Eric Kunnen\’s GRCC Blog

NISOD 2008 – International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence
May 26, 2008, 11:58 am
Filed under: Conferences

NISOD 2008 – International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence

May 25-28 | Austin Convention Center | Austin, Texas

NISOD 2008

View Photos from NISOD


What Do We Know About Our Net Generation Students?

Joel Hartman, Vice Provost, University of Central Florida

10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Room 18C, Level 4

Whether we call them the “Net Generation,” “Millennials,” or simply “our students,” today’s 18- to 22-year-olds have one thing in common: they all grew up with and became users of advanced technologies at a much earlier age than did most higher education faculty members and administrators. Their use of technology is a defining part of their academic and social lives, and they bring with them a new set of beliefs, expectations,and abilities that are both exciting and challenging. Learn more about these new students.

Joel Hartman, Vice Provost for Information Technologies, University of
Central Florida


  • Define “Generation” – A series of birth cohorts, in a common location, peer group in the culture.
  • All students are not the same: life experiences, attitudes, behaviors, learning styles, perspectives on the use of technologies.
  • The Generations:
    • Matures (<1946)
    • Baby Boomers ( 1947-1964)
    • Gen-Xers (1965-1980)
    • Millennials – Net Generation (1981-1994)
    • Post-Millenials (1995 – )
  • Social, ecomonic, environmental, political.
  • Social Forces – Significant differences… the Net Generation grow up with changes and uncertainty.
  • Alan Kay – “Technology is anything that was invented after you were born.”
  • Major shifts in technology have happened.
  • Mark Prensky – “Digital Natives” are the Net Generation students. WE are digital immigrants… We have digital “accents”.
  • By age 21, the Net Gen have spent – 20,000 hours on TV, 200,00 emails, 10,000 hours playing video games…
  • The Net Gen expect anytime anywhere access to services. Anything and everything online is the expectation.
  • The Net Gen are: always connected, tech is the gateway to their social networks, able to process information faster than eariler generations, visually and not textually oriented.
  • When searching for information, students go online first, library second, and text books third…
  • Compared to Google they feel that library tools are cumbersome and arcane.
  • They mix the virtual and real/fantasy and reality in their lives – and they expect it in other settings.
  • They are the first generation to be producers of content and not just cosumers.
  • VIDEO on what content do students create.
  • is how they pick their classes, Facebook is a way to get to know their classmates, the share their lives with others on MySpace.
  • ECAR – technology knowledge is broad, but shallow. Skills differ by academic program, deepest in engineering and business.
  • Salaway, et al., 2007 – 94.7% use online library resources, 86.4% shop online, 77.8% download music, 83% use a CMS, 99.9% use email, and 84.1% use IM. (IM is for friends, and email is for “old people”)
  • Kvavik – Laptop (75.8%), iPod (74.1), Dektop (58.1), PDA, Smartphone (10%)
  • VIDEO on what gadgets you use.
  • Kvavik – The greater number of tech students experience in their academic programs the more likely they are to say that it improves their learning.
  • IT Depends – 2 year colleges appear to be behind in the use of tech by students.
  • Student preferences prefer moderate technology… is that because of how technology is used. When students are asked, most faculty members don’t know and use technology appropriately.
  • VIDEO students talking about technology in class.
  • Salaway – Most valuable benefit of technology is convenience (55%), control of course activities (19%), connectedness (10%), improved my learning (10%).
  • Student satisfaction with online learning, positive (57.3%), very positive (18%).
  • Online success rates appear (Dziuban) to deline by generation.
  • A Gap is Developing… Between the tools and resources we are deploying and those selected and used by Net Gen students. Between us and them regarding how these tools and resources are being used.
  • What Can we Do… talk with and observe our students, we need to illuminate these points, read about “generations effect”, develop contexts for Net Gen students to integrate their tools of choice into our education, research, and service environments. Get to know the students, infiltrate and co-opt with them.
  • VIDEO by a psychology instructor on meeting students half way… understand them, and then infiltrate and co-opt with them.
  • “Educating the Net Generation”, “2007 ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology”, “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants”, “Do they REALLY Think Differently”, “Millenials Rising”, “Millennials Go to College”.
  • Beloit College – “The Freshman Mindset”
  • “Can we develop online services that compare favorably to those they use?”
  • How can we address the Net Gen’s naive views on intellectual property?
  • What is the connection with social networking.
  • How much do we KNOW our students.
  • Do our plans speak of them in the third person.
  • What do we know about their personal technologies and how they use them.
  • VIDEO UCF video on technology and student interviews.
  • Information Fluency is a project at UCF that provides a conjunction of technology, critical thinking, and communication.

CCSSE: Five Years, Five Key Lessons, Five Strategies

Room 17A, Level 4

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

What’s all the “buzz” about student engagement? What have we learned in the past five years about engaging students? What key lessons have we learned about the need to engage students and how to improve that engagement? What strategies are most effective? The Community College Survey of Student Engagement
(CCSSE) has elicited valuable information about student engagement from approximately 700,000 students in 548 colleges across 48 states, and British Columbia and the Marshall Islands. In this dynamic and interactive session, community college leaders will discuss what CCSSE results have revealed about their students, key lessons about using data to inform decisions, and descriptions of intentional strategies, programs, and relationships that contribute to promising student outcomes.

Kay McClenney, Director, SENSE and CCSSE, The University of Texas at Austin


  • Introductions
  • Group Interaction – Going through the survey items as tables.
  • 2008, approximately 700,000 students have responded to surveys.
  • In 2007, 573,030 students from 279 colleges across 48 states have been involved in CCSSE initiatives.
  • Five Lessons Learned:
    • Be Intentional
    • Engagement matters for all students, but it matters more for some than for others.
    • Part time students and faculty are the reality of community colleges – and typically are not addressed in improvement efforts.
    • Data are our friends.
    • Look behind the numbers.
  • Five Strategies the Work:
    • Set high expectations and clear goals.
    • Focus on the front door.
    • Elevate developmental education.
    • Use engaging instructional approaches.
    • Make engagement inescapable.
  • El Paso Community College
    • During the past several years, what initiatives, programs, practices have your college implemented to promote student engagement on your campus?
    • El Paso is an Acheiving the Dream college.
    • Help get students out of development ed faster. Working with K-12 partners in El Paso in the high schools giving the accuplacer test to seniors and juniors with the intent of getting the number of students ready for college.
    • Working on initiatives for those students who have been away from college for some time. A prep program, allows them to take accuplacer, then spend 6 hours to improve their score on the accuplacer will prevent the need for some students of even being entered into developmental ed.
  • South Texas College
    • Enrollment has grown from 1993 (~1,000) to 2008 (~20,000).
    • Support for Learners: Academic Advising, FTIC Case Management, Beacon Mentoring Program (course-based partnership between faculty and staff, encourage students to visit faculty during office hours), Faculty Advisement (certified), Financial Aid Advisement, At-Risk Populations, Faculty Pay Plan (CCSSE benchmarks used as a factor – aggregate data is used to target improvement initiatives)
    • Active and Collaborative Learning: Group/Cohort, Service Learning, Student Organizations, Center for Learning Excellence, First Year experience, Family Orientation, Practicum/Internship programs.
    • Challenges and Commitment: Committed to student success, student engagement connect to student to college and faculty is the most powerful, implement a variety of services for solutions that students need. There isn’t one solution sometimes. Being a commuter campus, be aware of parking/class/parking and focus on the in between times.
  • Data shows that that 21% of students work with other students outside of class and only 15% discussed ideas outside of the class with their instructors.
  • See: 2007 CCSSE National Report[PDF] for more information.

1:30-2:30 p.m. Featured Session

NISOD’s Learning Scenarios: Online Solutions for Staff and Faculty Development

Room 19A, Level 4
Learn how to engage your faculty and staff in an adult-learning framework that is respectful and challenging. We will demonstrate how NISOD’s Learning Scenarios bring faculty and staff into deep
discussions around the core mission of the community college while leading them to expert resources about how to improve their results in the classroom and the workplace.

Patrick Nellis, Director, Faculty Development, Valencia Community College (FL); and Jennifer Robertson, Director, Continuing Education, Valencia Enterprises (FL)


  • Learning scenarios are online/asynchronous – story based training.
  • Instructor-led and based on real-life situations that faculty and staff may encounter.
  • Format includes an orientation, story at-a-glance, character profiles, learning objectives, storyline broken down into episodes and scenes.
  • Resources, activities, discussion, surveys, projects, quizzes, assignments, course feedback are all part of a Learning Scenario.
  • The duration of these can run from 2 to 6 weeks.
  • The course is delivered through Blackboard.
  • Asynchronous, instructor-led, student cohort, reflective, asks for a committment to change: “What will you do differently next semester?”
  • Originally created for adjunct professors because it’s difficult to get training to them.
  • Process of Creating a Scenario:
    • Identify a need.
    • Creating learning outcomes.
    • Work with SMEs to storyboard the scenario that will connect with target audience.
    • Select resources and create activities that support the learning outcomes.
    • Add visuals and audio.
    • Build-in an assessment tool.
  • Is professional development required for staff and faculty at your organization?
  • Does you college offer an incentive for professoional development to staff and faculty?
  • 2 hour block on Tuesday and Thursdays. These are when nothing is scheduled so training can occur.
  • The NISOD booth in the Exhbit Hall has examples of additional resources available regarding subscriptions to the media.

4:00-5:00 p.m.

M-learning: Breaking the Barriers through Interactivity for the Net Generation

Room 11B, Level 4

New levels of mobile and classroom interaction are attained by three powerful devices. The PDA (Palm, Pocket PC) combines extraordinary mobility for practice and assessment in such areas as Compass Math test, dental hygiene, and oral pathology. Tablet PCs capture the live component of biology lessons for online and podcast learning. Clickers enhance productivity in administering tests, performing assessments, or conducting an interactive review. Experience the power these devices bring to classroom and mobile learning.

Loreto Porte, Director, Instructional Technology; Carlos Guevara, Coordinator, Instructional Technology; George Rosa, Media Specialist; and Elkin Urrea, Media Specialist, Hostos Community College (NY)


  • Why M-Learning? – Students can submit assignments, evalutions, iPod video podcasts
  • Net-Gen Students – Digitally literate, always connected, mult-tasking, place more value on speed than accuracy, expect prompt feedback, learn by doing, discovering, prolific communicators. – 2005, Educause Educating the Net Generation.
  • Project Funding – Office of Academic Affairs, Perkins Grant, Tech Fee
  • Ongoing Projects – Clickers in the classroom, PDAs in Dental Hygiene, PDAs in Nursing, Pocket PCs in Math, and Tablet PCs to iPods.
  • Personal Response System: Clickers – Small devices used by students to submit their answers to a multiple choice quiz with the mobile device and then the instructor can determine which student picked which answer.
  • Clickers and Nursing Students – Students take quizzes.
  • Clickers can be used for small group discussion, attendance, warm up discussion/questions, contingent teaching and clear up the muddiest points.
  • Students find clickers user friendly, immediate feedback, less paper work, license exam is somewhat similar.
  • Challenge is the cost, because students have to purchase them.
  • PDAs – Palm (Tungsten E2, T|X) vs Pocket PC (HP iPAQ rx1950, HP iPAQ 100).
  • Dental uses for PDAs have been for quizzing (Quizzler). PDAs are “signed out” by students and they are responsible for replacement. Davis Drug Guide for Nurses and NCLEX-RN Review software.
  • Math quizzes on PDAs provided student with practice and the pass rate measured by the college showed an increase in the success rate of students. The purpose is “quizzes on the go”. The college developed the application in Flash.
  • The college is also using Camtasia for the development of video files for their iTunes U site.


11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Multimedia, Virtual Worlds, and Social Networks: Teaching Today’s Students with Technology

Room 16B, Level 4

Multimedia tools such as audio clips and discussions provide instructors with unique opportunities for presenting course material to generate interest and create active online engagement for students in online, hybrid, and traditional course environments. Virtual worlds and social networks engage the students in an alternative learning format. Please join us for an exciting session discussing research, practical experiences, pros and cons, learning style applications, and solutions for using easy and straight-forward E-tools in your courses.

Vartouhi Asherian, Instructional Designer/Professor; and Jeffrey Jones, Professor, Accounting and Business, College of Southern Nevada


  • Today’s Student Learner
    • Veterans, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials – Gen Y – Net Generation – Echo Boom
    • US Dept. of Labor estimates that today’s learner will have 10-14 jobs, by age 38.
    • In 2002, Nintendo invested more than $140 million in research and development, where as the US Federal Government spent less than half as much on Research and Innovation in Education.
    • 2.7 billion searches performed on Google each month.
    • The number of text messages sent and received every day exceeds the population of the planet.
    • 47 million laptops where shipped worldwide last year.
  • Learning Management Systems
  • Wimba Live Classroom
    • Integrated with WebCT
    • Live tool
    • Go over Powerpoint
    • Archive the entire session and the student can go back and view.
    • Students can review the material before the test.
    • Follow the speaker video.
  • Wimba Voice Tools
    • Student satisfaction has improved with the use of these audio tools.
    • Voice authoring tool is very easy. “Hey I graded your papers, take a look at them!”
  • YouTube video on Social Networking in Plain English (Common Craft – Lee Lafever)
  • Mark Milliron Video
  • Social Networks / Virtual Worlds
    • Facebook
    • SecondLife
    • MySpace
    • YouTube
  • Facebook has 66 million current users and it is growing by 250,000 per day.
  • MySpace has over 100 million registered users.

1:30-2:30 p.m. Special Sesion
Mission Critical e-Learning: How Blackboard Is Meeting Tailored Needs of Community College Campuses
Room 18C, Level 4

Neither technology nor teaching and learning tools alone will solve the issues facing community colleges. With remediation, retention, and “turn at the door” rates top-of-mind, it is important to know that Blackboard is far more than just a course management system. This session will provide an in-depth look at what community colleges are (and could be) doing to enable mentoring/community connections, safe content sharing, and collaboration and academic improvement at a class, program, and institution level. Participants will leave empowered to meet with institutional staff to understand how they intend to use Blackboard as a platform helping to meet strategic goals, instead of a place to post a course syllabus.

Eric Kunnen, Coordinator, Instructional Technologies, Grand Rapids Community College (MI); and Matt Davis, Senior Solutions Engineer, Blackboard Inc.


Pedagogy and the CMS
May 21, 2008, 11:24 am
Filed under: Articles

I just read a viewpoint article in Educause entitled “Toolbox or Trap? Course Management Systems and Pedagogy“.

I love the topic, because I think as educators, we need to continuously improve our teaching practice and be creative in our approaches and use of technology to create effective pedagogy. I disagree, however, with the notion in the article that a default tool set in a CMS in-and-of-itself limits instructional creativity and pedagogical approaches.

The tools offered by any course management system are just that – tools. Moodle, Blackboard, Angel, etc. all have a somewhat similar set of instructor and student tools. In fact, Blackboard, through it’s expansive Building Block partner program provides the ability for institutions to personalize and connect home grown systems while also enabling seamless connections to a wide array of best in class tools such as: Wimba Live Classroom, VoiceTools, and Pronto and Learning Objects Blogs and Wikis. In addition, Blackboard’s Web 2.0 initiatives through the Blackboard Beyond Initiative ( Scholar, SafeAssign, and Sync) create one of the most robust tool sets on the CMS market today. Finally, while moving into social bookmarking and social networking, Blackboard is enhancing their user interfaces to make them easier, richer, and more effective. Take the new Grade Center in Bb 8, for example, which provides an interface that is far easier to use and more efficient.

Just as in a face-to-face classroom, the instructor has access to “tools” such as a whiteboard, overhead projector, computer, furniture, etc, it is up to the instructor (and students) to leverage the tools available to create the best learning experience for students. This is the same online and with a CMS.

The article mentions an analogy of tools in a toolbox determining what we construct and how we construct it. The missing part of this analogy is the SKILL of the carpenter and their vision as to what is being constructed. Then, the tools are carefully selected and used to create and make real their vision. So merely having tools in a toolbox doesn’t dictate how the tools are used to create something. If there isn’t a tool that is needed, the carpenter adjusts by approaching the problem strategically. Perhaps the carpenter asks others in the field which tools they have used to reach a solution. He could also go to the hardware store to find the tool he needs, or adjusts how he approaches and uses the tools that are available to achieve the intended result.

I think the key that we should be focusing on is not the tools or course management systems themselves, although they are definitely important. Rather, we need to focus on instructional design to achieve the highest quality and most effective pedagogy.

Moodle, Joomla, or Drupal or no more constructivist in their design than any other CMS. In fact, I’m not sure I would even include Joomla or Drupal in the same sentence, as these are web content management systems on a different but somewhat related technology direction around the management of websites and content.

I think the author of this article hits the nail on the head by saying:

“Most faculty do not use the web either extensively or intensively in their own work, and those who aren’t “into technology” will quickly find themselves overwhelmed by a CMS.

However, I’d suggest that the problem is NOT the CMS, it’s default tool sets, etc. The limitation and problem we are facing is our ability to adapt, manage technological change, create technological awareness, provide faculty professional development, and to take the TIME to work with our faculty for the execution of the next generation of learning. Effective teaching with effective pedagogy involves an instructor’s skills, wisdom, and experience coupled with deliberate and purposeful instructional design which involves leveraging the tools in a CMS.

Blackboard Usage – Winter 2008
May 19, 2008, 9:44 am
Filed under: Work Activities

Overall USAGE:

– Total number of Live Courses: 1208 (Winter’06 – 890)
– Total file storage used by Live courses: 39 Gb (Winter’06 – 15 Gb)
– Total Unique Students : 16980 (Winter’06 – 14652)
– Total Student Enrollments: 34468
– Total Unique Instructors : 440 (Winter’06 – 325)
– Total Unique TA’s : 56

Overall TOOLS USED in Courses:

– Number of courses using: 1109
– Percentage of all courses using this Tool: 91%

– Number of courses using: 750
– Percentage of all courses using this Tool: 62%

Staff Information
– Number of courses using: 385
– Percentage of all courses using this Tool: 31%

Announcements      313      25%
– Number of courses using: 313
– Percentage of all courses using this Tool: 25%

External Links
– Number of courses using: 274
– Percentage of all courses using this Tool: 22%

– Number of courses using: 249
– Percentage of all courses using this Tool: 20%

Blackboard Survey – Faculty and Student Results – Winter’08
May 19, 2008, 9:02 am
Filed under: Work Activities

We just finished gathering some of the results from our Blackboard Survey from the Winter semester 2008. Here is a brief review:

Student Survey

  • 47% use a desktop system, while 48% use a laptop when accessing Blackboard.
  • 71% of students access Bb from home, and 23% from campus.
  • 96% access Blackboard on a high speed/broadband connection.
  • 65% have used the Facebook Coursefeed Application, 25% have used Wimba Pronto, 13% have used Blackboard Backpack, and 11% have used Blackboard Scholar.
  • 96% of students say that using Bb provided a better learning experience.
  • 92% would like more of their instructors to use Blackboard to deliver their course materials, grades, and announcements.
  • 61% of students would like to see more hybrid courses offered.

Selected open ended responses:

  1. Several responses wanting to see faculty absences delivered through Blackboard.
  2. “I love Blackboard! I wish we would’ve had it 20 years ago when I received my first degree.”
  3. “Blackboard is great. I just wish all of the instructors used it.”
  4. “I love blackboard, please never get rid of it.”
  5. “I think using blackboard has actually made me interact more with my instructors because maybe I don’t have to see them face to face?”
  6. “I think BB is a wonderful tool for all students it really helped me to go farther in my first semester here at GRCC!”
  7. “I like that the school is genuinely concerned about how easily accessible blackboard is and how the majority of students would like their class settings.”

Faculty Survey

  • 59% of faculty access Blackboard primarily from home, followed by 31% from campus.
  • 83% use the gradebook, 80% use announcements, 54% use the content areas, 53% use email, 33% use assignments, and 21% use discussion boards.
  • 85% use the Photo Roster Building Block, followed by SafeAssignment at 15%.
  • 89% of faculty say that it would improve the student learning experience here at GRCC if more instructors would use Blackboard to deliver their course materials, grades, and announcements.

Selected open ended responses:

  1. “Easy to keep organized. Student accountability–they know where to find grades, missed assignments, course documents…without asking me repeatedly.”
  2. “My class only meets once a week and this is an invaluable communication tool for me to reach my students. I can post readings and assignments at any day of the week. It was also great for journaling. It has inabled me to almost completely reduce paper assignments. And Finally, the class was an ASL class so I was able to connect the students with the community partners thorough Blackboard.”
  3. “I wouldn’t be interested in teaching without Blackboard. This tool allows me to stay organized, and keeps the students organized for success!”
  4. “I think that it’s not about changing the technology, it is about changing the attitudes. I hear a lot of professors talk about how if they put their notes up on bb that students would not show up for class. While that is very true, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Class time can be a time to encourage critical thinking. We need to change the professors ideas about what happens in the classroom. Offer more ideas of ways to promote critical thinking. Offer workshops on active learning in the classroom. Not just one session on the learning day, but all of the sessions dealing with various ways of implementing active learning.

GRCC’S YouTube Channel Connects with the Global Community
May 14, 2008, 9:35 am
Filed under: Work Activities

GRCC’s YouTube channel continues to reach out to the global community. Thanks to GRCC Media Technologies Department, the college’s YouTube channel has 499 videos uploaded and available.

The videos on the college site have been viewed by users in: USA, Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, the Middle East, and beyond…

Here are some highlighted videos:

  • Intelligent Design in the Classroom? – Dr. Greg Forbes (856 views, 9 comments)
  • Hands On Music : Luthier: Galloup Guitars and Brian Morris (2,359 views, 7 comments)
  • Calculus 2 MA 134 January 11 2008 GRCC (236 views, 3 comments)
  • Colin Campbell speaks at GRCC Wellness Forum (419 views, 3 comments, 7 – 5 Star Ratings)

“This is the best calculus course I have found on YouTube. The presentation is very clear and organized.”

“This is the best calculus course I have found on YouTube.
The presentation is very clear and organized.”