Eric Kunnen\’s GRCC Blog

BbWorld’07 Podcast is Posted!
July 31, 2007, 4:01 am
Filed under: Conferences

It’s posted! An interview that I did at BbWorld’07. I’d like to thank Bill Vilberg from the University of Miami, who takes the time to update, upload, and share his podcasts with others. Visit: to listen to his podcasts. Specifically, click here to listen to an interview with myself and Garry Brand at BbWorld’07 in Boston!


Educause and 7-Things-You-Should-Know
July 31, 2007, 3:59 am
Filed under: Articles, Work Activities

I came across this blog post while accessing my Twitter messages on my phone. There it was, a post from a colleague that I met through a Blackboard Product Development Partnership. Since then, we have been twitter friends (Twitter calls them followers now as it was confusing to have both friends and followers. See Twitter blog.) and quite frequently he posts a gem that I have to read.

He (edventures) updated his blog about an excellent Educause article. Read John Martin’s blog post about this here.

I’d like to pull out a few of the items in his list and correlate them to some of the work we are following at GRCC.

1. Twitter
At GRCC we have been using clearTXT for about 2 years now, for text messaging on campus. We have used it to communicate a snow closing and most recently a bomb threat on one of our buildings. We are working to potentially expand it’s use to more effectively integrate it into our emergency communication plan. We also hope to leverage more clearTXT features to include course and instructor oriented txt messaging for teaching. By the way, clearTXT runs an excellent blog about mobile computing and education called Mobility in Education Community.

Also, tonight I read an article in the Grand Rapids Press about the dangers of TXT messaging while driving.  In the article, it was mentioned that most teenagers use their cell phones for TXT messaging MORE THAN using their phone for actually making phone calls.  Sounds like me! 🙂  I’m not much of  a phone person either!

2. RSS
We have several RSS capabilities through Blackboard such as the Learning Objects Campus Pack Blog and also feeds into our academic portal (Blackboard Community System). We have also used RSS to Javascript for some announcement and content area usage for courses. Finally, Blackboard Scholar feeds can also be brought into a course.

3. Screencasting and Podcasting
Most definitely we are working on building up our capabilities in this area. We are an iTunes U site, have a Learning Objects Campus Pack Podcast tool, and we are using Camtasia for the majority of our screencasting.  Raidercast is our web site which contains more information on our podcasting initiatives.

4. Wikis
After visiting BbWorld, Wikis again are making a splash. From the Blackboard Support Knowledgebase Wiki, to course Wikis, this is one area where we have some tools in place such as the Learning Objects Campus Pack Wiki that can be used for team projects, and a plethora of other uses.

5. Clickers
We are seeing some interest in the use of student response systems in certain classes and even some internal meetings. We are currently leaning toward TurningPoint clickers as a standard, however, we have not yet made a final decision.

6. Social Bookmarking
We were involved with a product development partnerhip with Blackboard that lead to the development of Blackboard Scholar. We have nearly 300 accounts on the system and we continue to find uses for this tool. From using it for personal productivity for saving and storing bookmarks, to sharing them with other members in a committee or class project, to using course streams to dynamically update course content, this tool has tremendous potential.

7. Blogs
More and more instructors are beginning to use blogs in their teaching. Using the Learning Objects Campus Pack Blog, it’s a simple 1-2-3 to get started with student journals as blog sites whereby other students can comment.

8. Instant Messaging
Since joining Wimba Inc. as an early release partner, instant messaging using Wimba’s Pronto has grown rapidly. It’s an excellent resource for student to student and student to instructor communication. And EASY to install and use!


And of course Wikipedia, Facebook, and MySpace are talked about frequently on campus. For sure, students are frequenting these sites.

I see some unique uses for Google Earth, Virtual Worlds, and Mapping Mashups in our geography classes. I’m not sure they are being used in those classes, however.

Thanks again to John Martin for this interesting read!

Techsmith Headquarters Visit
July 30, 2007, 7:41 pm
Filed under: Work Activities

Note: Due to a Non-Disclosure Agreement with Techsmith, this post will be updated in conjunction with the announcement of general availability as it relates to screencasting and lecture capture systems.

Date: 7/26/07 – 2:00-3:00 PM
Attendees: MSU (3), GRCC (2), University of Michigan (2), and several attendees from Techsmith.

Jing has a good ring to it!
July 26, 2007, 1:43 am
Filed under: Articles

So I found this new tool the other day.  It’s called Jing.  See:

It’s from the Techsmith wizards here in Michigan.  Techsmith is the company that created the most popular desktop capture tool called Camtasia.

What is the deal with Jing you say?  Well it’s a slick little app that sits on the middle of your desktop, always ready for a capture.  It looks like this:


When you roll your mouse over the little sun, it looks like this:


 You can then click the crosshairs to get a capture screen like this:


After you capture, with 1 simple click, you can seamlessly post it to your account and email the link.  I’m not sure I’ve seen a faster way of sharing screen shots with another user.

Give it a try! Seems like there are a ton of educational uses for this… Jing. 🙂

Conferences… the benefits of them are?
July 25, 2007, 9:22 pm
Filed under: Conferences

It occurred to me today that I should post a generic, “why are conferences beneficial” entry to my blog. To me there are a multitude of reasons that span from networking with peers that have similar interests, experiences, problems, and solutions to discovering best of breed and emerging technologies.

Here is a list of value added reasons for attending conferences in my view:

  • Learning from others that have common interests, experiences, problems, and solutions.
  • Learning about new products and emerging technologies.
  • Learning about how to better leverage our existing tools and discovering best practices.
  • Focus on instructional needs and how technology can be used as a lever to meet those needs.
  • Learning about the product roadmap, direction, strategy, vision.
  • Listening sessions that allow you to share directly with the vendors.
  • Meeting and networking with others in the field.

What are your thoughts? Please comment!

BbWorld’07… it’s a wrap!
July 24, 2007, 5:30 pm
Filed under: Conferences

photo_071207_005.jpg photo_071207_006.jpg photo_071207_003.jpg

Well normally I like to live blog as a way of taking notes and sharing them during the sessions. But the conference venue at the Hynes Convention Center didn’t have the greatest of wireless connections available. Guess I need that new iPhone with Safari web browsing! 🙂

I was also pretty busy at the conference this year, which didn’t really leave much time for blogging. I had 5 presentations that I was involved in, participated on the program committee, was inteviewed by Bill Vilberg of the University of Miami for a podcast, and conducted a video interview with Blackboard.  Whew!

Anyway, I’m still working on posting my notes on my dedicated BbWorld Conference Blog. I’ll have them done soon! Ed Garay from the University of Illinois at Chicago started a BLKBRD listserv post about what was the Best of BbWorld. Here are some of my thoughts:

1. Keynotes
2. Seeing my long time friends again… and making new ones!
3. SafeAssign – Didn’t see that one coming. Maybe next year we’ll hear that blogs and wikis will be included! 🙂
4. 7.3 Discussion Board enhancements.
5. 7.4 Grade Center looks like a huge improvement for what is one of our most common tools to be used in the system, the gradebook.
6. Malcom Murry’s session on Social Bookmarking.

1. Wireless connectivity. Terrible for a technology conference.
2. Breakfast could have been better.
3. The bingo card that forced you to go to 20 vendors. I agree that is was too many. I would have liked to win the grand prize though… I never win anything! Maybe next time.

1. I sort of like the summer time frame since more of our faculty can attend because they are not teaching classes.
2. I’ve been thinking that a conference in Las Vegas would be a good time. Hopefully the flights and hotel costs will be reasonable. They should be.

See you all next year! 🙂

SecondLife, TBUG, and BbWorld
July 4, 2007, 1:45 am
Filed under: Articles, Conferences, Work Activities

Tonight I joined about 20 other people in SecondLife.  I think most of the users where from Texas as there was a TBUG banner advertising their local Blackboard user group conference.  Here is a photo of me chatting with the others. (I’m the one in the black shirt and jeans.)


There were some interesting conversations around how training is handled at various institutions, what 7.3 and 7.4 improvements there will be and also a desire as a SL group to meet up at the conference.  In fact, there is a meeting of SL users for a discussion with some of the Linden Labs folks here: