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April 1, 2011 / dlitgroup

Blackboard and Distance Learning Newsletter – Spring ’11

Dear Professor,

Eric Kunnen here from the Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies Department.  I wanted to take a moment to provide you with a few updates related to Blackboard and Distance Learning here at GRCC.

In this post:

1) Upcoming Training Opportunities
2) Blackboard Help and Support Resources Available
3) Teaching, Learning, and Technology Showcase Recap
4) Example Faculty uses of Blackboard in Teaching
5) Online/Hybrid Training and Certification
6) Upcoming Blackboard Conference

– – – – –

Upcoming Wimba Pronto Training and Bb Sessions
If you aren’t yet a Wimba Pronto user, I would like to encourage you to begin using it!  Pronto is an instant messaging tool that is integrated with Blackboard.  It is excellent way to deliver online office hours to students and also as a convenient way to enhance collaboration and communication with your students and your colleagues. If you are new to Pronto, or even an existing user, I wanted to highlight a couple of upcoming training sessions that are available for Wimba Pronto.

Their are 2 different sessions available and the dates are (Note: These sessions are delivered live via webinar format.):
– Friday, April 8, 9-11am
– Friday, April 15, 9-11 am

Register for the Pronto sessions and other Bb face to face training events through the Center for Teaching Excellence at:

Also, here is a video tutorial for how to use Pronto:

Blackboard Help
For assistance with Blackboard, here are the support resources available:
1) Tip Sheets and Tutorials are available on the DLIT (Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies) website:
2) Training, How-To, and to Schedule Drop-In Assistance:
3) Technical Support, Troubleshooting, and Error Messages:

TLT Showcase
Over 50 faculty and staff from Grand Rapids Community College, Kendall College of Art and Design, and Ferris State University attended the 5th Annual Teaching, Learning, and Technology Showcase that was held in the Center for Teaching Excellent on Thursday, March 31st.  There were presentations from GRCC faculty on a wide array of Blackboard uses and a variety of instructional technologies.  A special thank you to the presenters: Luann Keizer, Dr. Debora DeWitt, Vicki Meyers, Grace Schwanda, Luiz Costal (Ferris), Aimee Pawlowski, J. Randall Vance (Ferris), Nan Schichtel,  Szymon Machajewski, Ann Alexander, Tim Koets, Diane Sparks, Garret Brand, Bill Faber, and John Rumery.

For more information and session descriptions as well as some photos from the event, go to:

Faculty Uses of Blackboard in Teaching
Access the DLIT blog at: for example faculty uses of Blackboard in teaching and learning.  There are posts from the following faculty: (Please share your story!  We are looking for more faculty examples of the use of Blackboard or other instructional technologies, please contact Eric Kunnen at:
* Luann Keizer – Using Groups in Blackboard
* Diane Sparks – Leveraging Blackboard, NBC, and YouTube for Reflection
* Bill Faber – Enhancing Departmental Document Management with Blackboard
* Stephen Barton – Creating Engaging Audio Content in Blackboard
* GRCC & the Blackboard Exemplary Course Award Program (Mursalata Muhammad, Denise Acevedo, Lisa Gloege)
* Szymon Machajewski – Using Adaptive Release to Selectively Release Content in Blackboard
* Lisa Price – Providing Anytime/Anywhere Access to Learning
* Kate Byerwalter – Delivering Relevant, Engaging Multimedia Content to 21st Century Students
* Aimee Kunnen – Online Office Hours with Wimba Pronto
* Hillery Haney – Creating Engaging Blackboard Courses with NBC and YouTube
* Bernie Manker – Integrating Audio into Blackboard with Wimba Voice Tools
* Brent Spitler – Using SafeAssign for Plagiarism Detection in Blackboard
* Chad Sytsma – Leveraging Assignments in Blackboard
* Vicki Meyers – Leveraging Camtasia Relay & Mashups in Blackboard
* Bill Faber – Leveraging Blogs and SafeAssignments in Blackboard
* Garry Brand – Using Jing Pro for Grading Feedback in Blackboard
* Garry Brand – Providing Video Feedback for Students in Blackboard

Online/Hybrid Training and Certification (Distance Learning)
Online learning continues to grow with enrollments for Summer UP 16% from last year.  In fact this Winter there were more than 4,300 student enrollments in online courses which was a 23% increase from the previous year.  If you would like to become certified to teach an online class, please see the CTE current learning page for upcoming training dates:

Upcoming BbWorld Conference
The national Blackboard Conference (BbWorld) will be held July 12 through 15.  See: for more information.

– – – – –

I hope your semester is going well!  Think Spring!


e r i c   j.   k u n n e n

Director, Distance Learning & Instructional Technologies
Grand Rapids Community College


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