GRCC at BbWorld12

Pictured left to right – Eric Kunnen (DLIT, Director), Cheryl Kautz (Computer Applications Department Adjunct Professor), Meegan Willi (DLIT, Instructional Designer/Technologist) at the Blackboard Exemplary Course Award Luncheon

Cheryl Kautz (Computer Applications Professor), Meegan Willi (DLIT Instructional Designer/Technologist), and Eric Kunnen (Director of Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies) had the opportunity to attend the 14th national BbWorld 2012 conference that was held at the convention center last week in New Orleans.

BbWorld’12 offered a wide array of over 175 client-led sessions and was the largest Blackboard conference to date with over 3,500 attendees from over 1000 institutions and over 280 Bb partners.

Here are a few photos and highlights from Grand Rapids Community College at the BbWorld12 national conference:

(Note: For an overview and summary of BbWorld’s keynotes and conference, please be sure to see: “BbWorld12 Conference Highlights and Summary” as well as the additional posts on this GRCC BbWorld Blog.)

On Social Media, Blogging, and Twitter

  • 25+ blog posts were written by Cheryl, Meegan, and Eric.  The posts capture the notes and key learning from the event.  All posts are available on this blog at:
  • In the past week there were over 11,000 Twitter mentions about BbW12 and BbWorld with over 100 tweets coming from Meegan and Eric.  Twitter messages from the conference are available via Twitter’s search feature here.
  • Meegan and Eric were highlighted as top influencers on Blackboard’s Hashcaster site.

    Blackboard’s Hashcaster Site

  • Meegan Willi and Eric Kunnen served as official BbWorld bloggers.

    Meegan Willi, DLIT Instructional Designer/Technologist – Official BbWorld Blogger

    Eric Kunnen, DLIT Director – Official BbWorld Blogger

About and Around the Conference

  • Eric spent time as an Ask Dr C (complete with lab coat 🙂 ) sharing best practices, answering questions, and connecting with peers from a wide array of institutions.

    Bb Ask Dr C, Eric Kunnen in the Upgrade Center and Digital Content Booth

    Pictured left to right: Eric Kunnen (GRCC), Henk van Rijssen (ROC Midden Nederland), Mike Zimmerman (University of Nebraska, Omaha)

  • Eric served on the program committee for the conference.
  • BIE Steering Committee and Bb Collaborate Product Advisory Council meetings were attended by Eric Kunnen.

On Presentations at the Conference

  • Eric presented as a panelist with Jacksonville State University, University of Maryland, and Montgomery County  in 2 sessions: “Blackboard Analytics for Learn – Panel Discussion” and “Mobility and Course Communications: Bb Connect

    GRCC DLIT Director Eric Kunnen – Presenting at a  Panel Session on Bb Analytics for Learn

  • Adjunct Computer Applications Professor, Cheryl Kautz, was highlighted for receiving the Blackboard Exemplary Course Award in a special award luncheon where Ray Henderson, CTO and President of Academic Platforms, presented Cheryl with her award.  Cheryl also gave a live demonstration of her award winning course on the first day of the conference in the Digital Content Booth.

    Cheryl Kautz receiving the Bb Exemplary Course Award from President of Academic Platforms and CTO, Ray Henderson

    Cheryl Kautz receiving the Bb Exemplary Course Award from President of Academic Platforms and CTO, Ray Henderson

  • Cheryl Kautz also presented with San Jacinto College, University of Miami, and Colorado State University on a panel at BbWorld entitled: “Beyond the Bells and Whistles – Exemplary Courses and Best Practices

    GRCC Computer Applications Adjunct Professor, Cheryl Kautz – Presenting at BbWorld


BbWorld12 Conference Highlights & Summary

Cheryl Kautz (Computer Applications Professor), Meegan Willi (DLIT Instructional Designer/Technologist), and Eric Kunnen (Director of Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies) had the opportunity to attend the 14th national BbWorld 2012 conference that was held at the convention center last week in New Orleans. (See also the blog post and recap of “GRCC at BbWorld12” for the highlights and notes from Cheryl, Meegan, and Eric.)

BbWorld’12 offered a wide array of over 175 client-led sessions at this event that covered topics from teaching to the system administration of Blackboard.  The focus tracks this year included: digital content, social learning, analytics, and mobility.  Keynote sessions were delivered by Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Sal Khan, creator of the Khan Academy.  There was also a Blackboard keynote by Michael Chasen, President and CEO and Ray Henderson, CTO and President of Academic Platforms.

BbWorld12 was the largest Blackboard conference to date with over 3,500 attendees from over 1000 institutions and over 280 Bb partners.  This event was a huge success and provided the outstanding opportunity to:

  • Connect with other Blackboard users and colleges from around the world.
  • Network with peers who share in building, expanding, enhancing and improving the use of Bb in teaching and learning.
  • Discover best practices and emerging technologies and teaching techniques.
  • Explore and identify new products and services that can advance the services we provide at the college.
  • Engage and participate in informal discussions and panel sessions around key themes and topics impacting education.
  • Hear inspiring keynotes from thought leaders on the intersection of technology and education.
  • Learn from innovative speakers that approach the next generation of teaching and learning with technology.

The top highlights from the BbWorld conference included:

  • Keynote by Freeman Hrabowski, President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County on “Innovation in Higher Education: Leadership and the Role of Technology

    The university’s president started out with a simple statement: “Education is becoming something you can get anytime/anywhere… Things are a changing…”.  President Hrabowski’s engaging keynote was inspiring and provided goals that all educators and institutions can aspire to.  We need to focus on “Academic Innovation” which allows education to becoming much better than we are currently.  Rather than focus on the notion of “access” – we need to focus on access AND success in the same sentence.  Online learning and hybrid courses can lead to better results than face to face courses and

    “We must believe that we can make a difference in the world.  America is great and can be greater than ever before.”

  • Keynote by Michael Chasen (President and CEO of Bb), Ray Henderson (CTO and President of Academic Platforms) on: “Blackboard Corporate Keynote

    This session opened with a thought provoking video of “The Voice of the Active Learner“.  Also highlighted was Blackboard’s innovative vision, a focus on the fundamentals, and several new services and a mobile showcase.

    Bb announced “Projectxp” which will bring several new innovations that include a new: discussion board, calendar, and an exciting new way to share learning content within the institution and beyond through “xpLor” which is a new learning object repository coming later this year.

    Support was also discussion with 89% of tickets resolved within 1 day and an 8X improvement in extensive product testing.  Client satisfaction is at an all time high and Bb is committed to quality at all levels of the platform.

    In addition to “xpLor” mentioned above, new features include: improved item analysis for assessments, new interface with easy global navigation, new enterprise survey tool included at no charge, improved text messaging support also included, enhanced 2 way SMS text messaging for Bb Connect, a brand new Analytics platform for reporting and student insights from courses, the live Bb Collaborate tool now has integration with the gradebook and mobile features, and finally, a brand new “Social Learning” system is coming the provides enhanced profiles, student social spaces, profiles, activity streams and more!  Blackboard also announced that students can now purchase Bb Mobile Learn on iOS and Android devices for $1.99 for a yearly subscription and $5.99 for unlimited use.

    Additional notes are available here: “Blackboard Corporate Keynote“.

  • Keynote by Sal Khan founder of Khan Academy on: “Rethinking Education

    Sal’s session was very inspiring and the mission of the Khan Academy is: “A free, world-class education for anyone anywhere”.

    He shared stories of how technology is benefiting students from around the world and how it can significantly increase student – to – teacher ratio time by shifting some of the lecture content from classroom time to homework aka “Flipped Classroom” model.  In this model (in use by several GRCC faculty) instructors can spend most of their time on interventions with students, working individually with them, group activities, and hands-on learning in the classroom.

  • Day 1 Recap Video
  • Day 2 Recap Video
  • Day 3 Recap Video
  • Voice of the Active Student Video
  • BbWorld12 Session Presentations are available (74 to date) on Blackboard’s Slideshare account.

Beyond the Bells and Whistles – Exemplary Courses and Best Practices

Professor Cheryl Kautz talking about course design strategies that she used in her Exemplary Course.

Tess Bader
Instructional Technology Coordinator, Colorado State University Global Campus

Chris Duke
Director of Curriculum and Assessment, San Jacinto College, Adjunct Faculty, Lone Star College Cy-Fair

Deborah Everhart
Chief Architect, Blackboard Learn

Lyndon Godsal
Instructional Designer, University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies

Cheryl Kautz
Adjunct Professor, Grand Rapids Community College

Session Description
Join the Directors, reviewers, and winners of Blackboard’s Exemplary Course Program (ECP) as we focus on the importance of pedagogical best practices. We will discuss the design and teaching principles behind the ECP rubric; the impact of exemplary courses on the student experience; and how the ECP and its rubric can be used for individual course improvement, faculty training, and professional development. Several of this year’s ECP winners will demonstrate best practices in their winning courses.


  • Over 150 courses were submitted this year in the Exemplary Course Award Program
  • The program uses a rubric on course design, interaction, assessment, and learner support.
  • Colorado State
    • Uses Bb Collaborate for live sessions and sessions are archived.
    • Students are given feedback on their work through
    • Uses a module approach that includes media for lectures (written narrative, podcasts, videos embedded).  The videos have a transcript.
    • Check your understanding (ungraded) and mastery exercises (Bb quizzes of 10 questions) are used for formative assessment.  StudyMate is used for quick quizzes for ungraded assessment.
  • GRCC – Cheryl Kautz
    • Projects – Weekly folders include lecture and homework projects and resources.  Links are also included to previous student work as examples and to set expectations.  Manageable segments are consistent and variety of media. Camtasia is used for the video.  Each week has a help link that provides tutorial resources for learning the skills.  There are detailed instructions and screen shots that give extra support.  FAQs are also available and have been acquired over a number of years.
    • Interactive Rubrics – These are available in several places in the course.  Students can print the rubric that is required/used for project reviews.   The interactive rubrics are used from the grade center and are used to assess work and the score is saved automatically included in the gradebook.  This has been a huge time saver.
    • Rubric resources are available here: user/pass: bbw77
    • Tour available here.
  • San Jacinto College – Chris Duke
    • “ACAdemic” = Active / Collaborative / Authentic is a design philosophy for the course.
    • Uses dashboard announcements – used for curated content as much as the rest of the course.  Announcements are copied and reused each semester.
    • Chris uses a required and recommended approach for some of the content.  This gives them a filter and manage their time without being overwhelmed.
    • Modules > Objectives and content is sequential and varied.
    • Task list in Angel is used and helps students and guides them through due dates.
    • Automatic notifications help broadcast his presence in the course.  If students are not logging in, the students will get an email.
    • Links to “real world” websites such as HP, Microsoft, etc.
  • University of Miami – Lyndon Godsall
    • Consistency, communication, and appropriateness is key.
    • Units and learning modules were used in the design.  A unit reflects a week.
    • Communication was important too.  Collaborate, discussion boards, wikis, and blogs were used.
    • Multimedia was used with a focus on appropriateness – a purpose of use.
    • Learning modules were used for consistency.  Includes objectives, to do lists, reading, discussion board, seminar, additional resources, video, summary, powerpoint, and archived seminar from Bb Collaborate.
    • Video was custom and edited in house and uploaded to Vimeo.
    • Discussion boards were used in every unit to enable communication for peer to peer and teacher to student communication.
    • Wikis were used and students enjoyed contributing to the group wikis which was an additional mode of communication and vehicle for sharing ideas.
    • A class photo roster was beneficial since the students were never going to meet since it was an online class.  Created a feeling of connection among other students.
    • Bb Collaborate provided a way to hold online seminars to enhance student communication and allow them to communicate back in real time.  These sessions were archived.  The instructors used the polling function to keep the seminar interesting.

Rethinking Education


Sal Khan

Founder, Khan Academy

Session Description

With over 3,700,000 users per month, Khan Academy is transforming learning. Founder Salman Khan will provide insight into its history and evolution, and how we can rethink education.


      • Opening sample video from the Khan Academy [See: Khan Academy on YouTube or the Khan Academy website for sample videos.]
      • Khan Academy – “A free, world-class education for anyone anywhere”
        • 140 million+ lessons delivered
        • 500 million+ excerises done
        • 6+ million unique users (10 times all Harvard graduates since 1636)
      • Sal’s story started in 2004 working with his family on math problems for fun and for helping and tutoring his cousin. It started with phone calls and Yahoo IM. Long story short he started Khan Academy in tutoring and it grew from there. He began writing software that would generate problems for his cousins. Sal then had trouble scaling up his lessons and then started putting up his videos on YouTube. This worked because it shifted the time and gave them the opportunity to review… it then also made their live sessions more valuable. The videos started to be more popular on YouTube. Sal eventually quit is day job and started the academy as a non-profit.
      • The videos and content on Khan Academy sites are part of the picture with a sequence and content and the underlying software adds richness and guidance for learners.
      • Assessments are included which help identify gaps and builds and adapts in an individual way so that students are forced to build upon their “gaps” in knowledge.
      • Instead of holding fixed to a time to process through learning.  The variable is how long it takes and what is fixed – that everyone learns the topic.
      • You can do things with videos and tutorials that you can’t do with a text book.  (e.g. Hints, check answers, instant feedback, on demand interactive help, on demand tutorial and review content, etc.)
      • Faculty can spend most of their time on interventions with students, working individually with students, group work, etc. while students process content via the video and software.
      • The Khan Academy also includes a progress and analytics tracking mechanism to see where students are succeeding, where they are having trouble, and how far they are in progressing through the content.  If students are not performing, interventions can occur by peer students and/or the instructor.
      • Students are working at their preferred pace through differentiated instruction that is personalized and outcomes based.
      • Whenever you think of technology in the classroom you sometimes think of it as dehumanizing, but in fact it can increase the student – to – teacher ratio time is significantly increased via video.
      • NBC Video on Khan Academy
      • A couple of videos were played during the keynote on how the Khan videos are changing lives of real people around the world (orphans in Mongolia who is now a translator for Khan Academy videos!).
      • Use time in the classroom for other things and the videos can be watched offline. “Flipped Classroom” model.

Khan Academy – “A free, world-class education for anyone anywhere”

Technology Transforming Teaching – Faculty Showcase


Leona Barratt
, Technology Training Services Associate, Information Services, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Session Description
In order to encourage the use of technology in academics we have begun a program to showcase our faculty who are using technology to support and enhance academics.

This process involves targeting faculty that use various cutting edge tools then coordinating and tasking student workers to help with production. Our student staff learn skills by helping to conduct interviews, editing the videos, and assist in the creation of an interactive website that showcases these individuals.

Other faculty are exposed to success stories from peers, and be motivated to incorporate these kind of practices into their own academics.


  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln has been using Bb since CourseInfo 2.0 in 1999.
  • T3 Team – Technology Transforming Teaching team combines 8 people to focus on transparent and easy to use technology along with evaluating new technology while helping faculty engage and advance learning and to improve student success.
  • The goal was to create a showcase to tell other faculty what their peers are doing with technology.
  • Promotions that have worked well
    • Create certificates for training events.  If faculty attended 6 of the 11 workshops they would receive a certificate.
    • Power classroom week is a hands on week with clickers, Bb, Adobe Connect, and doing more with Powerpoint.  This is offered a week before faculty come back.
    • Lots of sharing among the audience for ideas for elevating technology in teaching.  Things such as awards, special technology events were faculty apply and receive a stipend such as $500, and more.
  • What technologies should be encouraged?  How about costs?
  • A technology model for decision making… what have money at the end of the year and we need to spend it!  Studies, research, evaluation have shown that it will enhance the classroom and learning experience.
  • How does your university decide on which technologies to use?  The audience responded with various models.  The focus is always on extending learning.
  • “The clickers journey” – This fell flat on it’s face… because the technology was IR based and it didn’t work well.  The college moved to i>clicker through a process of evaluation, testing, selection.  Radio frequency worked much better and provided a more transparent use, simple and easy to deploy, worked with Blackboard, and IT staff and ADA team was involved.  The equipment was installed in a “test classroom” where technology is evaluated.  This is a dedicated room for evaluation.  Feedback is provided along the way during the testing period.
  • Technology Transforming Teaching Process > Explore, Test, Research/Analyze, Training and Support, Research/Analyze Full Deployment
  • Ideas: Monthly High Tech Happy Hours (cocktail tables with computers, bar, appetizers), Knowledge Base (highlights faculty work with featured projects), Incentives to Encourage Faculty (stipends, ipads), Faculty Led Brown Bags Lunch, Symposium (instructors give short presentation, keynote), Website Showcase (California State Polytechnic University) –
  • Student workers helped with creating a showcase website.  They also helped with short video interviews of faculty.  UNL used Doodle to schedule the interviews. Some of the questions asked were: Who do you look to for support when using this technology? What do your colleagues think of your technology use in your teaching? What was your motivation for including specific technology tools in your teaching methods?  Were there any specific challenges to implementing your ideas for use in the classroom?  If so, how were those challenges (design, cost, equipment, or other) meet and overcome?
  • Faculty discussed: Bb tools, Adobe Connect, Quicktime Pro for welcome videos, iPads, Multimedia Classrooms
  • The UNL site is still being developed and here is the current version:

Seven Quality Assurance Strategies to Grow and Support Online Programs


Sallie A. Reissman
Sr. Director of Online Learning & Educational Technology, Wilmington University

Session Description
Institutions are looking for systematic ways to grow their online programs. This session will explore seven strategies used by Wilmington University to develop over twenty online programs in five years.

What was the design? How did we retain our faculty and students? This presentation will highlight each strategy and the steps involved in the planning that increased enrollments each year while maintaining quality courses and services.

Participants will walk away with handouts and access to all online materials shared during the session.


Wilmington University enrolls 15,000 students in 13 locations in DE, NJ, and MD.  The college offers 17 undergraduate and 8 graduate online programs.  WU has 5 instructional designers on staff. Faculty are paid $2,000 to a design a course.  It takes about 4 months to develop a course.  The college has developed 681 courses to date.  Redevelopment of 313 courses also so far.  Courses need to be redeveloped/updated.  WU’s strategic plan after written was supported through 6 new positions (student navigator, technologist, instructional resource specialist, 3 online coordinators).

A good web of support provides guidance:


  1. Course Design – Product
    Syllabus includes learning outcomes and design support via instructional designers.
    Course shell has brought consistency in structure, language, sequence.  It offers a template.
  2. Faculty Development – Sales Force
    100% online training for faculty
    Basic skills
    OL Orientation
    Design Skills including TPACK
    Shadowing is used
  3. Technology – Infrastructure
    Tutoring via Smart Thinking
    24/7 Support
    Register online and students services like bookstore
    Blackboard 9.1 branding, promotion, demos/workshops, videos, and posters
  4. Services – Customer Satisfaction
    Student Services Group
    Use Noel Levitz PSOL
    Electronic Services
    Building Relationships via faculty development, liaisons, chair roundtables, social networking, student life events
    Communication students/faculty via surveys, emma (constant contact / crm), active calendar, jot form, formats
  5. Staff – High Tech/High Touch
  6. Accreditation – Closing the Loop
    Online strategic plan
    Human Resources
    Program Completion
  7. Marketing – Planning for Growth
    Strategic Plan
    Program Completion
    State Authorization

Future plans include more professional development, developing a repository of online academic resources, new program development, building relationships like, and technology expansion and use.

Best practices and challenges:

  • Course Design
  • Prof Development
  • Technology
  • Student Services
  • High Tech/Touch
  • Outcomes Data
  • Strategic Marketing


Blackboard Corporate Keynote

Blackboard Corporate Keynote


Michael Chasen @michaelchasen
President and CEO, Blackboard Inc.

Ray Henderson @readmeray
President, Academic Platforms, Blackboard Inc.

Session Description
Michael Chasen and Ray Henderson will deliver news and updates on corporate announcements and initiatives from the past year and provide an overview on plans for the future.


Session opened with the following video:

“My school has to keep up with me, not the other way around” – Student quote in video played opening the keynote.

  • Largest conference ever held with over 1000 institutions, 280 partners, over 3,500 attendees.
  • A big year for Blackboard… from a public company to a private company then Edline was acquired.  Bb Education Open Source Services (MoodleRooms and Netspot).  Updated all products…
  • Today’s Agenda: Vision, Fundamentals, New Services, Mobile Showcase
  • The Vision: Choice / Innovation / Access
    • Choice = Blackboard Learn, Angel, Moodle, Joule, Bb Collaborate, Bb Engage (Edline) more than 25,000 institutions around the world.  Bb Consulting group includes 300 staff over a 1,000,, 600 data centers world wide, Bb Online Program Management, Bb Developmental Education, Bb Education Open Source Services and more.
    • Innovation = Innovating across all platforms…  Open standards (IMS, LTI, Common Cartridge), MongoDB NoSQL, elasticsearch, node.js.
      • “Projectxp” and Bb announces “xpLor” – an LIT and Common Cartridge cloud based cross institutional learning object repository for sharing course content and discussion boards internally and externally! Includes Khan Academy resources and suggested resources, grade levels, ratings, tags, creative commons, copyright, core standard filters.  Content types to share includes LTI Tools, assessments, assignments, discussions, content (files, pages, links).
      • xpLor learning objects work with Angel, Sakai, Moodle (Joule), and Learn
      • xpCalender, xpDiscussion Board also coming…
    • Access = McGraw Hill content integration including gradebook. Pearson MyMath Lab (4.5 million students) is now directly integrated with Bb (includes over 1,000 titles), WileyPlus and Cengage Learning are also integrated. integrated is announced with over 200,000 learning objects and common core standards. Vitalsource is working to create a Bb Building Block for eTextbooks.  These will also be available on Moodlerooms Joule.
  • Fundamentals with Ray Henderson
    • Support has improved to over 89% with 1 day resolution.
    • Open Education via Bb includes: LIS, CAS, Shibboleth, Bb Building Blocks, Bb Education Open Source Services, LIT, Oscelot, Common Cartridge, SCORM Bb Open Database
    • Transparency – includes new features, maintenance, upgrade windows, target dates on releases and timing for clear planning information.
    • Quality – 8X improvement with extensive automated hours of testing each night during the development process.
    • Client satisfaction is at all time high.  Support issue resolution, change management, usability, quality, and in product recommendations.
    • Innovation is about excellence in user experience, feature extensions, and evolution of course technology and methods.
    • Product enhancements:
      • Improved Global Navigation feature with enhanced user interface design along with alerts.
      • Improving Assessment Insight for item analysis.
      • Enterprise Surveys  included at no charge for reporting, statistics, deployment into courses, SPSS export, etc.
      • Improved Text Messaging with free and integrated “text and text-to-voice notifications” for all clients – allows students to receive over 20 types of course notifications from their courses! Also, “ConnectTxt” an new integrated two-way SMS tool in courses for faculty and students to keep the conversation going! More info about “ConnectTXT” and free “text / text-to-voice notifications” at:
      • Improved Decision Making with Analytics that include dashboards and data and insight from courses with SIS integration.
      • Blackboard Collaborate has improved integration with gradebook and also mobile access will be available.
      • “Blackboard Social” – Social Learning is coming with new My Blackboard, Profiles, Messages, Spaces, Streams #BbW12
  • New Services with Katie Blot
    • Program development, faculty & courses, marketing, student life cycle solutions provide a wealth of services to equip and empower institutions.
    • College readiness  via Blackboard Developmental Education provide solutions for students with < 2.0 GPA and show a 20% improvement in success rates.
  • Mobile Showcase with Kayvon Beykpour
    • Mobile Central enhancements to maps include augmented reality which provide rich resources for students and campuses.  Students can interact with facets of data and campus tours.
    • Mobile Learn enhancements include mobile assessments that provide a new easy to use interface.
    • Usage and analytics are now available via reporting tools in Mobile.  The average session length is 2 minutes.  That is a pretty long time without leaving.  Total time spent 405 years or 12 Billion seconds spent in Mobile Learn.  Since May alone there have been 11 million sessions in Mobile Learn.  4300 tests were submitted since May 2012.
    • Push notifications were also recently released to provide more timely notifications.  Since May 5 million push notifications have been sent out.
    • Bb announces an End User License option for students to purchase a $1.99 1 year license or an unlimited license at $5.99.  Institutions can elect to subsidize this license on behalf of students.  The benefit of institutional license is integration with Bb Mobile Central.