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September 8, 2011 / dlitgroup

Weekly Updates – September 9th

The following updates are from the DLIT Department for the week ending September 9th.


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

  • Blackboard Sharing Content Usability Call – Meegan Lillis participated in a conference call on how content is shared in the system.
  • Blackboard Community and Content Cohort Program – Eric Kunnen participated in a conference call with Baldwin-Wallace on a new cohort program for schools using the Content System and Community System.  The intent is to help share best practices, collaborate, and learn from each other in the use of these tools in teaching and learning.
  • Davenport University Online Conference – An email invitation was sent to all GRCC Faculty to invite our professor to join Davenport in their 2011 Davenport Online Faculty Conference on September 14th and 15th. The theme is “One size does not fit all: Adaptable teaching methods for a variety of online learning and instructors.”  The conference will focus on teaching tools and styles that increase clarity with class content and design for all types of learners. The conference is fully online through Wimba Classroom.  For a full schedule visit
  • GRCC Hosts Fall ETOM Conference – Eric Kunnen sent an email to all faculty to encourage them to submit a presentation for the ETOM Fall Conference that will be hosted by GRCC.  The Educational Technology Organization of Michigan (ETOM) will hold their annual fall conference on Friday, October 14 at the DeVos Campus.  The ETOM conference focuses on showcasing best practices in the field of educational technology, distance learning, classroom technology, and information resources and technology.  Proposals for presentations are now being accepted at the ETOM website: (Deadline is September 28th.)

Department Action Projects

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

  • Project 1 – Extend DL Program
    • College Strategic Planning Document – Eric Kunnen drafted the Strategic Planning Document and it was submitted on Sept 1.  Revisions were also requested and submitted on Sept 7.  This document was also shared with IT and the DL CAP Team.  Meetings have also been setup for the team.
    • Streamlining Online Course Process – Eric Kunnen met with Bill Faber on the Online Course Development and Process.   The goal is to continue to streamline and make more effective this process.  This first meeting we reviewed the current process and made notes about areas that could be improved, such as when an instructor is compensated for development.
    • CO252 Advanced Photoshop – The Deans Council Sub-Committee for Online Course Approvals has approved the development of CO252.  The next phase will be the instructor will work with Meegan Lillis to schedule and prepare a plan for building the online course according to GRCC’s course development rubric.
    • College Action Plan 5.1.2 – Eric Kunnen joined the Starfish CAP which is to “Integrate the Starfish Early Alert program into all GRCC programs and courses.”  The Starfish Early Alert system is an important part of our student retention and student success plans for online learning.
    • Additional OHCC Session for October – Garry Brand assisted in coordinating and creating an additional cohort and section for the Online and Hybrid Certification Course.  This will allow us to certify more faculty this semester.  The 2 sections with lead facilitators are: DLIT.OHCC.F11 (Instructors are Garry and Tim) and DLIT.OHCC2.F11 (Instructors are Luann and Tim).
    • DL Requested Addition to Survival Guide & Handbook – Eric Kunnen requested the addition of Distance Learning narrative and content to the student survival guide.  There is currently no mention of this learning option for students.  Advancing online learning will include marketing and also promotion of the distance learning program.  These student facing documents are an excellent medium and delivery channel.  These resources are: and the handbook site is here:
    • OHCC Ends with 15 Certified Instructors – Congratulations to the following faculty are certified (Department Heads, Deans, Associate Deans, and a post in GRCC Today was part of the communication.):

      Stephen Barton
      Melissa Buurstra
      Gilbert Carde
      Bertha     Chivis
      Raymond Clegg
      Jonathan Edelman
      Peter Genovese
      Amy Kerkstra
      Beth Paver
      Robin Sterk
      Donald Van Oeveren
      John Wittkowski
      David Young

  • Project 2 – Enhance Classroom and Instructional Technologies
    • GRCC Digital Initiative – Meegan Lillis created a checkout and checkin process for the initiative.  The forms are here:  There purpose is to gather instruction objectives as well as intended use of the hardware and software.  The followup form is intended to gather feedback on use and to uncover any obstacles.
  • Project 3 – Extend Blackboard Learn, Content, Community
    • Blackboard Usage Report – A report was shared with Deans.  This report provides access data for all instructors and courses for the AGC minimum use standard policy.
    • Chat LIVE 12 to 5 with DLIT – Isaac and the DLIT team were available every day from 12 to 5 PM (except Tuesday) to assist faculty with Blackboard using the Blackboard IM tool.
    • Professor Notification Tool – Meegan Lillis created a faculty tutorial on using the new Blackboard Connect features to increase communication with students. See:
    • Bb Basics Session Promo – 123 faculty (that haven’t logged into Blackboard since the semester start) were emailed to encourage them to attend Bb Basics on Thursday.
    • SafeAssign Release Statements – Eric Kunnen gathered sample syllabi SafeAssign release statements and shared these with a syllabus email group for potential inclusion into the syllabus template that is available here:
    • Starfish Attendance Demo – DLIT participated in a demo of the included attendance feature in Starfish Early Alert.  We plan to investigate the features for faculty use as well as for the athletics department who has inquired using Blackboard to track athlete eligability regarding their classroom attendance.
    • Blackboard Team Meeting – Fred Bauman, Eric Kunnen, Meegan Lillis, Mark Nordblom, and Garry Brand met.

      Agenda Items
      1) Issues and Patch Testing
      2) Building Blocks  Testing
      3) Starfish Early Alert Issues and Status
      4) Relay Login Issues
      5) Automation Fixes and EnhnancementsMeeting minutes are available here:

Other Work within Your Department

This area includes accomplishments, milestones, or comments from within the department.

  • New DLIT Blog Post – Garry Brand worked with Cheryl Kautz to submit a blog post on a variety of ways to access your rosters in Bb. See:
  • MCCVLC Webinars to be added to CTE Calendar – The following MCCVLC webinars were added to the CTE schedule:

    Webinars (11am – 12pm)Copyright, Fair Use, and Digital Content for Educators (September 22, 2011) Online Learning (October 13, 2011)
    One effective way of actively engage online learners is through the use of scenario-based learning. The goal is to compel the learners to organize and structure their responses to the given problem by using practical exercises that can transfer to activities outside of the educational environment.

    Good practices in Online Delivery of Developmental education (November 17, 2011)
    Few DE topics are more controversial than the offering of developmental courses via online delivery. We’ll look at some of the data related to online developmental courses, and talk with two experienced online educators about some of the good practices that they have developed over time.

    Measuring Student Satisfaction with Online Learning (December 8, 2011)
    To date there is only one nationally-normed, student satisfaction survey that is aimed specifically at online learners. We’ll take a look at the valuable information that can be gained from gathering satisfaction data from your online learners and how you can get improvements over time in the levels of satisfaction.

    Evaluating Performance of Online Faculty (January 19, 2012)
    Most colleges that offer online learning have not developed the tools and expertise needed to evaluate the quality of online instruction. Typically they lack the administrative skillset needed to evaluate online faculty performance, as well as a rubric or guide for making the evaluation. We’ll address both issues in this webinar.

    Student Preparedness for Online Learning (February 9, 2012)
    We’ll look at some of the more prominent examples and good practices currently in use in regard to assessing student preparedness for online learning.

    Evaluating Online Learning Programs (March 22, 2012)
    Which criteria are relevant when evaluating online programs? What tools are available to help colleges and universities assess the quality across the breadth and depth of their online offerings? We’ll look at the relevance of course quality evaluations, e-services audits, online teaching evaluations, assessments of online learning, student satisfaction surveys, completion rates analyses, graduation rates, placement rates, end-of-term evaluations, and other factors that can be considered when evaluating online programs.

    Good Practices for New Online Student Orientation, Student Support Services, and Professional Development (April 12, 2012)
    Three main recommendations came out of the CCRC reports on online student success rates in Washington and Virginia. These reports stressed the importance of a required orientation for new online students, high levels of student support services, and robust professional development opportunities for online faculty. We’ll look at good practices in each of these areas.

    Accessibility for Online Learning (April 19,2012)
    We’ll look at the current requirements for web accessibility as it relates to online learning and services, as well as some of the newer tools that can help online faculty and instructional designers improve the accessibility of online courses.

    Using Free Online Office Productivity Services in eLearning (May 10, 2012)
    Microsoft Office wasn’t built to be used on the web. Now they’re playing catchup with robust suites like Zoho and Google Docs. We’ll take a look at the current landscape regarding online office products and their uses in education.

  • DLIT Updates to Training – Garry Brand sent an email to the team to work to “clean-up” our online offerings.  This work is important so that we have accurate content (e.g. fix video links, remove old content, update announcements, hide surveys) in the following courses:

    Blackboard Basics Online (Luann)
    Blackboard Grade Center Online (Tim)
    DLIT.OHCC.F11 (Garry)
    DLIT. OHCC2.F11 (Luann)
    Blackboard Training (used for delivery of resources and surveys)
    – Basics Module (Luann)
    – Grade Center (Tim)
    – Content System (Garry)
    – Mashups (Garry)
    – Communication and Collaboration (Luann)
    – Wikis, Journals and Blogs (Garry)
    Wimba Pronto Training (Luann)

  • DLIT and IT / Semester Recap Meeting – David Anderson, Mark Nordblom, Kevin O’Hall, Fred Bauman, Meegan Lillis, Garry Brand, and Eric Kunnen met to review the semester start and to continue to build collaboration and cohesiveness.

    1) Semester Startup Review
    2) Supporting Faculty
    3) Looking Forward & Working Together

  • DLIT Website
    • Softchalk Web Page & GRCC Digital Initiative – A Softchalk page was created by Garry Brand.  Softchalk is a powerful courseware development tool that DLIT is researching for use in authoring content for online courses.  Also, SoftChalk can publish directly to our version of Blackboard using a Building Block.  (We are currently testing this on our development environment.)

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