Join #GoogleGlass at GVSU – Invitation ends December 21!

Google Glass

Get Google Glass at GVSU!

Calling all faculty, staff, and students at GVSU!  Would you like to have your own pair of Google Glass?

Grand Valley State University has been part of the Google Glass Explorer program through the Information Technology department’s Technology Showcase which is located in the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons.  As an early Google Glass Explorer,  we have been offered the opportunity to invite 3 people to join the program!

This invitation is open to faculty, staff, and students at GVSU.   If you are interested in purchasing Google Glass and joining the program, compose a tweet with the hashtag #GVSUGlass about how you would use Google Glass at GVSU and follow @GVSUTechShow on Twitter.  Winners will be selected based on these tweets on Sunday, December 22.  (Note that this is a contest for a Google Glass invitation only, winners will need to purchase Google Glass.)

Here is how to submit a nomination:

  1. Compose a tweet describing how you would use Google Glass at GVSU and add the hashtag #GVSUGlass
  2. Follow @GVTechShowcase

This invitation and nomination opportunity ends at 11:29PM on Saturday, Dec. 21st – so act now!  If selected, the winners will be contacted on Sunday, December 22nd via Twitter direct message from @GVSUTechShow.  Once contacted on Sunday, winners will need to respond within 24 hours with their name and GVSU email address to be eligible to be entered to receive an explorer invitation with the ability to purchase Google Glass.

Note:  All Glass Explorers must

  • be a US resident
  • be 18 years or older
  • purchase Glass ($1,500)
  • provide a U.S. based shipping address OR pick up the device in New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles

GVSU Library as seen #ThroughGlass

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Yesterday, I had an opportunity to take Google Glass out to explore the new Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons at GVSU.  It was a great opportunity to talk to students and staff around the potential of such an amazing technology like Google Glass.

Below is a video of the ASRS (Automated Storage and Retreival System) which stores up to 600,000 books.  Jackie from the library provides a short explanation of how it works!

What are your thoughts about leveraging the use of Google Glass at GVSU?

ECAR Report on E-Learning in Higher Ed

ECAR State of E-LearningECAR, the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research, has recently released a report (“The State of E-Learning in Higher Education:  An Eye toward Growth and Increased Access“) that focuses on “e-learning” aka “online learning”.  The report highlights the grown of online learning along with some of the challenges.

The recommendations (see below) included in this report [PDF] are important for strategic planning and can be extremely helpful as practical examples moving forward.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • Nearly all institutions have a major interest in e-learning, at least at the level of some departments. Online courses are ubiquitous, with over 80% of institutions offering at least several courses online and more than half offering a significant number of courses online.
  • Two-year (AA) institutions have historically been leaders in using distance courses to attract nontraditional students, and these institutions continue to pave the way in online course offerings to attract “post-traditional learners.” Among all Carnegie classes, AA institutions are most likely to have a center dedicated to e-learning and are most likely to offer a significant number of online courses.
  • For successful, large-scale implementation of e-learning, a centralized model provides more efficiency and seamless integration of e-learning services and is characteristic of more mature institutions. However, for some institutions, a distributed model allows for more innovation and individualization for specific programs.
  • There is a desire to more than double the number of e-learning staff in central IT. The most-desired positions include course designers, professional development staff, and app designers. IT is involved in the management of e-learning services in almost two-thirds of institutions.
  • Institutions in general are most mature in their synergy of e-learning systems and are least mature in using analytics to assess e-learning outcomes.”

What are some of the key recommendations in the report [PDF]?

  • Make e-learning initiatives part of the institution’s strategic plan and budget.
  • Faculty development programs should be coupled with technologies that are deployed and provide the infrastructure for online learning.
  • Develop e-learning incentives for faculty to nurture faculty interest in teaching with technology.
  • Designate an office or center to manage, coordinate, and administer the necessary services along with assist in providing the management and vision for online learning.
  • Develop a strategy to support students and their needs.  From online readiness to technical support to help to ensure student success and retention.
  • Consider partnering with content providers (open education resources), technology vendors, and support services to provide a comprehensive online program.
  • Make course design support flexible and responsive to faculty needs.  Ensure that the technology is easy to use and that faculty are aware of where to receive support and what technologies are available to them to help shape their instructional design and pedagogical application of technology in teaching.  Is there enough staffing to support the growth and professional development needs?
  • Consider increasing the number of staff to support e-learning initiatives.  Training, instructional design, quality, and student support require people who have the pulse of what is needed and can assist in a timely manner.
  • E-Learning technologies should focus on ease of use, integration, reliability and effectiveness.  The technology should provide the needed resources for faculty (course delivery, retention, communication, grading, and efficient/effective tools to teach), students (social learning and personal learning networks and management), and the administration (reporting, big data, analysis, student success/retention).

How does your institution score on the progress in E-Learning?  Take the ECAR E-Learning Maturity Index Assessment to find out!  This assessment covers areas such as: Priority, Readiness, Ongoing Evaluation/Training, Policies/Governance, Investment in Faculty/Staff, Outcomes Assessment, and Synergy.

E-Learning Maturity Index

E-Learning Maturity Index

Polls by Blackboard without the Clickers

Clickers have been around for a while now, but as single use devices they can be costly for students and offer limited value and use – when compared to full featured mobile devices.  Enter web-based student response systems.  There are many on the market, each with their strengths coupled with complexity.  If the desire is for quick polling in lectures, something quick and easy is often desired.

Blackboard has recently entered this space with a clean, quick, and super easy technology called Polls by Blackboard.  The system can be accessed (without purchasing a clicker device in the bookstore) via Mobile App on iOS and works on any device.  Facebook integration is also simple, easy, and works right out of the box.  It’s FREE, give it a try today!

Polls by Blackboard ( was released by a new division called “Blackboard Labs” that is a “skunk works” of sorts.  I’ve always thought this type of unit within Blackboard was needed and it’s exciting to see movement here to further ramp up and accelerate innovation and creativity.

Here Ray Henderson, a member of the Board of Directors at Blackboard, talks about the new polls feature and the goal of Blackboard Labs.

In addition, Blackboard continues to innovate rapidly across their suite of tools.  Here are a few examples from their product roadmap with some of the new features coming… with some of the capabilities here already:

  • Attendance Tracking
  • Badges and Achievements
  • First Time User Configuration
  • Course analyzer linked to the Bb Exemplary Rubric
  • Final Grades to SIS (Banner/Peoplesoft)
  • Student Learning Paths
  • Mobile Grading Features
  • New Gradebook Item and Workflow Views
  • New Portfolio Tool with Course Artifacts and Assignment Features
  • Responsive Design across the System

All these and more coming soon to a Blackboard near you!

3D Printing at GVSU

3D printing offers all sorts of potential and possibilities!  GVSU’s Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons has two 3D printers that are available to students and faculty.

Every Tuesday and Thursday the Technology Showcase (Room 012 Atrium Level) in the new library hosts a demonstration from noon to 1:00.  Have a question?  Want to see a 3D printer in action?  Stop by!

  • Modeling – Create 3D objects of virtual blueprints
  • Prototyping – Create prototypes for experimental objects
  • Visualizations – Complex abstract objects in 3D

Learn more about 3D printing at GVSU on the library Makerspace page.  The Makerspace is a lab for you to create, tinker, and explore.  There are two 3-D printers and specialized modeling software for use by current GVSU students, faculty, and staff.

Also, are you interested in making?  Do you tinker?  Would you like to create?  Check out the GR Makers space located in Grand Rapids.

Honored to be Recognized as a Blackboard MVP


Just in!  It is a huge honor and privilege to be recognized as an inaugural member of the Blackboard MVP Program!

What is the Blackboard MVP Program?

The Blackboard MVP Program, recognizes individuals who have established themselves as thought leaders in educational technology by sharing their expertise in Blackboard platforms.  Blackboard MVPs are users who stand out as an expert in Blackboard technologies, share their expertise with other clients, demonstrate leadership in the education technology community, and actively share feedback with Blackboard. While the MVP program will be peer-nominated in the future, the inaugural class of 17 was selected by Blackboard.

 “We are proud to recognize Blackboard MVPs for reaching beyond the borders of their institutions and organizations to share their knowledge of and best practices with our products to the larger Blackboard community,” said Jay Bhatt, Chief Executive Officer at Blackboard. “This program is incredibly powerful as it provides a platform not only for users to collaborate and learn from each other, but also for our company leaders to hear directly from the people who use our solutions in the field, every day. Blackboard MVPs are truly helping improve the learning experience and address important challenges in education.”

I have been using Blackboard since 1999 and I have witnessed ongoing innovation over the years as the course management system has become an essential tool for teachers and an expectation for students.  There is such an awesome community around Blackboard and it’s a pleasure to be part of a great group of colleagues on mission to enhance education.

Here is the first inaugural class of MVPs!



Learn More About Blackboard MVP >