#SXSWedu Fostering Innovation in Teaching and Learning via #EdTech

How can we enhance education and improve student success with technology?

logoThis question is front and center at the SXSWedu Conference. SXSWedu:

“fosters innovation in learning by hosting a diverse and energetic community of stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds in education.”

With over 8,000+ attendees from around the world, the conference is a valuable interchange of ideas at the intersection of teaching, learning, and technology.

There are a wide array of sessions and topics at SXSWedu.  Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies captured the following notes and highlights from the event:

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Kim Kenward & Justin Melick share “online student presentations” for Penn State Conference


Kim Kenward, instructional designer, and Justin Melick, digital media developer, in eLearning and Emerging Technologies presented with Dr. Rosemary Cleveland, COE Faculty, presented at the 7th annual virtual conference for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE).

The session was held on Monday, February 15 at 11am EST via Blackboard Collaborate and their session topic was “Moving Student Presentations Online” and there were over 30 attendees from across the nation.

Session: Moving Student Presentations Online

Abstract: Our conference presentation will help faculty and instructional designers identify technology resources and assignment design considerations for supporting online student presentations. This session will also provide information on the role of student project partners to facilitate student engagement opportunities for peer review, feedback and building online community.
  • Kimberly Kenward, Instructional Designer, kenwardk@gvsu.edu
  • Justin Melick, Digital Media Developer, melicjus@gvsu.edu
  • Dr. Rosemary Cleveland, Education Faculty, clevelro@gvsu.edu
    Grand Valley State University

Kim Kenward has worked as an instructional designer for over eighteen years. She has taught and developed several online/hybrid educational technology courses, as well as worked as the Instruction Librarian and Library Director at various institutions. Kim is actively involved in the GVSU College of Education teacher preparation programs, specifically in the area of integrating technology into teaching and learning.

Justin Melick is a Digital Media Developer at Grand Valley where he works with faculty to create a variety of digital content for their courses. He specifically works with faculty to increase instructor presence in their online and hybrid courses and is responsible for building and pioneering the use of GVSU’s Lightboard.

Dr. Rosemary Cleveland has been a faculty member in the GVSU College of Education for fourteen years. Previous to that, she was a school administrator and a teacher for thirty-one years. Rosemary teaches in the graduate teacher certification program in both the online and in-seat format. She is passionate about teacher leadership and curriculum development.

Building community is essential in online learning! – Rosemary Cleveland
Get started with building community in your class on day one. Here, Dr. Cleveland begins her courses with having students create an “about me” slide in Powerpoint.
Attendees in the session shared a variety of ideas of assessment activities for students, ranging from using the discussion boards and peer review tools in the LMS, to ApprenNet, to Voicethread.
GVSU uses Blackboard and Ensemble video for technologies to support this work.  Justin provides support to faculty and students to tackle the technical pieces. A helpful video for students gives students some tips for creating mobile video.  Here is the video:
Screencast-O-Matic is a great tool for students to use to record the screen and share their video assessments.
For more information, please check out the presentation slides on Slideshare!

Optimizing #EdTech is #2 in EDUCAUSE’s Top 10 IT Issues

Each year, EDUCAUSE researches the trends impacting education through technology – and the role that technology plays in advancing teaching and learning in a “Top 10 IT Issues” list.

Drum roll please… this year, #2 in the Top 10 IT Issues for 2016 is…

“Optimizing Educational Technology”

With a wealth of technological resources we have at our finger tips, staying up to speed can be a challenge.  Our focus in eLearning and Emerging Technologies is to not only help to provide access to technology but to assist faculty in adopting technology tools that can help to enhance teaching and learning – to solve instructional problems and with the ultimate goal of improving student success and retention.

Optimizing Educational Technology is what eLearning and Emerging Technologies at GVSU is all about!

As shown in the chart above, the top 2 technologies in which the highest percentage of faculty desire more training are: “Online Collaboration Tools” at 61% and the “LMS” (Blackboard) at 60%.  Along these lines, the eLearning staff provides a wide array of training through seminars offered in GVSU’s Sprout system. The eLearning team also offers individual consultations to help support faculty.  In fact, a list of upcoming workshops can be found on our website.  In addition, please reach out us if we can provide assistance to you!

As indicated in the survey results, the LMS (Blackboard) continues to be an important resource for faculty and students.  In fact, when students were surveyed as part of the ECAR study at GVSU, 94% indicated that Blackboard was used in at least one of their courses, with 54% reporting that all of their classes used an LMS.


Interested in learning more about GVSU’s student and faculty ECAR research survey results? Check out this related post:


GVSU Ranked 6th in the Nation for PBS LearningMedia Use

kenwardk_150tLooking for a way to create some interest and engagement in your course? Digital resources through PBS LearningMedia provides “Infinite Inspiration for your Classroom”… In this post, Kim Kenward, Instructional Designer in IDeL, highlights GVSU’s work with WGVU and PBS LearningMedia.

PBS Learning Media logo.jpg

Did you know that GVSU is currently ranked sixth in the entire nation for most usage and “hits” on PBS Learning Media?  Based on usage by faculty and students, our use of the video resources has been recognized by PBS!

If you haven’t explored this amazing online resource, this innovative tool provides an amazing wealth of “free” media resources, thousands of innovative, standards-aligned digital resources, and professional development opportunities.  

You can search for resources and embed them easily in your Blackboard coursesite! Each resource has a recommended grade level and includes educational standards information. Here is an example:



Interested in searching for course videos or digital resources?  You can get started today by registering and creating your account at: http://wgvu.pbslearningmedia.org

In addition, if you would like more information, you contact Mike Fillman (fillmanm@gvsu.edu), WGVU Education Coordinator, with any questions, trainings or assistance you may need with using PBS LearningMedia.  

Look for Mike Fillman at our 15th Annual Teaching & Learning with Technology Symposium that will be held on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 in the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons.

Bring your Ideas to Life in the Atomic Object Technology Showcase with #3DPrinting

The Atomic Object Technology Showcase is…

A place to explore the latest in technology and bring your ideas to life!

Did You Know: Faculty, staff, and students at GVSU can now print 3D objects… for FREE!

Where: Room 012 atrium level at the Mary Idema Pew Library


Monday,Wednesday from 10a-10p

Tuesday, Thursday from 10a-9p

Friday from 11a-5p

Why: The Atomic Object Technology Showcase exists to serve as a place to showcase new technologies and introduce the students and faculty of Grand Valley to emerging technologies. All of the technologies have an educational component to them, and could be used to help both student learning and professor teaching.

What: This is the fun part… all the technology! We have over 30 different advanced technologies, from Google Glass to 3D printing.

Here are some of our favorites:

The Oculus Rift, immerse yourself in a 360 degree, 3D world!

The Oculus Rift, immerse yourself in a 360 degree, 3D world!

The Double Robot, A telepresence machine that lets you be in two places at one!

The Double Robot, A telepresence machine that lets you be in two places at one!

Google Cardboard- Like the Oculus rift, but for a fraction of the cost!

Google Cardboard- Like the Oculus rift, but for a fraction of the cost!

Makerbot 3D printers!  3D print… For Free!!!

Makerbot 3D printers!
3D print… For Free!!!

What To Do Now: Come in anytime we’re open and see what we have to offer!

Interviews with Students:

Kelsey- “My favorite technology is the smell one”- by which she means our newest piece of technology, the OPhone! This gadget can recreate smells on the fly!

Brendan- “I heard about it through a friend that said to come check it out, and was surprised how cool it was.”

Aaron- “I am definitely going to have to check this room out more often!”

This post was written by Travis Brubaker, Emerging Technology Specialist and student assistant in the showcase.

Learn more about the Atomic Object Technology Showcase.

GVSU to celebrate National Distance Learning Week on November 13, 2015

GVSU will be celebrating National Distance Learning Week (NDLW) from November 9-13, 2015 to recognize the continued growth and value of online and hybrid learning at the university. NDLW is organized by the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) and serves to highlight the successes and value of distance education.

To celebrate and to recognize faculty at Grand Valley State University, IDeL in the eLearning and Emerging Technologies group, and the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center (FTLC) have organized a breakfast on November 13, 2015!


We know how much work it takes to develop and teach quality online/hybrid courses and we appreciate the work of the faculty here at GVSU. Join us and allow us to treat you to a light breakfast in honor of National Distance Learning Week!

WHEN: Please stop by anytime between 8:30am – 10am on Friday November 13, 2015


WHY: For an informal meet, greet, and eat. This event is by the staff of IDeL (Instructional Design for eLearning) and the Pew Faculty Teaching & Learning Center.

RSVP: Please RSVP!

Grand Valley State University offers a wide array of courses and degree programs in the online and hybrid format with over 150 courses and just over 3,500 total student enrollments in distance education courses as of the Fall semester 2015. This represents a 91% increase in enrollment since 2011 with 12% of students at GVSU taking at least 1 online/hybrid course.  Online and hybrid learning is an important flexible learning option at the university.  In addition, over 500 faculty have been certified to teach online/hybrid courses through the Foundations course that is offered through IDeL and the FTLC.

According to the most recent report and 2014 Survey of Online Learning, Grade Level: Tracking Online Education in the United States, there are more than 7.1 million higher ed students learning online with 33% of all higher ed students taking at least 1 online course.  In addition, 70.8% chief academic leaders are now reporting that online learning is critical to their long-term strategy for their institutions, which is an all time high.  This connects to GVSU’s 2021 Strategic Plan as well in the following areas:

Strategic Priority 3: Ensure the alignment of institutional structures and functions.

Institutional outcome D: Grand Valley supports innovative teaching, learning, integrative scholarly and creative activity, and the use of new technologies.

Objective 3.D.2: At least 30% of undergraduate courses are offered in innovative approaches and formats, such as hybrid, online and competency-oriented. Baseline for undergraduate courses for Fall 2014 is 6%.

Objective 3.D.3: At least 30% of graduate courses are offered in innovative approaches and such as hybrid, online and competency-oriented. Baseline for graduate courses for Fall 2014 is 25%.

If you are interested in learning more, check out the eLearning and Emerging Technologies and IDeL websites along with the online/hybrid education faculty resources site at GVSU.

PBS provides video content for courses at GVSU

In a special session organized by Kim Kenward, instructional designer in IDeL, faculty and staff at GVSU learned about a new resources available via a special partnership with PBS.  Faculty and students can access thousands of FREE, standards-aligned digital resources that can be used for classroom and online courses.

With 100k+ digital resources from a variety of subjects, faculty can integrate the content into their curriculum to help their students make connections to a variety of topics.  Developed in partnership with the WGBH Educational Foundation and supported by public media stations nationwide, PBS LearningMedia offers multiple service levels to millions of educators and students.

In July, Rosemary Cleveland, GVSU COE proferssor and graduate teacher certification students were filmed by WGVU regarding their training and use of PBS Learning Media.  This video is currently on the WGVU Home Page and is airing multiple times on WGVU HD from now until October 30.

Background information about PBS Learning Media can be found at:

Learn more about PBS LearningMedia and create your account by visiting: http://pbslearningmedia.org  You can also follow PBS LearningMedia on Twitter and Facebook.