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July 8, 2011 / dlitgroup

Weekly Updates – July 1st and 8th

The following updates are from the DLIT Department for the week ending July 1st and 8th.


This area includes international, national, regional, state, and local activities.

  • ETOM Fall Conference – The 2011 ETOM Fall Conference is going to be held on October 14 at Grand Rapids Community College, DeVos Campus. Proposals for presentations are now being accepted. The Conference Planning Committee encourages proposals that will showcase best practices in the field of education technology, distance learning, classroom technology and information resources and technology.  The Call for Presentations is available at our website
  • Blackboard Catalyst Award Winner – Congratuations and kudos to Szymon Machajewski who was highlighted as a Blackboard Catalyst Award Winner and promoted on Blackboard’s website:
  • Davenport Online Conference – Sherri Donovan and Laura Sandera connected with Meegan Lillis and Eric Kunnen regarding faculty development.  Davenport University provides faculty learning and professional development for the online group (around 700 adjuncts). Davenport will be hosting a conference this Fall that will be held September 14th and 15th using Wimba Classroom.  GRCC is planning to be involved.
  • Career Pathways Teacher Academy: Technology in the Classroom Presentation – Meegan Lillis and Eric Kunnen attended the Career Pathways Teacher Academy which is a summer opportunity grad course for high school and college educators and advisors to make them more aware of current cutting edge career pathways that may be of interest to their students. This year, a digital animation company spoke to the group, the latest cutting edge health care careers, genetics, and a millionaire and futurist from the GR area will speak to the group.  Here a few highlights from the event:
    • Presentation: Get you Permission Slip for our Digital Fieldtrip with Corinne Hoisington from Central Virginia Community College The presentation covered technologies all free for educators to take advantage of, as well as all low tech options which will work for students on any operating system or internet connection.
      • Xtranormal – A free website to create movies.
      • – “Computational Knowledge Engine”, also available as an app for mobile devices
      • – free desktop sharing for up to 250 people.  Even if your students are working and in various time zones, you can choose a time such as 10 PM Monday night and meet using for a 10-15 minute overview for the week where your students can even join using their mobile device.
      • Google Wonder wheel – Mind map tool built in to google, available as a link on the left after a search is performed.  The wonder wheel helps break down large topics into more understandable chunks for students to help them in their search for a research paper, etc
      • Google Timeline – builds a timeline on the topic with hyperlinks; and you can drill down from an overall timeline to day-by-day timelinesGoogle Reading Level – help break down websites to help students select a reading level that will work for them; Beginning is 1-8th grade, Intermediate is 9th – Community College, Advanced is University Level – PhD
      • – video mail tool available for mobile devices
      • Google Realtime Search – pulls information from twitter, facebook, on what is happening right now in real time, the list of results actually updates in front of your eyes
      • Google Translate – will translate words and phrases as well as websites into 54+ languages and has a button to listen to audio clips
      • Animoto – free video slideshow maker with music – free for educators with school email account
      • Glympse – Put a free app on any data plan phone and send a link to allow someone to see your exact location and speed. To view a glympse you can be either on a mobile device or computer.

Department Action Projects

This area includes accomplishments or milestones regarding Departmental Action Project(s).

  • Project 1 – Extend DL Program
    • Faculty Certification Requests – 2 faculty requested certification through the external training option that is part of the faculty contract (page 18).  These requests were submitted for approval.
    • HLC Substantive Change Application for Distance Delivery – Narrative was provided for the HLC application for the the new information security degree being implemented by the Computer Applications Department.
    • Website Updates – Meegan Lillis created a new equipment checkout page on the DLIT website and also uploaded the newly updated DL_Standards *.docx and *.pdf to the Distance Learning area of Institutional Content in Bb.
    • New Online Course Reviews – COM135, GH125, MA108 course reviews were completed by: Lisa Gloege, Luann Keizer, Meegan Lillis, Eric Kunnen, and Eric Mullen.  A recommendations was submitted to ISIS.
    • Blackboard Development Education Conference Call – Linda Spoelman, Eric Kunnen, Cindy Martin, Dan Clark, and Zach Johnson from Blackboard held a conference call about online developmental education.  This is a new initiative focusing on developmental education through Blackboard, leveraging Blackboard Learn, Community, and Collaborate.  Multiple courses are in the developmental sequence.  Here are some highlights from the meeting:Common challenges most programs face include: orientation, progress and engagement, students need to learn how to learn, time management, organizational skills, outside support, proper assessment, and need for individualized instruction.  There are also needs for better student success and pass rates for credit recovery/remediation.The goal is to provide access to high quality, flexible learning options.  The Blackboard solution provides orientation and program engagement, instructor resources, online learning 150 to 1, 24/7 tech support, tutoring support, campus-based mentor support, instructor & mentor reporting (pace, achievement, time), and a 20 to 1 ratio for mentoring.Instructor – Teaches course and study skills; closely monitors student progress with mentor
      Mentor – Supports instructors’ efforts; institutional link to student
      Student – Follows course pacing guide; is responsive to mentor and instructor

      The potential could provide 20% online say and 80% face to face with existing instructors and for students to take courses in a flexible option.  Blackboard provided demo access to the team.

  • Project 2 – Enhance Classroom and Instructional Technologies
    • Relay 3 Upgrade – The Camtasia Relay enterprise lecture capture system was upgraded from version 1.2 to version 3.  This new version provides enhanced audio capture, a new player, and increased reliability.  There is also a new closed captioning option for ADA.  This would require Disability Support Services resources and support in the work with faculty to provide this functionality.
    • GRCC Digital Initiative Meeting – Garry Brand, Szymon Machajewski, Mark Nordblom, Meegan Lillis, Eric Kunnen, Jim Schafer, and Mark Nordblom met to discuss business process and workflow for checking out the hardware resources for this initiative.  Here are some highlights from the meeting:1) Technology needs to be reserved for faculty and all purchased devices under this budget will remain reserved for faculty for use in teaching and learning.
      2) Goals need to be captured for use.  Meegan will be working with faculty to record these.  She will also provide orientation and training as necessary and relay to Media for checkout.
      3) Checkout system will be used for faculty and be managed by Media.
      4) DLIT will have at least 1 in the office on permanent checkout with remaining to be checked out by Media.
      5) Advertising to faculty will be developed and distributed.  The Digitial Initiative technology and page will remain, but an additional technology page has been created.  This page directs faculty to Media’s equipment checkout page.
      6) Devices in the checkout from the initiative require training and involvement from DLIT and Meegan before they are released.Process:  Meegan meets with faculty member to capture instructional intent, training, and to establish a project for the use of the technology.  This process includes followup and capturing issues, successes, or obstacles during the use period.
  • Project 3 – Extend Blackboard Learn, Content, Community
    • Softchalk Licenses – 5 Softchalk licenses were acquired through the GRCC Digital Initiative.  Garry Brand and Meegan Lillis are evaluating this as a potential college courseware development tool.
    • No Show Announcement – An email was sent to faculty regarding the new No Show policy as it related to Blackboard.  The following was sent to all faculty:According to the recently implemented No Show Notation Policy (see 8.19 on ), “students are not allowed to enter Class after NS has been issued.”  This  new GRCC policy has necessitated a change concerning student access to courses within Blackboard.  If a student receives a NS notation in Peoplesoft (Online Center), they will no longer have access to that section in Blackboard (even though they remain listed as “Enrolled” in Peoplesoft).If the NS notation was entered for a student in error, this can be corrected by contacting the Registrar.  In accordance with the GRCC policy, “an NS notation entered erroneously can only be removed by the faculty member by sending an email from a GRCC email account to:” Once this occurs, Blackboard automation will return the student’s access to the associated course in Blackboard.
    • Wimba Pronto – A Help Desk tab was setup for the IT Help Desk for potential use to support faculty and students.
    • Wimba Pronto Upgrade – An upgrade to Wimba Pronto will be occurring on July 21.  Mark Nordblom and Szymon Machajewski are assisting in the project management and coordination.
    • Bb Connect Building Block – Szymon Machajewski created a new Building Block for Blackboard Learn to encourage adoption of the new Bb Connect system by providing an easy way to enter your mobile number.  Here is a screencast that describes the functionality:
    • Bb Connect Testing – The Bb Connect system is installed on the test environment.  Further testing is needed to confirm functionality and training documents will also be prepared for this new service.  The target for this work is the Fall semester.
    • SoftChalk Webinar – Meegan virtually attended a webinar covering Soft Chalk, introduction and how to use it as a tool for content development.
    • Service Pack 6 Testing Begins – The DLIT and IT teams are beginning to test the latest service pack for Blackboard with a select group of key faculty and staff.  In an effort to continuously improve Bb and to solve known issues and problems with the system SP6 is being tested.  Service Pack 6 for Blackboard 9.1 is currently installed on our test environment.   The deadline for testing is ideally Friday, July 22nd.  The planned downtime for completing the upgrade after successful testing is August 1st.
    • Relay Mashup – Szymon Machajewski enhanced the mashup tool for Blackboard that provides integration with Camtasia Relay.  This mashup was put into production on July 8.
    • Help Desk DLIT IT Meeting – A meeting was held with the purpose being to compare notes and ensure we are on the same page regarding supporting faculty training and tech support needs for Blackboard.  The following narrative includes the highlights from the meeting:Attending: Darcy Swope; Eric J. Kunnen; Frederick Bauman; Garret Brand; Kevin O’Halla; Mark Nordblom; Meegan Lillis; Szymon Machajewski1) Clarification of Testing Service Packs and Upgrades
      – Process includes acceptance and verification testing with a copy of production system.
      – Service Pack testing is based on similar workflow (phased approach) and business process we have used in the past. See:
      – Help Desk will be involved and Fred Bauman will be the main contact.
      – Oracle 11G Update is needed along with SP6
      – August 1 is the set date and it will likely take 5 to 6 hours. 1 PM back online is the goal with 7 AM downtime to begin.
      – Darcy and Eric will handle student and faculty communications.2) Documentation and Self-Help Resources
      – There are a lot of resources available and consolidation is needed to streamline.
      – The Faculty Facilitators in DLIT provide training and sessions.
      – Tutorials and Tip Sheets are also available.
      – Timely workarounds should be in the Grouplink knowledgebase
      – The goal is to find a single solution or perhaps at least narrowing it down to a select group of targeted system with the most up to date article for increased accuracy.
      – Training documentation may work best on a web page or perhaps a Drupal blog.
      – Drupal blogging tool may provide an RSS feed to update a Bb portal.  The RSS could have recently updated articles, most viewed, etc.
      – Suggested team members to work on consolidating these: Meegan Lillis (lead), Szymon Machajewski, Darcy Swope (will delegate as appropriate),  and Mark Nordblom3) The Process of Supporting Faculty
      – New users learn Bb from an array of self-help, CTE sessions, consultations, the New Faculty Institute, Adjunct Institutes, and Learning Days.
      – Technical issues, error messages should be directed to:
      – Training issues, forwarded to:
      – Fred Bauman is the point on the desk for Bb and will make an attempt to solve quick requests but longer or more detailed training work will be sent to
      – Faculty expectations are to be the first point of contact for student.
      – Updated information was presented for a syllabus template.The group expressed to meet again and Eric Kunnen will arrange a set of meetings.

Other Work within Your Department

This area includes accomplishments or milestones within the department.

  • Summer Technology Institute for Faculty – A meeting with Garret Brand; Jose Mora; Meegan Lillis and Eric Kunnen was held to talk about, plan, and to promoting the August Summer Technology Institute.  The following narrative describes the highlights planned for promotion:1) A Postcard
    Jose will work with Communications to get a postcard created and this will be sent out through the CTE to all faculty the first week of August.2) Email Notices
    First week of August a Summer Tech email to all faculty will be sent by the CTE highlighting the session with a link to:   Penni, would you mind also including Deans/Acadeans/etc.?3) Target Email/Personal Invites
    Ann Alexander will focus on inviting adjuncts.  Perhaps relay to attendees at the Adjunct Institutes.
    Carmela Zapata will send to new faculty, a personal invite in the communications you have with new faculty.
    Gary Ebels will send to those faculty attending Great Teachers a personal invite?
    Faculty Professional Development Facilitators will email or provide verbal encouragement to their departments.

    4) GRCC Today
    A notice in GRCC Today will be run the first week of August.

    5) We also discussed promoting the event at other training sessions such as OHCC.

  • Onboarding for Meegan Lillis – Meegan Lillis continued her orientation spending time training with Garry Brand on Blackboard Basics, the Online and Hybrid Certification Course, Drupal Training, Camtasia Relay 3, Wimba Pronto, and Basecamp among others.  In addition, Bill Faber and Meegan held a meeting discussing the work of DLIT, supporting and developing a rapport with the faculty at large, creating tutorials and self-help resources, etc.
  • Faculty Professional Development Meeting – Meegan Lillis, Garry Brand, and Eric Kunnen met on an overview of GRCC faculty professional development.  Highlights from the meeting include:  A review of the CTE providing the logistics of the sessions, enrollment, tracking, and marketing.  OHCC orientation information and certification process was covered along with ongoing work with Garry to go through the course, and discuss Meegan’s role in revising and assisting with the facilitation of the course.  Also how best can we support faculty and create a process for continuing interaction with certified faculty.  Meegan will go through the OHCC course and provide some help as needed and she will see how to fit in, DLIT sessions, etc.
  • Welcome Meeting for Meegan Lillis – A meeting was held with the faculty facilitators to welcome meeting and to begin dialogue around roles, collaborative opportunities, and upcoming work.Attending:  Meegan Lillis, Garry Brand, Tim Koets, Eric KunnenNotes from the meeting:
    1) Planning for promotion for the upcoming showcase.  We have another meeting this afternoon.
    2) Faculty facilitators role and Meegan’s role and finding the best match is a goal.  Meegan’s primary role is around developing and working with instructors to develop online/hybrid courses.  The goal is to continue to leverage faculty facilitators for sessions.
    3) Garry will respond to faculty requests for training through the DLIT Folder.  Meegan will coordinate with Mark, and Fred to ensure the technical issues in the folder are routed correctly.
    4) Luann will be covering the Bb Basics and Orientation for next Friday for the OHCC course.
    5) Strategies for connecting faculty with Meegan.  One idea is to connect her during the OHCC and also perhaps to email the existing faculty that have been certified and instructors going through the course development process.  Tim mentioned several courses in CO will be putting many courses online, working on a process to work with Meegan.  Meegan needs to be more involved with the faculty member once the course is approved so that the course rubric is used during the development.  The plan is to zero in the work of the CO Department to further streamline the development process and instructional design work.  A meeting with Tim and Luann with Meegan for streamlining the process will be setup.
    6) Setting up drop in times and sessions for Fall will be coordinated with Ann and Garry.
    7) A change request with AQIP may need to be involved with the advancement of the CO degree program, Eric will check with Donna Kragt.

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