 / dlitgroup

Weekly Updates – February 18th

The following updates for the the Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies Department for the week ending February 18th.

DEPARTMENTAL – This category includes general tasks, ongoing maintenance, issue tracking, faculty support, and other duties related to the department’s operations.

  • Faculty Support Tickets – In the past 3 weeks, DLIT responded to 146 requests (36 for week ending on the 4th, 46 for week ending on the 11th, and 63 for week ending on the 18th) for assistance regarding Blackboard and other instructional technologies.  Time spent over the week of the 18th is estimated at: 990 minutes or 16.5 hours
  • Department Plan, Budget Request, Draft of IT/ID Position – The DLIT department plan and budget request for a new position was collaborative written with the department and submitted.
  • Video Meeting – Klaas Kwant, Eric Kunnen, Mark Vogel, Todd Torrey, and Mike Colby met to discuss planning and the future of video use in teaching and learning.
  • Camtasia Relay 3.0.1 Upgrade – Preliminary planning has begun for upgrading Relay from 1.2.0 to 3.0.1.  Needed here are also a new client version to be deployed as well as the investigation of Blackboard Building Blocks that enable iTunes U integration.
  • Disk Space – The Bb system ran out of disk space on Friday.  A plan is needed for better monitoring.
  • Bb Patches – 5 patches were placed on GRCC’s test system.  The issues being tested relate to an error that occurs when double clicking on the next question in a single question assessment attempt display.  Another patch was put in place to resolve an issue with the YouTube mashup tool.  The other patch is intended to resolve an error message if the column is not set as “assignment” when viewing an attempt. A new Bb Mobile Learn building block was installed to address authentication issues for PalmOS users.  The final patch resolved an issue with Blackboard Scholar not correctly allowing a new user to create an account. [Linked to Extending Blackboard DAP]
  • New Bb Tutorials – Bill Faber created a series of new tutorials (Creating a Test from a Pool of Questions and Exporting and Importing Tests) for Blackboard.  These are available on GRCC’s YouTube site. [Linked to Extending Bb Platform DAP]
  • DLIT Faculty Blog Post – Bill Faber wrote a blog post on leveraging Blackboard’s URL and SafeAssignment tools in teaching scientific literature.
  • TLT Showcase – Planning begins for the 5th Annual GRCC Teaching, Learning, and Technology Showcase.  The call for proposals is planned to go out within the next 2 weeks: [Linked to Extending Bb Platform DAP]
  • New Blackboard Innovative Teaching Sessions – The CTE has added and promoted a new Blackboard series called “BITS – Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series”.  These are intended to support Blackboard’s global community. These seminars will bring best practices and evolved online pedagogy training to faculty in a concise and effective series consisting of four, 30-minute “snack-sized” training webinars.  These webinars have been designed for faculty members and will be led by faculty members from higher ed institutions around the country.

    The Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series, Spring 2011
    Theme: Student Engagement in the Online ClassroomSession #1 Strategies to Engage Students
    This session examines how the course developer and instructor teach students writing strategies while employing the same strategies in “writing the course.”
    -Time & Date: 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm EST, February 22, 2011
    -Presenter: Carla Bradley, Faculty Member & Coordinator of Online Instructional Development, Ozarks Technical Community College 

    Session #2 Ten Ideas to Help Students be More Engaged in Online Classes
    This session provides straight-forward methods on how to help your students be engaged in your online classroom.
    -Time & Date: 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm EST, March 1, 2011
    -Presenter: Judy Hammock, Faculty Member, University of Nevada, Reno

    Session #3: Assessing Student Engagement for Continuous Course Improvement
    This session shares broad strategies for monitoring and assessing engagement throughout your courses, as well as provides tips and tricks to implement quickly.
    -Time & Date: 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm EST, March 8, 2011
    -Presenter: Melissa Loble, Faculty Member, Pepperdine University and Blackboard Senior Director

    Session #4: Efficient Collaboration and Team Building in the Distance Learning Environment
    This session explores strategies for efficiently promoting student collaboration and successfully building teams in the online environment.
    -Time & Date: 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm EST, March 15, 2011
    – Presenter: Donna Jones, Ed.D, Adjunct Professor and Senior Pedagogical Advisor, Assessment, Blackboard, Inc.

ACCESS – GRCC minimizes the barriers of time, place, cost, and educational preparation levels so that all members of the community have an opportunity to participate in college programs.

  • Instructional Designer Job Description – A position description was drafted for a position that will be intended to provide course development support and faculty assistance for the growth and advancement of Distance Learning at GRCC. [Linked to DL CAP]
  • Online Course Rubric Developed – A rubric was developed and will be used for Online Course Development review. The rubric can be viewed here.  [Linked to DL CAP]
  • Online Student Research Update – Frank Conner provided a quick update regarding the research project for online courses.  Research Question: “Is there a relationship between a student’s learning readiness and success in an online class?”  There are 3039 total students taking online classes and 1038 responses to the survey.  Key areas of focus: Academic Self-Efficacy, Organization and Attention to Study, Stress and Time Press, Involvement with College Activity, Emotional Satisfaction, Class Communication. [Linked to DL CAP]
  • Online Course Approvals – The Deans Sub-Committee for Online Course Approvals (Amy Koning, Diane Patrick, Mike Vargo, and Eric Kunnen) have approved the following courses recently:AR129 – Architectural 3D CAB (Bruce Bjornseth)
    COM135 – Interpersonal Communications (Marne Johnson)
    BA105 – Entrepreneurship (Felix Pereiro)
    BA276 – Business Innovation (Felix Pereiro)
    BA288 – International Business (Felix Pereiro)These courses can now be developed.  Before they are open for enrollment a committee will review the course using the following rubric: 

    Also, courses in which are currently being developed include:

    MUS252 – History of Music 2 (Deb Dewitt)
    GH107 – Intro to Health Care (Denise Skonieczny)
    GH125 – Intro to the Human Body (Dawn Zuidgeest-Craft)

  • OHCC Final Presentations – This week ended the 5 week certification for the Online & Hybrid Certification Course.  The 9 faculty that are enrolled in this OHCC course have presented their templates and certificated will be awarded after successful completion of the course outcomes and after a review of their template – based on a rubric that is aligned with GRCC’s DL Standards and the OHCC outcomes.
  • Early Alert for Online Courses – Here are a few charts and statistics on GRCC’s use of Starfish Early Alert for online courses.  As a reminder, the system will automatically flag a student that hasn’t logged into their Blackboard course within 7 days. [Linked to DL CAP]

  • Blackboard Survey – Every semester a survey is conducted of faculty and students at GRCC regarding their use of Blackboard in teaching and learning. A blog post was created on this topic and it is located here.  Here are a few highlights.
    • More than 90% of faculty and students indicate that they believe it would enhance teaching and learning at GRCC if more instructors used Blackboard to post course materials, announcements, and grades.
    • When asked to describe Bb in one word, students used: helpful, useful, convenient, great, good, simple, resourceful, beneficial, information, communication, etc.
    • 31% of students indicate that lecture capture and podcasting would be useful in their studies.
    • 30% of faculty access Blackboard every day.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH – GRCC enriches the community through educational and civic programming and partnerships.

  • ETOM Meeting – Highlights of this conference call referred to upcoming conferences.  Higgins Lake 2011 dates were selected: June 13 and 14th,  and the Fall Conference will be held at GRCC’s Devos Campus on October 14th.
  • miBUG and GVSU Symposium – A GRCC faculty email invitation was sent to participate in the miBUG
    “Engaging Students with Blackboard” & GVSU’s Teaching, Learning, and Technology Symposium on  Friday, March 18th.  See:
  • iPhone App Interview – The Courier student newspaper at the College of DuPage contacted us regarding our development of a GRCC iPhone application.
  • Reference for California State Fullerton – Information was shared with California State regarding GRCC’s upgrade process for moving to Bb 9.1.
  • GRCC in Spotlight – GRCC was mentioned in the February 2011 edition of the Blackboard Partner Spotlight Newsletter for our use of NBC Learn.

Grand Rapids Community College Pilots NBC Learn

GRCC faculty and students piloted a new teaching tool that has now become a part of the curriculum this fall – NBC Learn, an archive of more than 12,000 news videos and other materials (both historical and up-to-the minute)that brings a classroom topic to life. At GRCC, the videos can be accessed through the Blackboard LearnTM application, the college’s enterprise course management system providing faculty and students with the ability to interact, collaborate, and share learning materials.

The response from faculty and students has been so positive that the resources have now become a formal part of the GRCC curriculum. “Engaging students and providing real world context to their learning is becoming exceedingly important,” said Eric Kunnen, Director of Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies. “The ultimate goal is to help students make connections with the outside world and to extend the boundaries of the classroom to help students to be successful.”NBC Learn is a collection of video resources, primary sources, images, and text resources designed for use in higher education that help faculty be successful by providing easy and effective ways of creating dynamic learning experiences for students.

Another tool within NBC Learn is called “What’s Your iCue?” which is a video trivia challenge that blends learning and gaming.Because the archives are online and accessible through the Blackboard LearnTM application, instructors can easily include them in lectures, assignments, blogs, wikis, and other course areas to stimulate discussion or respond to class questions.

Click here to watch GRCC faculty talk about using the NBC Learn videos in Blackboard LearnTM

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