Tip of the Day

Tip of the Day

Some of you have elected to utilize the Respondus LockDown Browser with online student test taking. It works by restricting student access to Blackboard only so students cannot access other apps or browsers while taking a test. In order to make sure this works smoothly, please follow the instructions provided by Sherry Barricklow (attached). This same document can be found on our Resource Website under Academic Continuity at Seidman, and Kevin Barrons is putting it in the Seidman Online Course Template for future reference.

Also, remember that Chrome is the most stable browser for Blackboard.

More Information (from Eric Kunnen):

Respondus LockDown Browser/Monitor will work on a mac. On this page we have a link to the technical requirements page from Respondus Inc. There is no cost for students to use LockDown Browser at GVSU. 

System Requirements (Students)

·        Windows: 10, 8, 7. Windows 10S is not a compatible operating system.

·        Mac: OS X 10.10 to 10.14. *

·        iOS: 11.0+ (iPad only). 

·        Web camera (internal or external) & microphone

·        A broadband internet connection

* LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor may continue to run in older operating systems that have reached “end-of-life” but students may encounter unexpected results. Students running OS X 10.13 (High Sierra) should use LockDown Browser version or newer for best performance.

LockDown Browser is also installed in most computer labs on campus, and DSR has offered also assistance in facilitating in person LockDown Browser sessions (if the students are unable to get the software to work on their computer) but this may have changed because of the closing of most buildings on campus. CC’ing Jeff and Shontaye.

A key benefit of synchronous learning is that it enables students to avoid feelings of isolation Whereas in the asynchronous environment, students are able to follow the curriculum at their own pace without having to worry about scheduling conflicts or possible issues with real-time technical difficulties.

Each faculty member will see the pros and cons of each method as they determine the method that best fits the learning needs of the course.

The Blackboard Collaborate tool will allow you to meet students virtually or record material for your classes. 

This short training video is also available on the Seidman Resource Website under Academic Continuity at Seidman. Please note that virtual support resources are also noted on this page for both Blackboard and Bluescape support. 

The University offers several web conferencing options all of which are free to GVSU faculty, staff and students. They are:

More information about these resources including a comparison of key features is available to you.

Web conferencing can be used to support interactive learning or student-centered teaching and learning in a team-oriented, virtual environment. Group projects may include case studies and role plays, or process-oriented, guided inquiry strategies.

  • Screen share can be used to: 
    • Create group activities (quizzes, problem sets) to be worked on during class meetings. 
    • Provide examples and illustrations. 
    • Offer a forum for students to work collaboratively outside of class on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations for assignments and projects. 
  • Web conference sessions can be recorded. For example: 
    • Instructors can review role plays and provide feedback. 
    • Current sessions can be recorded as examples for future course semesters and students. 
  • Group text chat can be used to conduct polls and surveys. 
  • Special guest lecturers, experts, and faculty can be invited to join a class regardless of their location. 

Panopto is the easiest way to record, live stream, manage, and share videos.

When we think about video content management, student and faculty access to video, lecture capture, flipping the classroom, distance learning, active learning, student recordings, or content demonstrations, this is an important tool to consider. Keep in mind that the ideal video length based on instructional design principles is 5 – 10 minutes. Students learn very well at small intervals.  

The supporting installation document to download Panopto is attached. Panopto easily is imported into your courses under the “mashups” link in the content item in Blackboard. 

Here is a sample video where a teacher is demonstrating using Panopto. (Note: There is no audio.)

Below are short demonstrations to help you get started.

Panopto for your PC

Panopto for a Mac

 With Panopto, you can create an “instructor presence” online just like you would in the classroom. 

As many people across the university now have the need to contact students remotely (via phone or video-conferencing software), please verify that the person you are talking to is actually the student before discussing grades or any other personally identifiable information. The following are methods that are routinely used by staff in the Record’s Office to verify identities:

  • If you are using a video-enabled software and you don’t know what the student looks like, you could ask the individual to hold up their GVSU ID card or a government issued ID card. 
  • If you are using audio, you can ask the individual several questions to verify their identity. Ask questions that you can verify by looking in Banner SSB, such as: 
  1. What is your G#? 
  2. What is one class you are taking this semester and what is the name of your professor for that class? 
  3. What is one class you took last semester (fall 2019)? 
  4. What is the name of your academic advisor?

Note: Directions for how to access the Class List in Banner and instructions for accessing a student transcript.

In general, avoid questions that a parent or someone closely related to the student would know (major, for example).

Also: Please note that today at 11 a.m. is the first of three scheduled GVSU Blackboard virtual meetings via Collaborate. Check out the remaining dates this week for more sessions noted on the Seidman Resource Website under Academic Continuity at Seidman scroll down to training and technical support.

As of this morning (3/25) there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the GVSU community (students, faculty or staff). GVSU leadership is prepared to issue a press release when/if the first case is confirmed. After an initial press release, communication will be led by Kent County and not GVSU HR at the county’s request.

It’s important that any suspected cases be reported through a CARE referral for students or to HR for GVSU faculty and staff. The following is guidance for how to proceed with alerting GVSU.

If a student reports they are experiencing symptoms that match those for flu or have been exposed to COVID-19:

  1. Enter in a CARE referral
  2. Encourage the student to self-quarantine and practice social distancing
  3. Inquire as to how long the student may be out and develop a plan to make sure the student can continue progressing academically.

If faculty/staff report they are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19:

  1. Contact Natalie Trent, in Human Resources, at trentnat@gvsu.edu or by calling (616) 331-2215
  2. Supervisors who have staff report to work with any illness should send them home immediately.

Self-monitoring if sick or exposed to COVID-19:

  1. Practice protective and careful measures such as staying home, avoiding contact with others for 14 days, do not go to school or work, wash hands often, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the crook of elbow when coughing/sneezing.
  2. Monitor your temperature and symptoms by taking your temperature, twice a day, and writing it down.
  3. If you develop symptoms of fever, cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, or muscle aches call ahead to your primary care provider.

If you have more questions:

Contact your supervisor with additional questions or coronavirus@gvsu.edu for general inquiries.

As you are planning for the balance of the winter 2020 semester to be delivered remotely, please keep in mind that there is an expectation that all courses will include a final exam or a culminating experience this semester. Final exams must be conducted during the University’s exam week of April 20-25 during the scheduled time for your course section. It is also acceptable to conduct your final exam/culminating experience asynchronously during the final exam week (i.e. the exam/experience can be completed at any time during the week). If using this approach, the due date of the final exam/culminating experience cannot be earlier than the date and time assigned for the course in the final exam schedule.

There are several resources provided by the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team including information about building online assessments and proctoring an exam online. When thinking about using Respondus LockDown Browser/Monitor for proctoring an exam, you should consider that student’s need to download and install the software, and the software requires specific levels of technology on the student’s computer such as a webcam. In addition, the eLearning staff and Disability Support Resources staff are available to help problem solve individual concerns, and provide recommendations for alternative assessments such as: papers, projects, quizzes, and student presentations as video assignments through Panopto, or shared live through Blackboard Collaborate.  

Please consult the FAQs attached and also available on the Seidman Resource Website for additional guidance.

There are many ways in which you can meet with students to facilitate projects or small group discussion, provide virtual work space for student group work, and allow for file sharing with web-based collaboration tools. These tools help build a community of learners in a virtual environment. Below are some common uses of small group work/discussion using Collaborate Ultra available within Blackboard.

Faculty Small Group Facilitation

Breakout groups have their own private audio, video, whiteboard, application sharing and chat. This collaboration is independent of the collaboration happening in the Main Room. The instructor is able to move between each breakout group to interact with smaller groups of students and to bring groups back to the Main Room when needed.

This step-by-step guide provides instruction for creating breakout groups in Collaborate.

Here’s a short video that shows Chris Harper deftly managing an unruly group of “students” as he creates small groups, moves between them and then brings them back to the Main Room.

Student Breakout Groups In Collaborate

Instructors can set up group work space in Blackboard for students. Here’s a short video on how to set-up these spaces using Collaborate.

If you’re new to Collaborate Ultra, check out this more detailed guide to using the tool.

  A final note on building a community of learners:

Professors have multiple interactive experiences with students in every course. Take advantage of these moments where we have the power to change lives. We decide how we will impact our semester-long relationships. We choose to what degree we work toward student engagement and learning. If you create a community of engaged learners, even within a virtual learning environment, you have the potential to create a transformational experience to last a lifetime. The secret to inspiring and transforming students rests in the power of building a community of learners. 

And  for some much needed levity as we head into the weekend, check out this video passed along to us from one of your colleagues. Stay safe, be well and rest up for week 2 of remote learning delivery!

As we continue to rely on digital communication with students during remote delivery of learning, please be mindful of student emails. In some cases, someone other than the student may be contacting you on behalf of a student in your class. Please take a moment to ensure that the email and the student match before providing any sensitive or FERPA protected information.

If a student is using a non-GVSU email, a good approach is to reply that you will send the information requested to the student’s GVSU email. This is required if sharing grades with a student, but it is also a good practice for other information as well particularly if an email is sent by someone else on behalf of the student.

One method to provide an asynchronous learning lesson for students is to narrate your PowerPoint presentation. Even though there are other means of delivery like video and author integrated tools, the narrated PowerPoint provides a quick and effective way to communicate information to students. Your goal is to trigger interest in the process of content delivery. PowerPoint slides with narration is one of many ways to trigger interest. 

Once you have created your slides, open your presentation in the “slide sorter view” and select the slide you wish to narrate. Depending on which version of PowerPoint you have, the location of the features may vary slightly. Locate the menu at the top and choose, Insert then to the right select Audio. Select the dropdown arrow and select record audio. You will be able to start, stop, and record sound for each slide individually. Your mic level may need to be adjusted for the proper speaking level. A test recording is always wise. Once your recording is complete, you may need to drag and reposition the sound icon to a prominent location for viewers at the bottom of your slide.

You can even insert video with narration in the slides. Select the Video dropdown, where you have two choices. You may add video stored on your computer in a MPEG 4 format or video with a web link.

Here is a resource video on the process of inserting narration. Kindly note, you may choose which options you would like to use in this short example. 

The effectiveness of PowerPoint presentations in your courses:

The evidence of surveyed university students suggests that PowerPoint, used as a presentation tool in university lectures, is pedagogically useful only while it provides variety and stimulates interest in the learning environment. That stimulation can be increased if PowerPoint is used to bridge the direct and constructivist teaching models.

Kathleen M. Quinlan. (2019) What triggers students’ interest during higher education lectures? Personal and situational variables associated with situational interestStudies in Higher Education 44:10, pages 1781-1792.


One of the newer terms that’s arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic is “Zoom bombing”. With the rising use of virtual meeting tools such as Zoom to conduct classes, meetings, and family gatherings, has come the rising incidence of bad actors disrupting these experiences. Zoom bombing can occur when unintended meeting attendees gain access to a virtual meeting with the intention of causing disruption. They may create noise, say disturbing things, share their screen to show disturbing images or force information upon the meeting participants for example. They might also record the meeting and use it for their own purposes. Below are some tips you can use to help mitigate this risk.

  • Do not share your meeting links publicly (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, etc.). Instead share them via something more secure like via emailing your class list or through your Blackboard course.
  • When you sign up for a Zoom account, you are given a personal ID. Protect that ID and do not share it publicly. When scheduling a meeting you have the option of using your personal ID or having an ID generated for that meeting. Opt for the generated ID if you are concerned about others sharing your personal ID. If you feel your personal ID has been compromised, you can contact Zoom to request that it be changed.
  • Use the password option for meetings and provide that to those you want to attend. You can also require that participants type in their name when joining a meeting to help in taking attendance. 
  • Change your settings to allow only the host (you) to share your screen.
  • When scheduling a Zoom meeting, make it private. Configure Zoom Rooms in your account to make them private
  • Another option you can use when scheduling a Zoom meeting is the Waiting Room feature. This allows the host to vet each entrant to the meeting before they join.
  • You can also lock a meeting once everyone you expected to be in attendance has arrived. To do this, click on Manage Participants then in the participant window, select More (bottom right) and then choose Lock Meeting.
  • Ultimately, if you are experiencing Zoom bombing in a meeting and you are unable to re-gain control of the meeting, you can end the meeting and start another one with the controls noted above.

Also, we’ve added another article under Diana’s Recommends Reads on the Resource Website Academic Continuity at Seidman. Here are some key excerpts from the article:

So what should professors do instead [to avoid relying too much on teacher-centered learning]? [Tanya] Joosten [Senior Scientist and Director of Digital Learning Research and Development at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee], like other experts, recommends getting down to the essentials — “What do I want them to be able to do by the end of the semester?” — and working backward from there. She thinks the best plan is to put students into small groups — which can interact well on video — and have them work on projects together.

Why are virtual meetings exhausting? “Because it's a lot of the energy of face-to-face without many of the psychological rewards of face-to-face? That is your students, too. Consider other ways of communicating.” Mike Caulfield, Director of Blended and Networked Learning at Washington State University at Vancouver

YouTube offers a vast array of videos many of which may be useful to compliment your course content. Selected videos can be easily added to your course in the content area in Blackboard under Mashups.  Remember also that the GVSU University Libraries maintains a library of videos that may be useful in your class. YouTube is a valuable option for educators to encourage active learning for students. Here are just a few ideas to consider:

  • Have students watch a video on a topic in your content area and create quizzes on the video. Example - Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Create a YouTube Channel and create learning videos to explain topics simply. Example -TED-ED and Personal Finance
  • Share a URL of a video and ask students to discuss this online and debate it. Example – Top 2020 Marketing Strategies That Will Put You On The Map

There are a wealth of videos to guide you through taking videos, creating thumbnails, and posting videos. Find one that matches your skill level and interest by searching YouTube.

You will find endless ways in which YouTube will benefit your class. YouTube provides unlimited content to support student needs. 

Here are four tips to encourage active learning in the online environment:

  1. Remind students of the "bigger picture" of their overall learning goals. For instance, if they are in a course/program, remind students their learning will benefit them in a future job.
  2. Share words of encouragement in emails, audio, and or video. These can be short personal words of encouragement from yourself or a short clip or appropriate and relevant quote that will inspire and motivate students!
  3. Remind students how to reach you, so they know you are there for communication. This can be through email, Blackboard Instant Messenger, office hours (virtual or face-to-face), etc.
  4. Provide specific tips for academic success in the course. Let students know you want them to be successful in the course and beyond!

Trivia Tip: Watch the very first YouTube video uploaded on April 23, 2005.

Instructors across many disciplines in the college use cooperative learning as a positive approach to maximize learning. The outcomes are increases in student understanding, improved transferable skills, and some combination of both to maximize peer-to-peer instruction in remote education. Individual students often perceive cooperative learning in a remote environment as a means of better performance by the entire group. Setting up groups for cooperative learning in Blackboard provides ways in which students can work collaboratively with highly effective results. Instructors can structure meetings with the groups or the whole class in an online meeting to monitor progress of the class periodically. 

Here is a  quick video  which quickly shows how to use groups in Blackboard:

Instructors have many choices on how to create Cooperative Learning Groups in Blackboard. This document explains all of the options available. Student groups will have workspaces to meet in Blackboard Collaborate as a group, share files, email group members, and more.

Leverage your groups in Blackboard using Collaborate Ultra. This document shows you how students can collaborate, file share, email, etc. in groups. 

Theory into Practice:

Lev Vygotsky extended this work by examining the relationship between cognitive processes and social activities, developing the sociocultural theory of development. The sociocultural theory of development suggests that learning takes place when students solve problems beyond their current developmental level with the support of their instructor or their peers. Thus both the idea of a zone of proximal development, supported by positive group interdependence, is the basis of cooperative learning (Davidson and Major, 2014; Johnson, et al., 2014).

Springer, Stanne, and Donovan (1999) confirmed these results in their meta-analysis of 39 studies in university STEM classrooms. They found that students who participated in various types of small-group learning, ranging from extended formal interactions to brief informal interactions, had more significant academic achievement, exhibited more favorable attitudes towards learning, and had increased persistence through STEM courses than students who did not participate in STEM small-group learning.

REMINDER: As we’re all using more technology during remote delivery, remain vigilant about cyber safety with these tips by Sue Korzinek and her team.

Instructors who are fully immersed in online or hybrid instruction can use a variety of tools for Assessment and Measurement to align the student learning outcomes, the program learning outcomes, and the core competencies directly to the assignments. The goal is to review student learning outcomes in the measurement process of learning as a final product. The assessments and measures are part of this process. 

Creating Assessments in Blackboard

Blackboard provides several types of assessments that can be easily aligned to the learning outcomes in each course. The quick videos below explain the creation and usefulness of each assessment. 

  • Test Creation 

Video Tutorial (4:46). Learn how to create a test, add questions to a test, and make the test available to students. Find out how to search and reuse questions from other tests in your courses. 

  • Discussion Board

Video Tutorial (4:33). With the Discussion Board tool, course members can replicate the robust discussions that take place in the traditional classroom. This tutorial will show how to access the discussion board, create forums, select the forum settings to suit your needs, and reorder forums in the discussion board. 

  • Rubric for Grading

Video Tutorial (3:07). Learn how to create a rubric for assessing and grading student work. This tool saves time when used for assessment of writing, projects, reports, etc. Using a rubric to grade students allows you to set specific criteria for achievement and share expectations with your students. Using a rubric helps keep grading consistent and fair.

  • Item Analysis

Video Tutorial (4:58). Item analysis can be used to measure the effectiveness of test questions helping you identify which questions may need revision. This tutorial will show how to access and run item analysis, view test summary statistics, view question-level statistics and edit a test question.

  • Goals Report

Video Tutorial (3:36). Check how your course content matches up with the institution’s goals and how students are performing against the goals. This tutorial will show how to access the goal reporting tool, run two types of goal reports and how to interpret the reports.

Theory into Practice:

During the 1960s, evaluation pioneer Daniel Stufflebeam came together with his colleagues to revolutionize a model of evaluation and set of professional standards that would not only respond to the use problem but would eventually become the gold standard of assessment for decision making (Alkin and Christie, 2004). Stufflebeam created the CIPP model of evaluation (Context, Input, Process, Product) which offers a systematic approach to evaluation. 

Source: Alkin, M., & Christie, C. (2004). An evaluation Theory tree. In  Alkin,  M.  C., Evaluation roots (pp.  13-65).  Thousand  Oaks,  CA: SAGE Publications.  

The perfect Discussion Board requires careful thought about how the topic is presented, what the expectations are for the participants, and how the posts are to be evaluated. Discussions provide students a better understanding of the material, improve communication skills, use proof to bolster points of view, and improve communication skills. Here is a video on how to create a discussion board.  

For online classes, you can allow students to talk about course topics with each other and the professor. The professor becomes the facilitator of the forum as well as an active participant. The level of engagement by students helps students absorb the class material and share ideas. 

Tips for Successful Discussion include:

  • Introductions: Get to know each other by allowing one discussion board for introductions.
  • Use simple and clear formatting: Set expectations for the original post, such as word count and concepts required. For the response, posts need to include precisely what types of observations are necessary for the writing. It is essential to structure the activity to set due dates and clear timing for original as well as response posts.
  • Clarity: Ask participants to apply course readings to the response and encourage them to post with clarity and conciseness.

Avoid the pitfalls such as not being clear, getting too personal, and the tendency for people to procrastinate. 

Theory Into Practice:

Discussion Boards add an element of “social presence” in the online learning environment. Three dimensions of social presence - social context, online communication, and interactivity - emerged as essential elements in establishing a sense of community among online learners (Tu & McIsaac, 2002). The privacy factor was also a necessary element in the level of comfort for students online. An increase in the level of online interaction occurs with an improved level of social presence. This can be fostered by considering characteristics of the learners, by selecting the appropriate computer-mediated communication medium, and by applying relevant instructional elements to course design.

Source: Chih-Hsiung Tu & Marina McIsaac (2002) The Relationship of Social Presence and Interaction in Online Classes, American Journal of Distance Education, 16:3, 131-150, DOI: 10.1207/S15389286AJDE1603_2

Promoting student engagement with the use of a rich multimedia environment is an effective way to increase student achievement in the online learning environment. Multimedia tools such as videos, virtual meeting rooms,  audio recordings, graphics, illustrations, charts and photos increase student attentiveness. As universities increase the online options for students, multimedia tools provide a rich learning experience as a feasible alternative to face-to-face instruction. The (media-filled) playgrounds of today’s younger generations make them ideal as platforms for educating today’s and tomorrow’s youth (MacFarlane, 2011). 

Tips for Engaging Multi-Media Instruction include:

Instructor created, multimedia presentations increase retention and student satisfaction. Fewer students drop the course when engagement increases. This short video by Justin Melick discusses the following best practices when creating instructional media.

Best Practices: 

  1. Short presentations of 5-7 minutes are best. 
  2. Chunk content into small pieces to allow students time to understand concepts.
  3. Align video content with the learning objectives to provide context. 

Theory Into Practice:

Online education, also called distance learning and Internet learning, can be defined as the process of providing systematic training to students in a given area of study within a web-based format. Students utilize technology when they communicate through social networking or share videos and information with others via their smartphones. Many creators of online teaching programs also seek to incorporate popular technology to promote learning-based agendas. Kumar (2011) claimed that student engagement in online environments was heightened when there was evidence of “effective and engaging multimedia resources to scaffold and anchor purposeful and active learning”. Course instructors may thus seek to integrate socially sanctioned platforms into online settings in a way that promotes active learning for their students.

Source: Kumar, M. A Critical Discourse in Multimedia Design: A Pedagogical Perspective to Creating Engaging Online Courseware. e-Journal of Instructional Science and Technology, 7(2) (2004). 

Source: McFarlane, D.A. A Comparison of Organizational Structure and Pedagogical Approach: Online Versus Face-to-face. The Journal of Educators Online, 8(1): 1-43 (January 2011). 

As many of you are planning for semester end assessments, you may be considering utilizing an open book exam. The Pew Faculty Teaching & Learning Center suggested a link to the University Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Pittsburgh related to assessments, exams and finals in the online environment. The following snip-it may provide a useful tip regarding approaching the open book exam format:

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In order to support student success with online courses, we’ve created a new page on the Seidman website. Please let your students know that there are resources available to them at this site. Of special note is a reminder that Seidman tutoring continues to be available.  Please share this information with your students.

If you have additional tips, resources, best practices you would like us to share with students, please contact Karen at ruedingk@gvsu.edu.

Are you Teaching in Spring 2020?

Faculty who have not successfully completed the Foundations of Online/Hybrid Course Development course OR received a waiver for having completed this requirement through another institution, will be auto enrolled in a new Blackboard course titled “Going Beyond Remote Teaching” which you will see in the My Courses area in Blackboard. If you do not see this listed, please email bbadmin@gvsu.edu.  This course offers a set of tutorials. All faculty who have not completed Foundations are expected to spend approximately 4 hours engaging in these tutorials.

Are you Teaching in Summer 2020 or Beyond?

For those who are teaching online for the Summer 2020 semester or beyond, faculty competency requirements must be met. However, there are more options for doing so beyond the Foundations of Online/Hybrid Course. And any costs associated with these options are being covered through a grants program.  There are five (5) options for fulfilling the competency requirements for teaching online or hybrid courses which are outlined on this page within the Pew FTLC site. Options include:

  • Magna Workshop
  • Quality Matters Workshop
  • eLearning Foundations Workshop
  • Peer Mentoring
  • Customized Workshops

The expectation is that you will review the options above and select the one that best meets your needs for online/hybrid instruction preparation.  Faculty wishing to receive personalized guidance as to which online/hybrid training to pursue of the options offered, should consult Kevin Barrons (barronke@gvsu.edu) or the Pew FTLC (PewFTLC@gvsu.edu). 

Once you have completed one of these options, you are to notify the FTLC who will in turn, notify the Office of the Provost so that you are cleared to teach in the summer semester. Again, this is only necessary if you have NOT completed the Foundations course or received a waiver from having completed a different course. Contact Paul Isely (iselyp@gvsu.edu) if you need assistance with a waiver.

Also, the eLearning Team is hosting a community meeting tomorrow via Collaborate. This is an opportunity to reflect on your successes and challenges and offers an opportunity to ask questions as you begin to prepare your spring/summer courses. Here’s the link for the 4/16/2020 meeting from 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

With finals week quickly approaching, it’s important to keep in mind key considerations as you prepare.

  • We’ve posted key FAQ’s regarding final exams/culminating experiences for this semester on the Resource Website under Academic Continuity at Seidman. I’ve attached the document to this email for your easy reference. 
  • Scheduled final exams must take place during your scheduled exam day/time. Exams scheduled to occur asynchronously during final exam week must not be due earlier than the date and time assigned for your course in the final exam schedule. The final exam schedule for the University is attached for your easy reference.
  • If you have questions about administering exams in Blackboard or the use of the Respondus LockDown Browser tool, please refer to resources on the Seidman Resources webpage such as a training video with Sherry Barricklow and instructions for using the lock down browser.
  • Remember that best practice in exam creation is to anchor questions with the learning objectives from the course syllabus. The goal is to use methods to measure comprehension, learning, and academic progress.
  • Within Blackboard, you have the ability to choose to set a time limit, randomize questions, present one question at a time, and limit backtracking to reduce cheating. 
  • Faculty set testing accommodations in Test Availability exceptions in Blackboard. You’ll need to scroll past when to make the test available to access these settings. With this feature you can let specific students have multiple attempts, extra time, a longer due date, and each student may have different accommodations if warranted.
  • A tip from your colleague Matt Larson is to set students at ease by starting with a funny/fun, appropriate short video or perhaps a cartoon or joke if this fits with your style.

Good luck!

Research suggests connecting with your students increases their motivation and their ability to learn (Ambrose et al..2010). Even in the online environment, an instructor's actions and communications with students make a difference in students' performance. There are goals when it comes to online learning. First, enhance the quality of learning and teaching. Second, meet the learning style or needs of students. Third, improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the learning process. And fourth, improve user-accessibility and time flexibility to engage learners in the learning process. 

Tips for Connecting with Students in the Online Environment include:

  1. Share your belief in students' ability to learn and your willingness to support them.
  2. Organize course content intuitively. 
  3. Explain your expectations.
  4. Provide examples. 
  5. Hold Virtual Office hours and scheduled meetings with students.
  6. Greet students as they create their introductions online. 
  7. Create an online profile to help students get to know you.
  8. Provide a student online chat room or discussion forum to allow students to communicate with each other.
  9. Use a survey online to adjust your instruction to fit personal and career goals.
  10. Commit to continuous improvement.

Theory Into Practice

Online classes aren't going away — enrollments continue to grow year after year. Further, online education increases access for students who, with work and family obligations, would not otherwise be able to go to college. Those people are just as much our students as the ones who show up on the campus, and they, too, deserve the best teaching we can offer (Darby, 2020).

Source: Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Source: Darby, F. (2020) How to Become a Better Online Teacher . The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Also, per Mary Albrecht: Universities across the state are creating wifi access points in parking lots.  GVSU now has set up “drive up wifi” in the Eberhard Center parking lot, and the signal is strongest in the parking spots for visitors.  It is broadcasting GV-Student, GV-Faculty-Staff, and eduroam.  (The eduroam network is available at most universities and can be accessed using GV sign-in credentials.)  Sue Korzinek confirms that “U of M Dearborn did vet this with the Attorney General and it was deemed acceptable”. Please feel free to let your students know especially those you know are struggling with limited wifi access.

We received a follow up question to Thursday’s Final Exam Prep Tip of the Day and thought it would benefit all Seidman faculty to share the response prior to Monday. Many of you may be working on your final exam setup this weekend. Hopefully this video that Kevin Barrons created will be useful to you.

How to set test options in Blackboard

Have a good weekend!

Why labor with downloading, uploading, and hand-calculating grades? Use the power of the online grade book in Blackboard to save time. By reviewing the types of columns, menu options and controlling columns students can see, you can improve the efficiency of grading. It takes just a few minutes to learn how to utilize these Blackboard features and be on your way to a simple, effective, and efficient way to manage grading in Blackboard.

Here are two tip sheets for your review:

By using the Blackboard Grade Center to display grades, students can see their progress in the course, and faculty can more effectively manage their classes.

As the semester culminates this week with exams and other final assessments for students, it is also a culmination of effort for faculty. Given the significance of the changes experienced over these past six weeks, consider carving out some time to reflect on remote delivery and look for opportunities to continuously improve. To aid in that reflection, the attached peer review rubric can be a useful tool to evaluate your remote delivery efforts against best practices. Not all components are applicable to partial semester online delivery, so choose those that do apply. Also, consider using this rubric to gear up for online delivery for the spring/summer semester.

Some of you have received questions from your students looking for guidance on how to improve their employability during these difficult economic times. We reached out to our colleagues in the Career Center for resources you can utilize to help inform your students on this topic.

Please check out this web page and in particular the section (scroll down) titled Continue Connecting with Employers. Also, note that students should be encouraged to reach out to the Career Center which has made many of their services available virtually. You can refer students to Lori Staggs and Megan Riksen specifically. They are still seeing opportunities being posted to Handshake. Students may need to be more patient in hearing back from employers because of uncertain timelines.

One faculty member who has had regular contact with employers indicated that they will be looking for evidence of how students are using additional time they have now to grow their skills.

Breathe …exam week is almost over! As the semester comes to a close, we want to be sure to capture YOUR tips for what you found successful with remote delivery these past weeks. Please take a few minutes – when you have time – to share your thoughts about learning activities and technology that you found successful (or not). We’ll compile the results and share them with all of you. The survey will remain open through mid-May so that you have plenty of time to share your feedback after grades are due. Thank you!


Reaching out to students occasionally in the virtual learning environment provides benefits for both teaching and learning. The human connections we make will encourage students to perform at a higher level. As the semester is coming to an end, consider sending a closing comment to students highlighting key outcomes for the class and sending encouragement for their continued educational progress. The method of communication can be written in an announcement or provided in a short video message.

Some possible topics to address in a closing communication include: 

  • Review the accomplished goals of the course
  • Praise their performance, persistence and/or patience with unique challenges this semester
  • Mention the course objectives and how they relate to future job opportunities
  • Encourage them to continue their educational journey and reinforce the importance of education in meeting future career goals

Thank YOU for your hard work this semester as you’ve navigated some extraordinary circumstances particularly over the past six weeks. As Dean Lawson has expressed, we are so proud of the collaborative approach you all have taken in confronting the COVID-19 challenge. The connections we are all forming have and will continue to make us stronger!


Tip of the Day: Continuous Improvement

Welcome to the start of spring semester! Hopefully you were each able to find some time to relax and rest up over the past few days as well as enjoy the sunshine.

As you know, in mid-March, we created a Seidman template for Blackboard to offer more consistency in the student experience. Many of you used that template last semester during remote delivery. Others of you have made use of the template for the spring semester while many will be utilizing the template for summer courses. In order to learn as we go so that we can make improvements prior to the fall semester, we would like your input based on your experiences so far.

Please take a few minutes to complete this short survey. It would be helpful to hear from you by May 15th if possible.

Seidman Blackboard Course Template Feedback Survey

Also, Diana has identified another good read. It’s titled 15 Fall Scenarios and it provides an overview of different approaches institutions of higher education may pursue as we look to the fall semester. There’s nothing you need to do with this information, it simply informs you of a range of possibilities higher education institutions are considering as we all seek to plan during this time of extreme uncertainty.

Enjoy the read, and thank you in advance for your feedback.

Giving students time to look at your course layout is essential for students' ability to navigate the course. To start, open the course and refer to the "Begin Here" link provides a starting point for students' online success. Note in bold the critical areas in the online course design. Point out the office hours, begin here, instructor information, syllabus and schedule, and weekly content to show the flow of the course. From there, students will quickly see how the course is designed for learning quickly and effectively.

Here is a sample message to open your course.

Dear Students:

Welcome to my class, the Online ECO349 Emerging Markets Issues, section 01, of the Spring 2020 semester! Thank you for signing up. I am excited to meet all of you virtually and looking forward to a great semester together! 

This class will be taught 100% online in an asynchronous fashion, meaning that I will post study resources (lecture videos included) on the Blackboard, and you will study the materials at a steady pace on your end, for a total of six weeks. All instructions and class activities will happen on the Blackboard site. We will have regular virtual office hours via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra twice a week during the semester when we will meet virtually to answer your questions. All assignments, exams, and class participation will be online on this Blackboard site as well.

As a starting point for an online class, please navigate this Blackboard course site, and do so by clicking the BEGIN HERE button at the top of the navigation bar, to learn some overall requirements and expectations for an online class at GVSU. 

You can find the instructor information by clicking the Instructor Information tab, and you will also find a link to a video of my self-introduction.

By clicking the Syllabus & Schedule tab, you will first find a video of navigation of our course's Blackboard site, then the syllabus and schedule, as well as a video of my explanations of the syllabus. Please spend some time and get familiar with the detailed expectations for the course.

Please enjoy the rest of your break, and we will kick off a great start on Monday, May 4, when the Week 1 folder materials will be ready for you!

Wei Sun 

A Note on the Use of Email:

Email can be easily misunderstood and challenging to keep track of. Providing a course introduction in email alone may not provide a clear picture for the course introduction. Students should be encouraged to go back to the course in Blackboard often for clear guidance on the class throughout the semester. Be careful not to use emails solely to guide the instructional process on important class information such as due dates and assignments/exam instructions. Doing so may make it hard for students to keep track of graded items when they are not in a central spot for easy reference. Email is effective for class announcements, one-on-one communication and reminders.

Setting up the structure and delivery of weekly content helps students develop an anticipatory set for learning. If you can be consistent in the time you send/release weekly communications, that’s ideal. Indeed, the structure of organizing the weekly Topics, Resources, and Assignments are vital to this process. Students see WHAT it is they need to know what they need to DO and HOW to complete the tasks. This begins the process of student engagement and tells students what they are going to learn.  What is good is the results lead to student mastery for learning.

Here is a sample message of a Weekly Content Announcement

Hi Everyone,

My name is Amy Gascon, and I will be your instructor for BUS 380 Improvisation for the Workforce. I'll be providing a live introduction to improvisation and this course on Tuesday night at 6:30, but if you are unable to make that and feel confused about how to get started, please let me know, and we'll get you set.

Where to Start:

1. Read through the Course Syllabus. Take note of due dates, our live sessions, and projects.

2. I will be going over the syllabus, assigning groups, and answering questions at the beginning of our first live meeting on Tuesday May 5th, at 6:30 pm. I will record the presentation in case you miss it, but I highly recommend attending! This meeting can be accessed through the link titled Virtual Meeting Rooms Blackboard Collaborate on the left toolbar or by this link: (link)

3. By the end of this week you will need to have:

  • Introduced yourself on the Discussion Board by May 5th, 11:59 pm.
  • Attend Class Sessions on May 5th and 7th from 6:30-7:30 pm. (please consult the syllabus for attendance policy)
  • Complete Modules 1-4 with accompanying Discussions Board posts. Due by 11:59pm on Saturday, May 9th
  • Designate someone from your assigned group to email the instructor by May 9th to confirm your final presentation time for next week for your group.
  • The remaining Modules 5-7 will be available for you to begin working on starting May 9th.

Getting Started with Blackboard

For a tutorial on how to navigate Seidman classes in Blackboard go to the link on the left side of the class blackboard page titled Begin Here.












High-quality hybrid/online education requires engaging learning experiences that correlate with effective course design. By appropriately selecting integrated technology that fits the teaching style of the instructor, faculty can foster student engagement, build a learner-centered environment, and make the course come alive, which in turn promotes student success. The hybrid/online model provides flexible time for engagement, accommodates students who work while earning a degree, and allows students to attend on-campus classes still. As a result, students will have the opportunity to accomplish their learning goals and be actively involved in the learning process.

Below is Part 1 of 3 highlighting key excerpts from Academic Technology at the College of William and Mary which provides more tips for creating a flexible online environment to engage learners.

Part 1: Overcome Social Barriers

Part 2: Overcome Administrative Barriers

Part 3: Overcome Motivation Barriers

Overcome Social Barriers

It’s essential to build community in an online course. Students may become disengaged if they feel isolated or if they don’t get to interact with their instructor and peers. Foster community in your online course and overcome social barriers to student engagement with the following strategies:

  1. Make the first contact before the course begins. Send an email message to introduce yourself and provide instructions on how to get started. Show students the BEGIN HERE location in the class so they feel comfortable with the course design.
  2. Create an introductory activity. Connect your students with each other and make them feel like they’re part of a community of scholars. Create a simple Blackboard discussion forum for introductions. You can also ask students to upload a picture to their Blackboard profile.
  3. Provide opportunities for learner interaction. Blackboard discussion forums, workgroup formations, online meeting rooms and virtual office hours make them feel they have a sense of community. You can also create online study groups where students meet through Blackboard Collaborate , Zoom, Google Hangouts , or another video conferencing service. Instructor-created questions could guide the first study group and then you could challenge students to come up with future problems. 
  4. Encourage sharing. Social media can be used to engage students in their content. Students can share resources related to the course informally through a Facebook group or Twitter hashtag . You can even embed a Twitter feed into your Blackboard course!  


Also, check out the newest article on Diana’s Recommended Reading list: 5 Takeaways from My COVID-19 Remote Teaching. Here’s a noteworthy quote from the article: “But the process of stripping down a course to its core purpose, in order to adapt it quickly to a virtual classroom, revealed how much further I could go with envisioning students as active creators of their own learning. ”  Enjoy the read!

This is Part 2 of key excerpts from an article by Academic Technology at the College of William and Mary which provides more tips for creating a flexible online environment to engage learners.

Part 1: Overcome Social Barriers

Part 2: Overcome Administrative Barriers

Part 3: Overcome Motivation Barriers

Overcome Administrative Barriers

Students may get frustrated if they don’t know how and when to contact you. They may also get discouraged if they don’t know their progress in the course or if expectations aren’t communicated. Set your students up for success using these strategies to overcome administrative barriers to student engagement:

  1. Establish contact methods and hours. Communicate your email address and phone number as well as the best days and times to reach you. Let students know in advance when you’ll be away longer than 24 hours to avoid feelings of frustration. Besides email and phone, you can hold online office hours using Blackboard Collaborate, Zoom, or Google Hangouts. These services allow you to share your screen with students and have drawing capabilities. You can consolidate one Blackboard Collaborate Virtual Office hours for all of your sections. 
  2. Provide directions often and in various ways. Be clear and concise with your guidance and expectations. Also, provide your directions in multiple ways, such as through email and within the online course. If you create a video with instructions on how to complete a task, be sure to provide the same directions in the text.
  3. Provide useful and timely feedback. This is important in any course, primarily online. Make your presence known in a discussion forum by getting involved early and asking questions that keep the discussion going. Students should also be aware of their progress throughout the course. Blackboard’s Assignment tools and Grade Center can help you communicate student progress. Self-check activities also help guide student learning and prepare students for course assessments.


This is the third and final part of a three-part series of key excerpts from an article by Academic Technology at the College of William and Mary which provides more tips for creating a flexible online environment to engage learners.

Part 1: Overcome Social Barriers

Part 2: Overcome Administrative Barriers

Part 3: Overcome Motivation Barriers

Overcome Motivation Barriers

Procrastination can happen to the best of us! Students may face additional distractions when completing online course work from the comfort of their own home or in a busy coffee shop. Overcome motivation barriers to student engagement and keep your students on track using these strategies:

  1. Chunk your content. Simply put, chunking means breaking down information into smaller pieces that are easier for the brain to digest. Content should be organized in a logical way that guides the learning process. Conceptually-related information should be grouped together, making it more meaningful and easier to understand. Video lectures should also be broken into shorter segments, usually 5-7 minutes.
  2. Send reminders to keep students on track. Populate the course calendar with deadlines and send reminders to your students, so they stay on track. If a student falls behind, make time to speak with that student on what he or she can do to get back on track. It’s also helpful to provide some sort of checklist for students, so they know what they have to complete and when.
  3. Use a variety of multimedia and modalities. You will have different types of learners in your course, and using a variety of content-delivery methods and learning activities will help keep them engaged. If your class is text-based, consider including images or graphs to clarify concepts. You can also replace some of the text with videos or audio depending on the topic. Small changes can drastically improve the learning experience for your students.


Also, faculty are encouraged to attend a new virtual workshop called Promoting Academic Integrity and Avoiding Academic Misconduct available May 20 from 1-2:30pm or July 9 from 10-11:30am. You can register and find additional information here.

Solving problems in business is a practical skill that teaches students real solutions to real problems. For example, applying project-based learning concepts helps students demonstrate their understanding of the problem, identify solutions, and provides a means for designing and constructing a proposed prototype as a solution. The highly competent team-based learning experience often involves a problem-based, project-based, and team-based approach that promotes active learning. Projects which can be assigned include case reviews, role plays, systems or idea implementation, product designs, industry or consumer problems, and a wide array of ideas related to business. Students learn more when they participate in the process of learning, whether it’s through discussion, practice, review, or application (Grunert, 1997). As students work in teams, they develop a positive social learning experience (Bandura, 1971).

Here are five student project ideas:

  • Case Method Teaching – students review a real-world situation and present a solution. Cases can be writings, speeches, videos, or reports as examples.
  • Coached Problem Solving – instructors serving as coaches, encourage students, assist with problem-solving, and clear up misconceptions.
  • Collaborative Meeting Sessions – students meet in an online forum (like Blackboard Groups or Collaborate, Zoom, etc.) where they discuss, post discussion reflections, record, and create executive summaries.
  • Problem-Based Learning – in small teams, students can think about a problem and look for a possible solution. Problems may have local, regional, national, or global implications. Learning management systems have group meeting spaces for students to meet and complete their work based on a guided plan.
  • Project-Based Learning (PBL) – this process can be combined with problem-based learning. The problem often creates a need for a new idea to be created. Design thinking strategies apply to PBL.


Banduara, A. (1971). Social Learning Theory. Springer Reference. Doi:10.1007/springer reference_223784.

Grunert, Judith. (1997). The course syllabus: A learning-centered approach. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Co, Inc.

Keeping the lines of communication open while teaching online provides a high level of understanding between students and faculty. Online collaboration allows for an active learning experience for students by increasing student engagement and active participation.

Some of the key features of a collaboration meeting space are:

  • Real-time video conferencing
  • Share files with students
  • Online chat
  • Discuss topics
  • Electronic whiteboard
  • Synchronous group rooms
  • Present PowerPoint presentations
  • Conduct a poll
  • Play learning games
  • Offer virtual office and virtual class hours, remote tutoring, and record presentations

The essential features you need to foster collaborative online learning are organized neatly within Collaborate with the Ultra experience user interface. The following two videos (each 2 minutes in length) were designed to provide a quick tour of all the essential features and controls in the user interface.

For faculty

For students

Finally, here are some helpful Blackboard Collaborate Ultra settings, tips, and resources.

Remember – by default, students will not have permission to share their screen/application so faculty must enable this. 

Generating tests, quizzes, and exams takes time. For years, many of us have created documents, printed them out, then hand-corrected the assessment. In Blackboard, we can create digital assessments which SAVES TIME. You can select a test format such as multiple choice, essay, matching, etc. that works best for you. The topics listed below under the GVSU Assessments Web Link offer you a variety of assessment options for your needs.

GVSU Assessments Web Link

This site demonstrates all the many options for the assessment process.

Creating and Deploying a Test

How to Create a Test [video tutorial]

Test Option settings in Blackboard

Display Test Results for Students

Adaptive Release

DSR Test Availability Exceptions for One or More Students

Export and Import a Test  (Copy a test from one course to another)

Multiple Fill in the Blank

Quick way to grade short answer and essay

File Response assessment question

Test Statistics provided by Blackboard

Respondus Test Generator

Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor 

Test Generator for Blackboard

Tips for Test Options & Academic Integrity

Document Conversion

Stop retyping and start converting printed documents in seconds. The test generator site allows you to take tests, quizzes, or exam questions from a word processing program and turn them into a format that can be used in the Blackboard Learning Management System. Here are some additional details:

  • Supported question types include multiple-choice, true/false, multiple answers, fill-in-the-blank, and essay questions. The converter will infer the correct question type from the question itself.
  • Place the text of each question on a single line, followed by a single line for each answer choice (if relevant).
  • Place an empty, blank line between subsequent questions.
  • Designate a correct answer by placing an asterisk (*) at the start of the line.
  • As part of the conversion process, question numbers and answer labels will be removed.
  • For examples of how to properly format your questions, you can download a sample file of questions.

  Instructions Link

Test Generator for Blackboard

It’s always wise to consider your presence and individual impact when interacting with others, and this applies to virtual interactions as well.  The following tips for managing your virtual presence are taken from the Harvard Business Review Management Tip of the Day from 5/15/2020.

  • Eye Contact – Holding direct eye contact helps reinforce your point. In the virtual realm, that means looking at the camera and not at the eyes/faces of other participants. This may be difficult to sustain for the whole virtual meeting/class period but being mindful of coming back to this throughout may help.
  • Volume – using a slightly louder-than-usual, clear voice conveys authority, credibility and confidence. Note: Let’s not all yell at one another when we get on the next faculty Zoom call with Diana.
  • Background – Take a few minutes to check the background that’s visible in your camera’s view area. Remove clutter and showcase a professional environment.
  • Attention – It can be tempting to multi-task during a Zoom meeting. However, it’s important to pay attention. Removing potential disruptors and distractions before the meeting can help such as silencing your phone, closing out of email and announcing to your family of “co-workers” that you’re not available for the next hour or so.

Content is adapted from “How to Elevate Your Presence in a Virtual Meeting” by Joel Schwartzberg.

Building exciting content in the hybrid/online environment promotes positive results from students. We all want to achieve the formula for success. Here is a three-step approach. First, we need to match our goals by having a strategy for content implementation into our course. Second, our creativity provides students with a purposeful and valued lesson. Third, we select a technology that fits our teaching style as a digital solution for learning. The content links below provide you with powerful tools to accomplish your goals. Keep in mind this simple success equation: Strategy + Creativity + Technology = Success.

The GVSU Building Content Web Link

This site demonstrates instructional options for building content.

Course Accessibility with Blackboard Ally

Creating and Managing Assignments

Creating and Managing Wiki’s

Creating Content

Creating Learning Modules

Copying Single Files/Folders

Blogs Tool

Embed Videos


Journals Tool

Create a Mashup Item (Adding Video)

Links to Websites

More on Blogs and Journals

Supported File Types

Rules for Releasing Content (Adaptive Release) 

Discuss creativity ideas to increase learning engagement with your department colleagues.

Theory into Practice

S.P. Ramocki (1994) presented an overview of significant concepts that marketing educators need to consult when they prepare to include the instruction of creativity formally within the curriculum.  LM Bobbitt, SA Inks, KJ Kemp (2000) suggests that undergraduate education needs to be more productive. Further, individuals involved in higher education continue to search for ways to improve student learning. 


Ramocki, Stephen P. (1994). It is time to teach creativity throughout the marketing curriculum. Journal of Marketing Education 16 (summer): 15-25.

LM Bobbitt, SA Inks, KJ Kemp (2000). Integrating Marketing Courses to Enhance Team-Based Experiential Learning. Journal of Marketing Education 22 (April 2000) 15-24.

The most significant value in our assignments occurs when students and faculty are engaged and challenged in the learning environment. Research suggests positive interactions between educational personnel and students increase overall student persistence in goal attainment. The goal is to encourage higher-order thinking skills with the tools that improve learning. Practical and creative assignment creation will provide satisfaction where students are active in the learning process during asynchronous learning in the hybrid or online environment.

The GVSU Creating Assignments Web Link

This site demonstrates instructional options for assignments.

Assignment Grading

Creating and Managing Assignments

How to Create an Assignment [video tutorial]

Adding Audio Comments to an Assignments

Clearing Assignment Attempts

Creating a SafeAssign Assignment

Reviewing SafeAssign Assignments

Adaptive Release

See also:

Graded Journals 

Graded Discussions

Video Quizzes with Panopto

Student Assignment Videos with Panopto

Theory into Practice

Our first job in applying any approach is to engage students in the learning process (Ryan and Deci, 2000). The researchers have identified four key elements that help students develop this kind of student engagement: autonomy, competence, relatedness, and relevance.


Ryan, R., L., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 54–67.


You can leverage the Grade Center in Blackboard to offer many options for grading, which in turn provides efficiencies for both students and faculty. Research suggests the meaning of grades is closely related to the idea of student work; grades are pay students earn for activities they perform. Effective grading practices grow from a teaching/learning philosophy that respects student differences and reflects individual growth (Tomlinson, 2001). You have many options available for grading listed below.

The GVSU Grade Center Web Link

Options for grading:

Adding Voice and Video Feedback to a Grade

Adding Extra Credit

Adding Extra Credit to Weighted Grades

Blackboard's Documentation for the Grade Center

Creating a Smart View

Creating Columns

Create a Separate Column for Final Letter Grade

Drop Lowest Grade

Grade Center Guide: Seminar Handout

Grade Center Guide: Full Version

Grading Schemas

Time Saving Tips for Grade Center

How to compute Extra Credit in Weighted Grades

Viewing Attempts

Weighted Grades

Theory into Practice

Effective grading practices (Tomlinson, 2001) grow from a teaching/learning philosophy that respects student differences and reflects individual growth. To help individual students succeed, teachers must grasp the curricular landscape, figure out what students know and care about, and design powerful learning experiences to guide them through the next learning stage. (MLH)


Tomlinson, C.A. (2001) Grading for Success, Educational Leadership, v 58 n6 p12-15 (March 2001)

Real time results from surveys will drive better decisions for course design. Using a poll in your course is a way of making modifications for student retention, measuring class engagement, and maximizing active learning with early intervention in the course. Further, more indicators of student engagement and effective teaching practices are beneficial for college and university programs (NESSE, 2000). Data collected from the surveys can be kept confidential and, most importantly, allow us to increase quality for both students and faculty. The goal is to create High Impact Learning (Kuh, 2001).

The GVSU Survey Creation Web Link

Survey tools:

Creating and Deploying a Survey

Export and Import a Survey

Sample Surveys

Theory into Practice

Students' responses in the survey have been categorized into ten Engagement Indicators (EIs) and narrowly concentrated among four general themes: academic challenge, learning with peers, experiences with faculty, and campus environment. NSSEs ten Engagement Indicators include higher-order learning, reflective and integrative learning, learning strategies, quantitative reasoning, learning with peers, discussions with diverse others, experiences with faculty, effective teaching practices, quality of interactions, and supportive environments. Moreover, NSSE provides results on six High-Impact practices (HIPs) that are duly noted for their positive outcomes on student learning and retention. Researchers know these HIPs as educational experiences that shift one's trajectory of success in college. The HIPs refer to learning community, service-learning, research with faculty (effective for first-year student and seniors), internship or field experience, study abroad, and culminating senior experience that seniors should engage in (e.g., capstone project). In 2008, George Kuh suggested that all students should experience at least one HIP during their first-year and one during senior year. These teaching and learning practices have been proven to be beneficial to college students from various backgrounds.


Kuh, G. D. (2001). The National Survey of Student Engagement: Conceptual framework and overview of psychometric properties. Bloomington, IN. Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 1–26.

School of Education, Indiana University. “NSSE - National Survey of Student Engagement.” NSSE Home, Indiana University, 2020, nsse.indiana.edu/index.cfm.

Also, for those who are hearing from students that they are experiencing an economic hardship, here is the link from the Financial Aid page where they can apply for grant consideration.

What is that “Mashup” tool in the Blackboard Content area? Mashups provide instructors the option to enrich their content delivery with YouTube videos, slide share presentations, Panopto videos, and Flickr photos. Also, Mashups are a way in which you can add high impact learning resources such as infographics, charts, illustrations, icons, podcasts, and interviews. Media in the Mashup section of your course can also enhance active learning in any class.

Add multimedia (mashup) in your course content in Blackboard in three easy steps:

  1. go to Build Content
  2. select Mashups
  3. select your choice of what you would like to add to enrich your course

This link provides additional information on how to add Mashups to your class. Also, here’s a YouTube video demonstration on Blackboard Mashups.


Theory into Practice

Mayer (2009, 2014a, 2014b) suggests the more common uses of multimedia (mashups) include illustrations, diagrams, charts, maps, photos, animation, and video. The pictures can be in the static form (such as illustrations, diagrams, graphs or photographs) or dynamic forms (such as animation or video). Some common uses of multimedia in e-learning include animation, video, or static graphics with accompanying narration; an animation, video, or static graphic with accompanying onscreen text; or a computer-based interactive game, simulation, or activity that includes spoken or printed text.


Mayer, R.E. (2009). Multimedia Learning (2nd ed.). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Mayer, R.E. (2014a). The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning (2nd ed.). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Mayer, R.E. (2014b). Principles Based on Social Cues in Multimedia Learning: Personalization, Voice, image, and Embodiment Principles. In R.E. (Ed.). in The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning (2nd ed., pp. 345-368. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Also, as a follow up to the request at last week’s Zoom meetings with the Dean, here’s the link to access the GVSU policy governing intellectual property.

Adaptive Release allows instructors to create a set of rules to control how content is released to students in their Blackboard courses. Let’s say you would like to comment on student work before they can proceed to the next assignment. Adaptive Release will assist faculty by keeping students on track as they master tasks.

Rules may be related to availability, dates and time, individual usernames, membership in course groups, review status and other items the course as well as Grade Center elements such as scores, attempts, and calculated columns. For instance, if you want students to complete or master an item before moving on to a new activity, the adaptive release rules can control when students can move on with activities based on specific criteria.

You can set basic adaptive release rules based on:

  • Date - view based on date/time shown
  • Membership - allows certain users or a group of students to view content based on username
  • Grade - select the item and then provide a score they would have to receive in order for the next item to appear
  • Review status - identify items in the course the user has to view before the next item appears

Listed below are two videos and a GVSU reference document that will help you apply the adaptive release rules.

Introduction YouTube Video on Basic Adaptive Release Key Functions

Demonstration YouTube Video on Advance Adaptive Release

GVSU Adaptive Release reference


Theory into Practice

Brian Irwin et al. (2013) suggests feedback to students has been highlighted in the literature as an area where improvements are needed. Students need high quality, prompt feedback, but they also need guidance and tools to help them engage with and learn from that feedback.



Brian Irwin, Stuart Hepplestone, Graham Holden, Helen J. Parkin & Louise Thorpe (2013) Engaging Students with Feedback through Adaptive Release, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 50:1, 51-61, DOI: 10.1080/14703297.2012.748333

Blackboard Ally gauges the accessibility of your content. Ally provides guidance and tips for lasting improvements to your content accessibility.

  • Receive feedback on the accessibility of your content
  • Improve content accessibility with Ally's step-by-step instructions


In addition to providing you with insight into your content accessibility, Ally automatically creates alternative versions of your files. Ally allows students to choose the type of file they want that best suits their needs. While you're in the process of improving files, students still access alternative copies.  See this link.

Blackboard Ally for Faculty

As content is uploaded into Blackboard by faculty, an indicator is displayed, providing an at-a-glance view of the level of accessibility of the file. Clicking an indicator provides additional information about how to improve the file with "green being the goal." Ally also automatically creates alternative file formats for students, supporting Universal Design for Learning principles (Rose, D.H. & Meyer, A. 2006).

Run your Course Accessibility Report in Blackboard

  1. From your course in Blackboard, click "Course Tools" from the Control Panel
  2. Click "Accessibility Report"
  3. Use the on-screen instructions to begin fixing your course files!


Click a Dial

Anywhere in Blackboard where a file has been uploaded, an Ally indicator will appear, click this dial to learn more about the level of accessibility of your file and view tips for improving the content.


Blackboard Ally for Students

Ally is a tool to help make course content more accessible by creating alternative formats for files that are uploaded by the instructor to make a more effective learning experience.

Students can download alternative formats of course files such as semantic HTML, audio, electronic braille, and more. Here’s a short video to instruct students on how to access alternative formats.


Rose, D.H. & Meyer, A. (2006) A Practical Reader in Universal Design for Learning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. ISBN-13:978-1-891792-30-4.

Universal Design

The goal of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is to integrate a variety of teaching tools or methods to remove any barriers to learning and give all students equal opportunities to succeed. We can build in flexibility in our courses that can be adjusted to meet all students’ needs. The Accessible Content framework in the design of our courses includes three primary principles: 1) Representation - offering information in more than one format; 2) Action and expression – allow students more than one way to respond or submit an assignment; and, 3) Engagement – use a variety of ways to motivate students (Bracken, S. & Novak, K. 2019).

Tips for Successful UDL

An approach with UDL is to look at your accessible content. You can modify the content in your course with a few tips to increase student success with the class.

Word Documents


Adobe Acrobat and PDF

Videos and Audio

Blackboard Accessibility

Alt Text Suggestions



Bracken, Seán, and Novak, K. (2019) Transforming Higher Education Through Universal Design for Learning: An International Perspective. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon. ISBN Paperback: 9780815354734 Hardback: 9780815354727 eBook: 9781351132077.

ALSO, as a reminder, all past Tip of the Day posts are available on the Seidman Resource website located here: https://www.gvsu.edu/seidman/resources/tip-of-the-day-61.htm. And we’re always open to suggestions for content that you would find helpful. Just reach out to me or Kevin Barrons with your ideas.

Flip Grid

Flip Grid is social learning for Pre-K to Ph.D. learners and beyond! Instructors and students will be able to see a recent photo as they experience the magic of the student's voice in the posts. When learners reflect upon, discuss, and showcase what they are learning, making, reading, solving, experiencing, the process provides a valuable presence for everyone in the class. Bandura (1969), suggests in the social learning system, new patterns of behavior can be acquired through direct experience or by observing the behavior of others.

Course ideas for use:

  1.    digital office hours
  2.    Socratic discussions
  3.    social presence
  4.    research presentations
  5.    project-based learning, etc.  

Flip Grid Instructional Video

Testimonial:  "I wanted to let you know I used Flipgrid with my SAT 495 hybrid course this semester for the first time, which was encouraged by the "Six Small Things for Big Impact" handout, and it worked out very well! I asked students to create an introduction video and was pleased with the results. One, it helped me get to know students, even though I've had many of the students in a previous semester, and two, it was an excellent resource to share with them as pre-service teachers. Only one of my 46 students had used it before, and we talked about how it could work well in elementary classrooms.

So thanks for encouraging me to try something new!"

Sarah Tate, Elementary Social Studies Affiliate Professor, Grand Valley State University


Albert Bandura (1969), "Social Learning Theory of Identificatory Processes" In David A. Goslin, ed., Handbook of Socialization Theory and Research. Rand McNally.

Transferring a face-to-face course to an online environment may make faculty feel a little lost. However, be careful not to be inundated with advice. Keeping things simple will provide benefits in the design of your course. The great online course essentially has four key elements which include, the Course Design, Course Components, Course Management, and Course Evaluation. Baran (2011) suggests that teachers who reconstructed their teacher roles as they revisited their approaches to understanding the course content, designing and structuring the course, knowing their students, enhancing teacher-student relationships, guiding student learning, increasing teacher presence, conducting course evaluation, and creating an online teacher persona produced quality courses.

Course Design – Ask yourself the questions: What is it you want students to learn? What are the course goals and objectives? Your answers will be which materials, activities, and assessments to insert in the class. Think about the technology for learning later.

Course Components –  A Begin Here point in the course where instructors personalize, and overview of the course requirements helps to set the tone for the semester. Pick materials that are right for your student audience. Consider the best quality materials that meet the course objectives. Asynchronous activities work best for delivering content. Consider recording your lectures in short segments and provide an outline for students to focus on the fundamental concepts of the presentation.

Course Management – Communicate often with your students. Regular announcements about the plan for lessons, assignment due dates, expectations, and the asynchronous meeting will help provide a clear path for students. The organization for the course in our Blackboard Learning Management System will provide a standardized and consistent model for instruction.

Course Evaluation – Instructors can grade themselves. There are several resources and rubrics and scorecards that will measure the quality of your course so that it can be improved from semester to semester. A mid-term evaluation will help with making adjustments to the class as an early intervention approach to improvement. The Quality Matters Rubric provides an excellent example of peer and self-evaluation. Here’s a rubric to review course standards for higher education.


Baran, Evrim (2011) "The transformation of online teaching practice: Tracing successful online teaching in higher education." Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 12206.

Research suggests students who make the social connection to other learners encourage a higher level of engagement, fostering higher performance. The classroom is a community of learners; therefore, when students are motivated by the socialization of the class, this process keeps students coming back to the work of the remote classroom. Development and learning are shaped by interactions among the environmental factors, relationships, and learning opportunities they experience, both in and out of school, along with physical, psychological, cognitive, social, and emotional processes that influence one another—both biologically and functionally—as they enable or undermine learning (Fischer & Bidell, 2006; Rose, Rouhani, and Fischer, 2013). Listed are five tips for facilitating connections for remote learning.

Spark Discussions - Discussion boards can be an excellent space for conversations, primarily when teachers use open-ended prompts, stir debate, or force deeper learning. The Blackboard Discussion Board is a great tool for promoting discussions. Prompts can also be used to generate video discussions using a social learning tool like Flipgrid or an online debate tool such as tricider. Create a guided framework for the original post and response post with dates and times for active engagement.

Showcase student work – Allow time and space for students to showcase their work, expertise, or project. Social tools such as Panopto, Padlet, and Tik Tok videos are great tools for students. Students will continue to learn more in-depth about topics as they engage with the presentations. 

Leverage technology support - Many students are skilled in technology and can provide "tech help" for learning activities. Students can moderate questions posted on the learning management system and respond.


Fischer, K. W., & Bidell, T. R. (2006). Dynamic development of action, thought, and emotion. In W. Damon & R.M. Learner (Eds.), Theoretical models of human development, Handbook of child psychology (6th ed., Vol. 1, pp. 319–399). New York: Wiley.

Rose, T., Rouhani, P., & Fischer, K. W. (2013). The science of the individual. Mind, Brain, and Education, 7(3), 152–158.

Consistently, the research suggests faculty have an enormous impact on the student’s experience, influencing everything from students’ perceived learning and self-efficacy to their motivation. Being an engaged teacher online means being visible in the class, whether that’s through discussion posts, announcements, or assignment feedback. This framework makes it clear how student’s development and learning are shaped by interactions among the environmental factors, relationships, and learning opportunities they experience. Effective increases in learner engagement are useful both in and out of school, along with physical, psychological, cognitive, social, and emotional processes that influence one another—both biologically and functionally—as they enable or undermine learning (Fischer & Bidell, 2006; Rose, Rouhani, and Fischer, 2013). Most importantly, faculty can emphasize their visibility and overall engagement in a remote classroom by implementing these practices:

  • Post regular announcements: In Blackboard, an announcement feature provides you the opportunity to create an overview video or meme (for fun) to create a weekly reminder of due dates that can go a long way in reconnecting learners.
  • Reply early and often:  Students need to feel that teachers are immediately available to help and may feel isolated when educators take a full business day to respond to a request for help. Quick communication builds connections. Ideally, set clear expectations for students regarding what to expect for response times.
  • Vary communication tools: Faculty should consider the communication preferences of individual students and make sure that their strategies are best positioned to respond to students’ questions. Phone calls, video tools like Panopto and Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, instant messaging, or texting are all good options to use in combination, depending on the university’s communication policies and student preferences.
  • Use feedback to build relationships: Providing personalized feedback to let students know their work has been reviewed can strengthen relationships. Video feedback is also useful in making a connection with learners.
  • Physical connections under social distancing: GVSU’s current consideration of integrating Zoom meetings into Blackboard, along with Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, and many social media tools are great examples of building connection while maintaining social distance.  Many faculty at Seidman College of Business have taken the leadership to demonstrate their level of commitment to maintaining high levels of engagement with their students. Similar online approaches such as recorded or video case readings and virtual office hours can be just as practical.


Fischer, K. W., & Bidell, T. R. (2006). Dynamic development of action, thought, and emotion. In W. Damon & R.M. Learner (Eds.), Theoretical models of human development, Handbook of child psychology (6th ed., Vol. 1, pp. 319–399). New York: Wiley.

Rose, T., Rouhani, P., & Fischer, K. W. (2013). The science of the individual. Mind, Brain, and Education, 7(3), 152–158.

Have you received an email or text message lately where you cannot tell a person’s mood? Teaching online can be a challenge for students and faculty if they cannot see or hear the person talking. Often, printed messages alone are misunderstood. If a course is text-based only, the misunderstandings can grow. 

Video presentations increase the impact of your course delivery. By putting yourself into your course using video, you increase student engagement, and students will see that you are the expert who is caring to take the time to be clear and personable. Many faculty have created videos where they can track views, embed test questions, provide structured outlines, and chunk content into short video segments for easy viewing. Video lectures can take diverse forms, and the video lecture-style might have effects on important educational parameters such as learning performance and enjoyment. (Ilioudi, C., Giannakos, M. N., and Chorianopoulos, K. 2013) The authors further concluded that actual learning performance was slightly improved with videos over a paper book. 

What videos provide

Create instructor presence – When students see you, they feel connected to the content.

Increased engagement – Students can see information clearly and reply to the video.

Videos are measurable – By tracking views and embedding quizzes, you increase accountability.

Reusable and Shareable – Videos, once created, can be reused and shared with other faculty. Sharing saves time for faculty and improves student engagement. 

Easy Integration – Most learning management systems accept videos as a standard.

Short and Simple – Keep the videos less than 15 minutes. Many have found videos between 6-10 minutes to provide the best results. 


Ilioudi, C., Giannakos, M. N., and Chorianopoulos, K. (2013). Investigating Differences among the Commonly Used Video Lecture Styles. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Analytics on Video-based Learning, WAVe ’13.

Seidman Faculty continue the journey of providing rich content, varied instructional strategies, instructor presence, and student accountability. Our success comes from quality instructional standards holding students to high standards as we transitioned from a face-to-face environment to “HyFlex”, hybrid, and online environments. As we remain optimistic, regardless of what instructional obstacles are in our path, we are succeeding. The positive outcome is we are becoming well-versed in a range of use of quality resources, learning experiences, and innovation, as Seidman creates engaging multi-media and multi-modal learning experiences. Right now, 60% of the world’s classrooms are online. Avoiding online traps will help ensure continued success.

The Content Trap

When you look at moving classes online, the first question is often, “What content do we need to make available?” It is essential to consider all of the critical elements of learning and think about how to design them for a virtual space. For example, what do virtual conversations look like or virtual art projects? Our course design template allows for a vibrant content approach. Think of the many ways in which you enrich your course with great content. Engaging video instructions, narrated slides, video announcements, and communications on content keep us out of the trap.

One Size Fits All

We shouldn’t assume that one approach or type of activity will work for all students (and frankly, we shouldn’t expect this in the classroom either). It is easy to create online assignments without remembering that every student has unique needs, interests, and challenges. We are moving to develop materials for students with all types of learning styles.


Teaching and learning online does not mean learning alone. But many people forget that. The classroom experience provides critical human interactions—a chance to engage with friends, not only on a social level but also for learning. It also provides easy access to formal or informal mentorship opportunities. There are a lot of different ways to do that online. I would argue it may be even easier to do peer collaboration in virtual spaces.

Faculty Transfer

Being a great faculty in the classroom doesn’t necessarily translate to being great when content is delivered online. Of course, the necessary foundations of learning are the same. But the way you manifest those in a virtual space is very different.  In the virtual classroom, there are far more options for assessing learning than there are in the traditional class, but no teacher is born knowing how to do this.


A faculty member who is effective in the classroom needs to continue this style in the online course. Keep the “fun-ness” in the class. This strategy will provide an exciting learning experience for students. Make the virtual classroom exciting with productive activities. A group activity, creating a survey, exciting topics, and videos from a variety of sources provide practical learning experiences the same as in the classroom.

A good standard to incorporate video into your course as an instructional media is to keep the length to approximately 5-7 minutes. Ten minutes is still an excellent maximum. However, research suggests that we learn better in small chunks of time. If a video is too long, students will lose interest. “Chunking” is a term used to create videos by topic rather than by a whole lecture. Also, it is important to tell students what you want them to do with the information once they view it. Areas where you can use video include class introductions, syllabus review, blackboard course tour, site tours, virtual field trips and more. Here are a few options:

The Seidman Lightboard Studio is an excellent resource for creating instructional videos. Through the use of the studio, you can create videos that allow you to present content in a way that you are used to, while at the same time being able to make eye contact with your students. Videos, once recorded appear in your Panopto account. Contact IDEL to schedule an appointment to access the Seidman Lightboard Studio.

Get going with rich digital media in your course! You can add great images to give your class a robust look. You can attach files, images, audio, and video when you create content in your course. For example, in discussions, you can browse for a media clip from your computer or your course's file repository: Course Files or the Content Collection.

Based on the content type, you can use the functions in the editor to embed content in your text. You have creative control over how your content appears and the flexibility to change the order and appearance when you want.

In some instances, you can browse for files in a separate attachment section. You may also be able to drag and drop files from your computer into the Attachments area. You can drag files from your computer to the "hot spot" in the Attach Files area. If your browser allows, you can also drag a folder of files. The files upload individually. If the browser doesn't allow you to submit after you upload a folder, select  Do not attach  in the folder's row to remove it. You can drag the files individually and submit them again.

You can also add social media from other websites to your content. These social media elements that appear in a course are called "mashups." A mashup combines elements from two or more sources. For example, when you view a YouTube™ video as part of the course content, you're experiencing a mashup.

Here is a great link to get started incorporating and creating digital media in your course.

You can use rubrics as a scoring tool for graded work. Most importantly, a rubric is a multi-purpose scoring guide for assessing student products and performances. This tool works in several different ways to advance student learning and has excellent potential to increase teaching efficiency. Besides, rubrics improve teaching, contribute to sound assessment, and are an essential source of information for program improvement (Wolf K. & Stevens, E. 2007).

What rubrics do for the learning process:

  • Make the learning target more clear.
  • Guide instructional design and delivery.
  • Make the assessment process more accurate and precise.
  • Provide students with a tool for self-assessment and peer feedback.

This short video shows you how to create a rubric for grading.


Wolf K. & Stevens, E. (2007) Journal of Effective Teaching. Center for Teaching Excellence, 601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC.

Zoom meetings will be integrated into Blackboard tools by the fall semester. Using Zoom will allow you to meet with students and even record your sessions with your account. Students can then watch the meeting or presentations later. Zoom video conferencing is the most popular online meeting app in the world. But do you know how to get the most out of Zoom while you work remotely or from home? In this video, Scott Friesen shows you his favorite tips from keyboard shortcuts to advanced sharing techniques. Get ready to become the  Master of Zoom  meetings!

7 Tips for using Zoom meetings to pizzazz your class.

  • Annotations – Easily select draw, text, eraser, spotlight, arrow, and save annotations, plus six more options for presentations. The saving tool is excellent for review purposes.
  • Sharing screens – you can share multiple instructor screens, and students can share their screens in the session. You can switch to display your documents.
  • Meeting schedule – you can send invitations for meetings and email all students.
  • Mute all mics – Alt M will mute all mics in the session to prevent audio feedback.
  • Change Cameras – Under settings, you can switch cameras to have different views. An example would be to have one camera for the instructor and the other camera for the documents.
  • Virtual Backgrounds – Maybe you want to show the stock market in the background. Save a current picture of the market and include it in your background list.
  • Floating menu – If the list at the top is in the way, select Ctrl+Alt+Shift H, and you can remove the menu to remove it or bring the menu back later (with ESC)

This YouTube video provides more information about Zoom for newcomers to the tool.

HyFlex delivery is fast becoming a key solution to supporting face-to-face with social distancing requirements. This delivery option allows for a full class to participate synchronously in a class while maintaining lower classroom capacities necessitated by social distancing. The way it works is as follows:

  • Faculty teaches f2f from the scheduled classroom to a smaller number of students in the classroom;
  • The class content is simulcast to other registered students in the class who tune in remotely via Zoom;
  • Students rotate with one another – being physically in the classroom and tuning in remotely – throughout the semester thereby affording each student with in-class opportunities

Here’s a short video demonstrating HyFlex delivery.

Providing feedback to students on assignments is an effective way of providing assessment. In Blackboard, you can choose to add audio or video and both types of recordings as you wish. A plus for faculty would be to provide an assessment using a recording tool that will save time on the instructor review process.  The need to provide feedback promptly is integral to the assessment process. Giving feedback is central to the process of communication and central to instructors' efforts to facilitate student learning (Quigley & Nyquist, 1992). This tip shows you how to save time and provide high-quality feedback to students on assignments.

This video tip shows you how to add audio and video feedback.


Brooke L. Quigley & Jody D. Nyquist (1992) Using video technology to provide feedback to students in performance courses, Communication Education, 41:3, 324-334, DOI: 10.1080/03634529209378892

At the beginning of every semester, we often need to add students, teaching assistants, and instructors to our courses. Listed below are the options for adding additional users to your classes.


Only the instructor of record can grant access to other users in their Blackboard course sites (such as teaching assistants or fellow instructors). To add additional users access to courses, the instructor of record can email bbadmin@gvsu.edu to have the users added.


  • Instructor - access to all of the control panel, can change privileges, access to grade center and course photo roster, receives emails from students who email “instructors” via MyBb
  • TA - access to almost all parts of the control panel, access to the Grade Center, cannot access course photo roster, and does not receive communications emailed to “instructors”
  • Grader - access to the Grade Center and the assessment part of the control panel, cannot edit course content except to make tests available
  • Course Builder - add/modify/delete content from the course site, access to the documents part of the control panel, cannot access the Grade Center, can view Users & Groups, can create Grade Center columns with the Batch Create Grade Columns tool
  • Student - no access to the control panel or the Grade Center, access to a student roster and all available tools in a course (i.e., email students)
  • Guest Access - access to select content items; for items to be viewable, an instructor must manually select guest permissions for each content area; guest access to the course is off by default and must be turned on

Note: Please ensure you are requesting the minimal amount of access that the individual needs to ensure student success in the course.  When you send your request, indicate the access level of this enrollment addition to your course needs.

Your opening of the course sets the tone for the semester of your class. A first announcement lets students know your expectations and how your course materials will be presented. There are many ways in which you can introduce yourself when teaching in a remote environment. Listed below is one example of an opening announcement to students. (Posted with permission from Frank E. Novakowski)

Hello Everyone! 

I am looking forward to working with you as we learn about an extraordinary and increasingly important aspect of general management - the strategic management perspective and discipline.  In the course of the up-coming six + weeks, we will give this subject a great deal of in-depth attention.  Our studies will reach beyond strategic planning as we discuss how all functions of the organization are needed to formulate and implement the strategies that are critical to successful operations in the domestic and international business environment.

The Online Edition of the course text is currently in its contents. It has numerous excellent references that will prove useful in your application of strategic management concepts and practices.  The course involves reasonable amounts of reading and incremental writing assignments that apply the material learned.  Please be sure that you have access to the following text.  - 100% online, no cost to students

Open Source Textbook:   Mastering Strategic Management . University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing.     

During this course, there will be a team assignment to conduct a strategic business analysis, which will be completed in weekly increments, integrating all of the segments into a final presentation.  Thus, team participation and individual contribution will be essential to correctly completing this assignment.  Please see the course syllabus attached.

This course begins on a Monday, June 22, 2020 – and our first class session will be on the Blackboard course site using  Collaborate Ultra.   This session will begin at 6:00 p.m. EDST and last about 90 minutes. It will allow you to ask questions about the course assignments, program assessments, and schedule.  You can access this session by merely going to Blackboard Tools, then selecting Collaborate Ultra.  You will see the meeting listed (session 1) - select that, and you should be directed to the class session.  While this is not a required session, it is strongly recommended that you attend.  In the event you have technical difficulties, you can also access the course via telephone or the internet

Dial In:  +1-571-392-7650,  PIN: 602 012 9077

Direct Access Link

Since this course is in an accelerated format, we need to begin ahead of the first night’s session.  As prework for our meeting, please read over chapter 1 in the e-text.  This will give you a good understanding of the context of this course.  The course syllabus is attached.  The course will be available on Sunday, 6/21.

Congratulations on your achievement in completing your Bachelor’s degree program to this point.  Together, we will make this final course an excellent learning experience!!

Dr. Frank

Frank E. Novakowski, Ph.D.

Seidman Digital Studio - Schedule Your Recording Time

The Seidman Digital Studio allows faculty to create high-quality instructional videos using the lightboard presentation system. Videos are sent directly to your Panopto account for insertion into any of your courses.

The Seidman Digital Studio officially re-opens on Monday, June 22nd. The studio will be staffed Mon-Fri from 8:30am-5pm by Matt Neeley. Each day, four, 2-hour blocks will be available. Your time will be split as follows - 1 hour recording and 1 hour editing. You can expect to create 2-4 videos during a scheduled block of time.

Here are the steps to take if you would like to come to The Seidman Center to record in the Seidman Digital Studio:

  1. Sign up for an available scheduled block of time here:  Google Doc Spreadsheet 
  2. Request permission from the Seidman Dean's Office to access the building using the Seidman Building Access Request form no later than 3pm on the business day prior to your plan to be on-site. If you plan to spend time in your office before or after working in the Digital Studio, please note that on your form under purpose. We have to monitor the number of faculty on the Third Floor - North and South Wings.
  3. On the day you are scheduled to be at the Seidman Center, complete a COVID-19 Risk Self-Assessment using the form provided by HR.
  4. Plan for your recording session as guided by this short introductory video

All of this information is also available on the Seidman Resource Website at this link.

Are you tired of making the same recordings every semester? Here's a solution. You can save recordings in Blackboard Collaborate, download them to your computer, and then upload them into Panopto for sharing later.

Downloading Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Recordings

If you would like to keep any of your Collaborate recordings, you should download them so they can be used in the future in any course. You can download recordings from Collaborate using the following steps:

  1. Access Blackboard Collaborate within your course.
  2. Open the menu in the upper left-hand corner, and select Recordings.
  3. If you don't see the recording you want, click Recent Recordings and select Recordings In A Range. Enter a date range.
  4. To the right of the recording you want, click the three dots in a circle icon  to access Recording options, and select Download.
  5. Save the recording to a location on your computer.

If you do not see the option to download a recording, this may be due to recording downloads not being enabled on the Collaborate session at the time of the recording. You can allow recording downloads by completing the following: 

  1. Access Blackboard Collaborate within your course. 
  2. If you don't see the Collaborate session that you would like to enable recordings for, next to Filter by click All Upcoming Sessions and select All Previous Sessions.
  3. To the right of the session, click the three dots in a circle icon  to access Session options, and select Edit Settings.
  4. Under Event Details, change the date and time to a date and time in the future. 
  5. Next, expand Session Settings and check the box next to Allow recording downloads.
  6. Click Save.
  7. You should now be able to navigate to Recordings and download your recordings using the previously stated steps. 

Uploading to Panopto

If you would like to post any of your downloaded Collaborate recordings in a Blackboard course, you can upload them into Panopto by reviewing this link.

There is no point in Zooming around with your video session ideas when you can save the recordings for the future in Panopto. You can save recordings while using Zoom, download them to your computer, and then upload them into Panopto for sharing anywhere, anytime. Panopto provides faculty a single location for all videos to be stored. Zoom MPEG 4 recordings are standardized and will be transferred with the click of a mouse anywhere!

Bam! Save the files

Bam! Share the videos anywhere in the future

Bam! Post in any courses.

How-To Tips for Zoom Recordings Short Videos:

How to Record and Save using Zoom

How to Find and Manage Recordings in Zoom 

Zoom recorded files are easily dragged from your file location to the Panopto upload center for your account.

SlideShare is an effective way to show your presentations on Blackboard without having to download the entire file. In many cases, SlideShare provides you with the ability to create a FREE account. You can upload and share your data seamlessly. Faculty have found other titles appropriate to their teaching area in the SlideShare web site, which can be posted on your course site.

Why use SlideShare? Students can view the slideshow on Blackboard without having to download the PowerPoint file. Files up to 100 MB can be uploaded. You can also add narration to your presentation as well as hyperlinks to websites.

Advantages of SlideShare

  • Share your presentations with other content specialists
  • SlideShare offers free access to presentations in your content area
  • Ease of use
  • Graphs and charts with narrations are presented clearly

How to use SlideShare on Blackboard

  1. Create an account with SlideShare.
  2. Create your slideshow in PowerPoint. Upload your slideshow to SlideShare by clicking the “Upload” button at the top of the page.
  3. Add a description and change the course title. Congratulations!! Your SlideShare is ready to use! You can now upload it to Blackboard.
  4. Now add the SlideShare to your assignment. Create a content item then choose SlideShare from the Blackboard Mashup menu.
  5. Search for the SlideShare presentation and choose Select when you find your file. Choose “Specific Presentation (URL)” in the Search (type) dropdown menu. Then copy & paste or type the presentation’s URL in the search box.
  6. Click submit after you have selected your file. Review your submission to make sure it is ready for presentation. Make sure that you choose “Embed Presentation” (only embed the presentation if you what a larger image). Otherwise, selecting the SlideShare will work just great.
  7. Click Submit, and you have successfully posted a SlideShare presentation.

Providing regular feedback to students on assignments is an effective way of providing formative assessment. Formative assessment allows faculty to make timely adjustments in their teaching to, check for understanding, increase comprehension, and improve learning. Listed below are five easy tips for applying formative assessment strategies.

 Formative Assessment Ideas

  1. Feedback to students and analyzing student work allows faculty time to:
  • Understand students knowledge and skills
  • See the strengths, weaknesses, and need for further assistance on topics
  1. Strategic questioning

Effective formative assessment strategies involve asking students to answer higher order questions such as “why” and “how.” Executive summaries or One-minute reports at the end of a presentation can be completed individually and or as part of a group. In the Assignments section in Blackboard, create a short assignment.

  1. Reflections and summaries

In the Discussion Board, students respond to a topic or question; students write summaries based on a framework of criteria.

  1. Think – Pair – Share

In a Blackboard Collaborate session, the instructor asks a question, and students can write down their answers, then merge into groups to discuss their responses.

  1. Online Polling

Blackboard Collaborate allows a polling option based on a multiple-choice or true-false questions. Polls give responses quickly and accurately with timely information regarding comprehension.

The Grade Center in Blackboard offers a simple and quick way to let students know an assignment is due. While emails provide the same notice, the Send reminder feature creates the reminder message and sends out the notice to students immediately.

Simple and Quick Steps

  1. Go to the Grade Center in Blackboard.
  2. Find the Assignment grade column.
  3. Click on the down arrow inside the column.
  4. Select Send Reminder
  5. A reminder will be sent to students who have not completed the assignment. You will also notice a message will pop-up indicating how many students have not completed the task to date.

Checking the statistics on an item in the Grade Center provides essential information on student performance. As we track performance on assignments and other items recorded for the class, we can review the data to determine class performance.

Simple and Quick Steps

  1. Go to the Grade Center in Blackboard
  2. Find the Item in the list ofgrade columns
  3. Click on the down arrow inside the column
  4. Select Column Statistics  
  5. You will see a screen labeled Column Statistics. This screen shows the items statistics, status distribution, and grade distribution.

     Tip of the Day: Item Analysis – Blackboard Grade Center Items

The Item Analysis feature provides crucial information on performance and test quality while also providing details of how students performed on individual questions. If you have good questions, little or no adjustments need to be made. If you see a question that may be a poor discriminator of student performance, changes can be made for improvement.

Item Analysis Benefits

  • Improve questions for future test administrations or to adjust credit on current attempts
  • Discuss test results with your class
  • Provide a basis for remedial work
  • Improve classroom instruction

Video: Using Item Analysis in Blackboard Learn explains how to access and run item analysis, view statistics, and edit a test question.

Run an Item Analysis on a Test

You can run an item analysis on a deployed test with submitted attempts, but not on a survey.

The test can include single or multiple attempts, question sets, random blocks, auto-graded question types, and questions that need manual grading. For tests with manually graded questions that you haven't assigned scores for, statistics are generated only for the scored questions. After you manually grade questions, re-run the analysis. Statistics for the manually graded questions are generated, and the test summary statistics are updated.

For best results, run an analysis on a test after students have submitted all attempts, and you've graded all manually graded questions. Be aware that the statistics are influenced by the number of test attempts, the type of students who took the test, and chance errors.

  1. Roles with grading privileges—instructors, graders, and teaching assistants—access Item Analysis in three locations within the test workflow:
    • A test deployed in a content area
    • A deployed test listed on the Tests page
    • A test's Grade Center column
  2. Access the test's menu and select Item Analysis
  3. In the Select Test menu, select a test - only deployed tests are listed
  4. Select Run
  5. Select the new report's link in the Available Analysis section or select View Analysis in the status receipt at the top of the page

Speed up your computer or mobile phone performance? Chances are we each have plenty of saved cookies, cache and browsing history slowing things down on our hardware. Commonly, to clear your cookies, cache, and history on a computer-based browser, press Ctrl-Shift-Delete (Windows) or Command-Shift-Delete (Apple).

Yes, we get busy and time flies. You will notice by cleaning up all of the saved items stored on your device, and your browser will fun faster.

Options to improve your device performance.

Desktop Browsers

Mobile Browsers


For information about your web browser's cache, cookies, and history, see:

You’ll be amazed, if you’ve not cleaned up the clutter stored in your device, by how many items have been collected over time. 

Cookies - everyone loves them! So does your device.

At times, faculty ask how to do better to improve on class topics. We remember there was something we needed to change in the class. Then, we begin to plan and think about what students thought of the course, the student learning, and what we would like to improve. Depending on your teaching style, there are a variety of strategies to use in our classes.

For example, an initial course survey might include a survey of student learning style preferences. A good checkpoint is a mid-semester survey that will help keep the course on track so you can make adjustments as necessary—surveys at the end of the course help to make decisions for the next class. Remember that Seidman College administers a coordinated mid-semester course evaluation for new regular and part-time faculty. Others who wish to opt into this survey should contact their Academic PSS.

Ideas for collecting student feedback

    1. Survey - Anonymous online surveys are one of the best ways to gather students’ perceptions of their professor and their own learning experiences. Offer to give students a survey in the middle and at the end of the semester, and tailor questions to specific activities. Ideally, you’ll keep it simple and start with four (or fewer) close-ended questions to generate numerical data.  Here’s an example:

  1. Focus Groups – Faculty can lead a short discussion using Zoom or Collaborate. Ask questions like how would you improve the course? What assignments did you value? Any modifications or deleted items? Students can also generate questions.


Diamond, Miriam Rosalyn (2004). “The usefulness of structured mid-term feedback as a catalyst for change in higher education classes.” Active Learning in Higher Education 5, no. 3, pg 217-231.

Our Fall 2020 courses are beginning to appear in our Blackboard Learning Management System. Given the feedback from our faculty survey as well as student input, we have included items that will help organize Seidman courses in a consistent way. Please keep in mind the template has examples included for your use. Below is a brief overview of the main components of the Blackboard course template:

  1. The Begin Here section has an introduction letter section. The Three Steps for Success are included.
  2. Week by Week Activities shows Weeks 1-15 and Exam week. Each week has sections for Topics, Resources, and Assignments. You can add, move, or copy your content.
  3. The Student Resources Link includes information on Seidman Advising, Library Services, Career Services, Scholarships, Tutoring,  and more.  
  4. ADD course content.

Tomorrow, tips on moving and copying content from an existing Blackboard course will be presented.

Our Fall 2020 templates are available for use. If you have an existing Blackboard course from a prior semester you can move content items, folders, assessments to save time building out your fall course in the new Seidman template. First, you will notice the Moving Content Items instructions. Second, you will see Moving Assessment Items such as tests. 

Kindly note, you do not want to do a Course Copy. If you do this, it will erase the entire SCB Online Template which you’ll then have to rebuild. The goal is to Copy your information from your Original Course to the new Destination course component by component.


Video Instructions

Written Instructions

Instructors can copy or move items such as folders, documents, and learning modules and place them in another area within the same course or in another class. Instructors must have an Instructor role in the destination course when content is moved or copied to another course. Instructors can choose whether to delete an item after it is reproduced and/or to keep it in its original place.

1. Navigate to the content you want to copy/move. The items you can copy individually are folders, links, documents, or learning modules.

2. Click on the drop-down arrow next to the desired item and select copy.

3. Choose the destination course from the drop-down menu.

4. When you click on the browse button, a screen will open at the top right showing you the areas and the folders in your destination course. Choose the course area and folder you want to copy the item into and then choose whether you want to delete the item after you copy.

Step 5. Click Submit when finished.

Note: To ADD course content, follow this link and click on the blue box that says “Building Content”.


Video Instructions

Written Instructions

1. In the Control Panel Click “Course Tools”

2. Click “Tests, Surveys, and Pools”

3. Click “Tests”

4. Hover your mouse over the test you wish to export and click the drop-down arrow that appears next to the name.

5. Choose Export to Local Computer

6. Depending on computer and browser settings, a dialog box will appear prompting you on where to save the file, or the file will be automatically saved in your Downloads folder (could be a different folder, depending on your settings).  Note where you are saving the file to. This file will be a zip file (DO NOT unzip it).

7. This file may now be saved to a flash drive, emailed to someone else, or saved on your computer for later use.

** Note: GVSU email (Outlook) does not support sending zip files. It is recommended that you save the zip file to a flash drive if you are looking to transfer the test to someone else.


  1. In the Control Panel, click “Course Tools”
  2. Click “Tests, Surveys, and Pools”
  3. Click “Tests”
  4. Select “Import Test”
  5. Click “Browse My computer” and point to the previously exported Zip files (or zip file that was given to you on a flash drive).
  6. Click Submit
  7. You will see the Test Import Complete message
  8. Click Ok, and you will see the test in your list of tests
  9. The Test must now be deployed

Zoom is now available with your Blackboard Tools. You can easily add a Zoom account to your course navigation pane. Faculty can use this free account and add a tool link in Blackboard for ease of access. Zoom allows for up to 100 connections in any session. You can meet with a choice of sound, video, screen sharing and recording. Recorded Zoom sessions are easily uploaded into Panopto and saved for integrating into Blackboard Mashups. 

Start Zooming!

Step-by-Step Document

GVSU Zoom Fast Facts

GVSU Zoom business plan and instructions are found www.gvsu.edu/it/zoom for your GVSU Macintosh or Windows computer. Instructions are also available for installing on personal devices.

How to tell if you have enabled your GVSU Zoom account

• Go to https://gvsu-edu.zoom.us and select Sign In

• Sign in with your GVSU credentials

• Under Profile and Personal Meeting ID, the link will show https://gvsu-edu.zoom.us

• If the link is not gvsu-edu.zoom.us, contact gvsuzoom@gvsu.edu for assistance

Using the Zoom Building Block in Blackboard

Instructors can schedule Zoom meetings, and students can join meetings from within your Blackboard course.

Create a Zoom Link on your Bb Menu

In your Blackboard course, go to + sign at the top of your navigation menu and select “tool link.”


We are using a variety of video tools that have an impact on our course content. Whether its Blackboard Collaborate, Zoom, I Movie, Panopto, Tik-Tok, YouTube, or Camtasia, we know video provides a positive learning outcome. McNeil, B.J. & Nelson, K.R. (1991) suggests cognitive effects following interactive video,  provides a higher level of achievement than standard lectures.  The result is similar to that of computer-assisted instruction, indicating that interactive video can be an effective form of education. 

Faculty observations suggest video in small chunks of 5-7 minutes in duration provide a positive outcome on learning concepts. Also note, never underestimate the ability of someone with an intellectual or developmental disability to communicate or receive information through video. Just because a person has that type of disability does not mean that they are not technically savvy, nor does it mean an inability to comprehend through various methods.


  1. Provide a Content Framework

Provide a list of what will be discussed in the video first. Provide a frame of concepts for students to follow. Students will be able to apply the concepts to the lecture as it is presented with higher comprehension.

  1. Utilize Graphics

Often faculty use graphs and charts to illustrate a critical point. Students are likely to develop a mental picture of what is being discussed. The outcome is a more in-depth understanding of the topic.

  1. Include Captions

Using captions makes it easier for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to understand your content. You may not know who has a hearing or vision problems. Captions also make it easier for the average student as well.

  1. Be Concise, Deliver, and Summarize

The use of video in the university has more than doubled in recent months. Some people have expressed a sense of content exhaustion. This does not mean you should stop making content. It does suggest that when you do make content, you should make sure that it is clear and concise. A summary of the concepts presented provides a means for students to have a higher recall.


McNeil, B. J., & Nelson, K. R. (1991). Meta-analysis of interactive video instruction: A 10-year review of achievement effects. Journal of Computer-Based Instruction, 18(1), 1–6.

During the semester, we often wonder about students cheating on exams and assessments to test students' knowledge of course materials. Right now, with some universities, the range of online assessments spans from over 30 percent to entirely online in some cases. Academic integrity in our courses is of the highest priority. Virtual proctoring tools are one of many ways that instructors can leverage the inherent features within their institution’s Learning Management System (LMS) or Blackboard in our case to decrease cheating during online examinations.

Here are six ways to do so:

  1. Create questions requiring higher-order thinking. Ask questions that need analysis, synthesis, and evaluation (Bloom, 1956).
  2. Use varied question types. Consider using a variety of question types such as multiple-choice, multiple-answers, true-false, essay, etc. In Blackboard, randomize the questions, and randomize the answers. During timed tests, this makes it hard to copy as no two students will have the same test.
  3. Ask one question in your test about academic integrity. The problem will acknowledge the student's understanding of the university policy for the record.
  4. Restrict the test window. The test can be timed, one question can be offered at a time, you can  restrict backtracking, or consider offering a staggered test in groups with different times under the test options. The Respondus lockdown browser adds a layer of restrictions on Blackboard.
  5. Delay score availability. Set a later date after the test window ends for students to see their scores. This way, they cannot see the immediate results and provide students with the answers.
  6. Refrain from using the author's text verbatim. It is convenient to have access to complimentary test banks that come with course textbooks; however, students may be able to get access to those textbooks when they are housed online, including the answer keys. Think about using the questions as inspiration and changing them up enough that the students would not realize it was the same question asked differently. You can also change how the answer choices are worded.

Instructors can approach the test design process for hybrid and online courses different than they would with the face-to-face classroom (Fontanillas, Carbonell, & Catasús, 2016). Instructors can use some of the ideas to safeguard their online assessment process and maintain academic integrity while also being able to assess their students' overall course learning.


Bloom, B. S. (ed.). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Vol. 1: Cognitive Domain. New York: McKay, 1956.

Fontanillas, R. T., Carbonell, R.M., & Catasús, G. M. (2016). E-assessment process: giving a voice to online learners. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 13(1), 1-14. doi:10.1186/s41239-016-0019-9

A 2018 study examined the effects texting had on students in Ohio and West Virginia Community Colleges in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) program (Kelly, 2018). Findings showed that students who received text message nudges from their professors performed better than the group of students who didn’t receive text message nudges (Kelly, 2018). One tool/application that allows educators to communicate with students via text is called Remind (formerly Remind 101).  Once a teacher creates a course, students can sign up, send, and receive messages by text, app, web, and e-mail (Remind, 2019). One of the best features of this free and straightforward messaging tool is that it keeps the instructor’s and student’s personal information (including phone numbers) private (Remind, 2019). Here are a few reasons one should consider using Remind or any other text messaging application to communicate with students.

  1. It is an excellent way of keeping students on track, even with a Learning Management System (LMS) such as Blackboard.
  2. It provides the instructor with a way of communicating with students for any reason: quick notes, tips on assignments, or need to follow up.
  3. It also provides a method of communication to you and the students when life happens (death, sickness, car accidents, etc.).
  4. In addition to the LMS (e.g., Blackboard), this application is an excellent way of sending friendly reminders about assignments (i.e., homework, quizzes, final exams, etc.)
  5. It establishes a healthy student-to-teacher interaction regardless of whether the course is online or is a traditional course that meets face-to-face. (McCoy, 2016)

To get started, go to https://www.remind.com and sign up for a free account, or you can download the mobile application to your personal device. The Free account does allow for registering ten classes under one account. 


Kelly, R. (2018).  Personalized Text Messages Boost STEM Student Persistence in Community College StudyCampus Technology. Retrieved from this link.

McCoy, K. (2016). What is Remind & Why Should I Care? The Advantages of Utilizing a One-directional Text Message Application to Support Student Learning in Academia. In G. Chamblee & L. Langub (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 29-32). Savannah, GA, United States: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved March 13, 2019, from this link.

Remind (2019)

Are you looking for an idea that increases achievement? Quizlet is a test-taking tool that is easy to set up and easy for students to use. Signing up is free. After you have an account, click Create on the dashboard to make a quiz, which can then be uploaded to Blackboard. Quizlet could be a great review and studying tool for increasing comprehension and taking final exams.

The quiz has five optional modes for students: Learn, Flashcards, Write, Match, and Test

Perhaps the best thing about Quizlet is that it initiates retrieval practice, anywhere, anytime.  Retrieval practice occurs when a student is made to recall information for a test or quiz. The book, Make it Stick by Brown, Roediger, & McDaniel (2014), indicates retrieval practice increases retention for the student more than the same time spent studying.

With Quizlet, student aren’t limited to using their computers to study - Quizlet is conveniently accessible on Smartphones (Rowe, 2018). Instructions are on the site’s Help feature, and downloading the app is easy. Students can use retrieval practice, improve their scores, and succeed in a class by using their smartphones. Just think, students can review in the dorm, at home, during a break, or whenever they want. Studying for tests and exams allows students to be mobile and review between classes.

To get started, go to Quizlet. Once you activate your account, you can begin creating quizzes right away. 



Brown, P., Roediger, H., & McDaniel, M., (2014) Make it stick: The science of successful learning. Belknap Press, Cambridge MS, USA.

Rowe, A., (2018) Why study app Quizlet is moving into the premium content marketForbes.


Cross the threshold into the Universal Design for Learning (UDL). This framework for educators centers around three principles that are aligned with neuroscience research on the networks that affect learning. Through UDL, educators reach all students by using:

  • Multiple means of representation: Give learners various ways of acquiring information and knowledge.
  • Multiple means of expression: Provide learners alternatives for demonstrating what they know.
  • Multiple means of engagement: Tap into learners’ interests, offer appropriate challenges, and increase motivation (“Three Principles of UDL,” 2019).

The goal of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is to integrate a variety of teaching tools or methods to remove any barriers to learning and give all students equal opportunities to succeed. We can build in flexibility in our courses that can be adjusted to meet all students’ needs. The Accessible Content framework in the design of courses includes three primary principles: 1) Representation - offering information in more than one format; 2) Action and expression – allow students more than one way to respond or submit an assignment; and, 3) Engagement – use a variety of ways to motivate students (Bracken, S. & Novak, K. 2019).

YouTube Video on Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education

Tips for Successful UDL

An approach with UDL is to look at your accessible content. You can modify the content in your course with a few tips to increase student success with the class.


Bracken, Seán, and Novak, K. (2019) Transforming Higher Education Through Universal Design for Learning: An International Perspective. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon. ISBN Paperback: 9780815354734 Hardback: 9780815354727 eBook: 9781351132077.

Three Principles of UDL (2019).

Project based learning has various models for implementation. Ultimately, the goal is to frame a project for learning. The positive learning outcome provided through project learning is a student-centered, inquiry-based instructional model in which learners engage with an authentic, ill-structured problem that requires further research (Jonassen & Hung, 2008). Students identify gaps in their knowledge, conduct research, and apply their learning to develop solutions and present their findings (Barrows, 1996). Through collaboration and inquiry, students can cultivate problem-solving (Norman & Schmidt, 1992), metacognitive skills (Gijbels et al., 2005), engagement in learning (Dochy et al., 2003), and intrinsic motivation. Despite the potential benefits of project based learning, many instructors lack the confidence or knowledge to utilize it (Ertmer & Simons, 2006; Onyon, 2005). By breaking down the project based learning cycle into six steps, you can begin to design, implement, and assess this applied in your course. Blackboard Collaborate, Google Hangouts, and other collaboration tools contribute to a valuable project based learning experience.  For example, you might teach an economics course and develop a scenario about crowded campus sidewalks.

Step One: Identify Outcomes/Assessments – Project based learning fits best with process-oriented course outcomes such as collaboration, research, and problem-solving. It can help students acquire content or conceptual knowledge, or develop disciplinary habits such as writing or communication.

Step Two: Design the Scenario - Think of a real, complex issue (or scenario) related to your course content. It’s seldom difficult to identify lots of problems in our fields; the key is writing a scenario for our students that will elicit the types of thinking, discussion, research, and learning that need to take place to meet the learning outcomes.

Step Three: Introduce Project based learning – Give the students a problem. Then group the students and allow time to engage in an abbreviated version of project based learning, introduce the assignment expectations, rubrics, and timelines. 

Step Four: Research – Project based learning research begins with small-group brainstorming sessions where students define the problem and determine what they know about the issue (background knowledge), what they need to learn more about (topics to research), and where they need to look to find data (databases, interviews, etc.).

Step Five: Product Performance - After researching, the students create products and/or presentations that synthesize their research, solutions, and learning.

Step Six: Assessment - During the project based learning assessment step, evaluate the groups’ work. Use rubrics to determine whether students have clearly communicated the problem, background, research methods, solutions (feasible and research-based), and resources, and to decide whether all group members participated meaningfully. It would be best if you considered having your students fill out reflections about their learning (including what they’ve learned about the content and the research process) every day, and at the conclusion of the process.

In Summer 2019, Seidman College sent seven faculty to the Institute on Project-Based Learning through the Center for Project-Based Learning at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Those faculty include Eric Kennedy, Ana Gonzalez, Anton Fenik, Bishal BC, Leslie Muller, Joerg Picard, and Brad Koch. WPI’s approach to PBL is student driven with students identifying the problem and the method for solving the problem. Students engage in continuous inquiry (research) throughout the semester. More information on the model underlying the WPI approach. You may wish to reach out to one of our faculty who attended the PBL Institute for additional tips and guidance for implementing project based learning in one of your courses. Project based learning works in the HyFlex, hybrid, and online formats with collaboration tools.

Barrows, H.S. (1996). Problem-based learning in medicine and beyond: A brief overview. In L. Wilkerson, & W. H. Gijselaers (Eds.), New directions for teaching and learning, No.68 (pp. 3-11). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Dochy, F., Segers, M., Van den Bossche, P., & Gijbels, D. (2003). Effects of problem-based learning: A meta-analysis. Learning and instruction, 13(5), 533-568.

Ertmer, P. A., & Simons, K. D. (2006). Jumping the PBL implementation hurdle: Supporting the efforts of K–12 teachers. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, 1(1), 5.

Gijbels, D., Dochy, F., Van den Bossche, P., & Segers, M. (2005). Effects of problem-based learning: A meta-analysis from the angle of assessment. Review of Educational Research, 75(1), 27-61.

Gold Standard PBL, The Seven Essential Project Design Elements (2020).

Jonassen, D. H., & Hung, W. (2008). All problems are not equal: Implications for problem-based learning. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 2(2), 4.

Norman, G. R., & Schmidt, H. G. (1992). The psychological basis of problem-based learning: A review of the evidence. Academic Medicine, 67(9), 557-565.

Onyon, C. (2012). Problem-based learning: A review of the educational and psychological theory. The Clinical Teacher, 9(1), 22-26.

Vincent R. Genareo is a postdoctoral research associate at Iowa State University, Research Institute for Studies of Education (RISE). Renee Lyons is a PhD candidate at Clemson University, Department of Education.

There is no point in waiting for your computer when you can use the App on your cell phone. Read about the fantastic ideas in the Feature Guide below. Remind students they can use the Blackboard App for too. You might find they are already using the App now. Get the App! Take the two-minute tour .

The Blackboard Instructor app is available on iOS and Android tablets and phones.


1. From your tablet or phone, access the appropriate app store.                                                            

Download on your Apple® device                                             

Download on your Android™ device 

2. Search for Blackboard Instructor. 

3. Install the App on your mobile device. 

4. Open Blackboard Instructor and search for the full name of your school: GVSU

5. Log in with your GVSU Blackboard Learn username and password.


The App provides access to all the courses where you're enrolled as an instructor, TA, or course builder. Dive into the App on your own or read about the features first.

Feature Guide.

Discussion Boards provide benefits for stimulating student engagement and critical thinking skills in higher education. Hamann, Pollock & Wilson (2012) suggest small discussion groups elicited the highest student satisfaction and scored highest in critical thinking skills, while online discussions provided the best forum to express thoughts. While they did not favor all-class discussions, students reported that this format, too, provided benefits. However, it is essential to frame the discussion assignment, which offers students the opportunity to present their ideas and have them interact and respond to others to maximize learning.

Creating the discussion

1. Select the CREATE FORUM button from the action bar on the Discussion Board page.

2. Type a NAME for the forum, which will be used to access the forum. 

3. Add optional instructions or a description in the DESCRIPTION text box.

4. In the FORUM AVAILABILITY section, select YES.


6. Click SUBMIT.


Kerstin Hamann, Philip H. Pollock & Bruce M. Wilson (2012) Assessing Student Perceptions of the Benefits of Discussions in Small-Group, Large-Class, and Online Learning Contexts, College Teaching, 60:2, 65-75, DOI: 10.1080/87567555.2011.633407

Our goal is to provide a consistent design in Blackboard this fall for students. Faculty will notice that Fall Semester courses are now showing up in Blackboard. Take a look to see if your template is complete for your course build. Kindly note, content can always be copied from one course to another. There is no need to rebuild content material unless you have updates or author integrated content. Listed below are three areas to look for to confirm your course design looks ready for launch before building content in the courses.

The Three-Way Check

Step One – Do you see the Seidman Logo at the top of the Blackboard Starter Page?


Step Three – Do you see the WEEK BY WEEK SCHEDULE

  • If you do see these three items, great! You are ready to build your course.
  • If you do not see these items, then ask Blackboard Administration to complete a course copy FROM>SCB Online Course Template (Winter 2020) 202020 TO> (Your Unique Course Number). Include the instructor of record for the course.

If you have built course content already and need a custom build, contact Kevin Barrons barronke@gvsu.edu, and he will assist you to save time in the course design process.

Merged courses provide a consistent design for Seidman students. Faculty will notice the Fall Semester courses individually have the new Seidman template applied. However, once classes are requested for merge through Blackboard Administration, the template needs to be re-applied. Kindly note, content can always be copied from one course to the merged courses. There is no need to rebuild content material unless you have updates or author integrated content. Please consider the benefits of whether to Merge or Not to Merge first.

To Merge or Not to Merge?

Faculty Course Merger Considerations: There are some disadvantages to merging courses such as large class sections to manage. For a course that is mainly focused as a data repository, merging works very well.   If faculty intend to use communication tools such as discussion boards, journals, and groups, many faculty find the combined sections to be challenging to manage. However, given the unique delivery options offered in the Fall 2020 Semester, merging courses may be a necessary consideration. If you decide to proceed with a course merge, please follow the two steps below.

Course Merge Steps

Step One – Send a note to bbadmin@gvsu.edu indicating which courses to be merged. In your request, ask that the SCB Online Template (Winter 2020) be applied once the courses are combined.

Step Two – Move on to the Three-Way Check (below) before moving, copying, or creating content to ensure that the Seidman template WAS in fact copied into your merged course.

Seidman Template Three-Way Check:

Step One – Do you see the Seidman Logo at the top of the Blackboard Starter Page?


Step Three – Do you see the WEEK BY WEEK SCHEDULE?

  • If you do see these three items, great! You are ready to finish building out your course.
  • If you do not see these items, then ask Blackboard Administration to complete a course copy FROM>SCB Online Course Template (Winter 2020) 202020 TO> (Your Unique Course Number). Include the instructor of record for the course.

If you have built course content already and need a custom build, contact Kevin Barrons barronke@gvsu.edu, and he will assist you to save time in the course design process.

Creating and deploying tests or exams in Blackboard is a common task. Listed below are a few quick steps to follow to guide this work along with some suggestions for features in Blackboard that you may not yet be utilizing.

To Begin

  1. From the Control Panel, click Course Tools
  2. Click Tests, Surveys, and Pools
  3. Click Tests
  4. Click "Build Test"
  5. Enter a Name for the test with an optional Description and Instructions then click Submit

Click [Question Settings] to set the default point value for the most commonly used questions.  You can change the number of points whenever necessary.


  1. Select Create Question then select a question type from the list
  2. Fill out the Question Text and any answers the question requires
  3. Click Submit
  4. Repeat the steps to add additional questions to the test

Question Types:

  • Calculated Formula
  • Calculated Numeric
  • Either/Or
  • Essay
  • File Response
  • Fill in Multiple Blanks
  • Fill in the Blank
  • Hot Spot
  • Jumbled Sentence
  • Matching
  • Multiple Answer
  • Multiple Choice
  • Opinion Scale/Likert
  • Ordering
  • Quiz Bowl
  • Short Answer
  • True/False

Note: Blackboard will automatically create a grade column for the test results to be graded if you have objective questions and display the student's grades.


  1. Select a Content Area (Assignments, Documents, etc.) where the test should be added
  2. Click Assessments
  3. Click Test
  4. Choose the existing test created
  5. Add options to the test such as the due date and availability
  6. Click Submit

Tips for Setting Test Options

The following tips can be used to help ensure academic integrity in assessments:

  1. Randomize the question order in which answers appear for each question.
  2. Limit the availability of the test during a specified date/time period.
  3. Set a Timer to specify the number of hours and minutes that students will have to complete the test. This may discourage students from spending time during the test, looking at outside materials. During a timed test, the time elapsed is displayed to students. If you set the timer, you can also turn on Auto-Submit to automatically save and submit a test when the time expires.
  4. Limit what types of feedback is displayed to students upon completion of a test. Available test options include test 'Score', 'Submitted Answers', 'Correct Answers', and 'Feedback'. Providing test scores is important feedback that indicates how well students have performed and should be made available. However, through a process of elimination, students may be able to determine the correct answer for each test question if their submitted answers are identified as incorrect, or if the correct answer is provided.
  5. Consider displaying questions one-at-a-time. This works best for shorter tests of 20 questions or less.
  6. Create Blackboard Question Pools  to define multiple questions that can be randomly included in tests.
  7. Use Random Blocks  based on pools of questions to be sure that each student receives a different version of the test.
  8. If students have access to a laptop and webcam, consider using  Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor.  To reduce test anxiety, provide a practice test before the first evaluation using these tools. The practice test may help students to know that they have the technology and skills to proceed with the test. 

Qwickly is a productivity integration tool for Blackboard Learn. Qwickly allows instructors to 1) make courses available in one click, 2) send emails in multiple courses, 3) post announcements in numerous courses, and 4) see what needs grading. Instructors can work efficiently using the Qwickly module on their MyBb page in Blackboard.

Note: If Qwickly is not already on your MyBb page, you can add it by selecting Add Module in the top left corner of your MyBb page. Then find Qwickly, and choose Add.

The Four Qwickly Advantages

  1. Course Availability

Make courses available by expanding Course Availability and switching the toggle for each course to ON. To make a course unavailable, turn the toggle to OFF.

  1. Announcements

Post announcements in multiple courses by clicking Post Announcement. This step will open a new window where you can create the announcement and select courses to send the announcement.

  1. Send Email

Email students in multiple courses by selecting Send Email. This step will open a new window where you can create the email, attach a file, and choose the classes to send the message.  Attach a file by clicking the blue computer and then Choose File.

  1. Needs Grading

Expand Needs Grading to get a view of any course items that need grading. Click on “Items need grading!” to be taken to Needs Grading in your course.

You will notice instant time savings by using the Qwickly tools.

The end of the semester is upon us. Though we work hard and focus on the online content of our courses, many of us have not yet taken the opportunity to say “goodbye” to our students. Goodbyes, celebrating accomplishments and having closure, support good teaching practices and trauma-informed pedagogy. You can use technology like Panopto to create an end-of-semester, personal message to students to add higher meaning and personalize your goodbye.

Honor your students through:

  • Reinforcing their purpose and more significant connection with you, their profession or discipline, and the world.
  • Recognizing all that they have overcome and accomplished, reminding them of their strengths and their ability to influence change in their world.
  • Sharing the importance of relationships by providing space for them to connect with you and their peers through saying goodbye and stating how you will stay connected in the future

Here are some suggestions:

  • Consider making a goodbye video, reviewing the main take-aways from your course, what you have learned from your students and how they have impacted your life, how you will remember them, and your hopes for their future.
  • Provide your contact information and encourage students to stay in contact with you in the future. Please invite them to get on LinkedIn or join an alumni group on campus. They are also encouraged to follow Seidman College on the main social media platforms.
  • Use space in their final assignment feedback to include a personal statement and goodbye to each student; make sure to use their name.
  • If possible, have students invite family and/or friends to their final virtual presentations and capstones to honor all that the student has accomplished.
  • Create a meme or GIF with added humor from any technology mishap or share an inside class joke and distribute to your students in the final week. Or have them create something in the last discussion post.
  • Have students share what they have learned, accomplished, and created, and acknowledge their persistence despite the pandemic!
  • Hold space for students to share their appreciation and thoughts through a Discussion Board or video chat like Flipgrid.
  • Express how their chosen field and accomplishments prepare them to make a difference in the world.

Given all the competing pressures right now, you may think you don’t have time to devote to end of semester reflections and goodbyes, but please challenge yourself to find time as the semester winds down for this important step towards closure.


Ending the semester (2020) Retrieved from the Georgetown University website.

Were you thinking about teaching in a HyFlex or Semi-Hybrid format?

Dotstorming is a real-time or asynchronous brainstorming and decision-making app. Users can add ideas (text or image), vote on ideas, justify their choices, and comment on what has been posted by others. When used as part of a synchronous session, students can also chat with each other about their choices in the app. Dotstorming works as a discussion starter, a warm-up activity, or a brainstorming activity for a synchronous session. It could also be used as a pre-class / post-class activity to measure understanding.

What kinds of learning goals could it support: Assemble, Build Consensus, Collaborate, Express, Justify, Rank, Rate, Recommend, Select, Verify. Whoo-Wee!

Cost: Free, the instructor needs to make an account, but student users only need to click on the link to participate.
Blackboard Integration Potential: Can be inserted as a link into a Content Item, Assignment, or Discussion page. No formal integration with Blackboard Gradebook.

Reminder: You will only need to copy and paste the link in Blackboard.
Additional Resources: Instructional video


Dotstorming (2020)  Retrieved from YouTube for “Dotstorming. Com”


Tip of the Day:  90 Minute Fall Webinars – Expanding Your Teaching Ideas

As the Fall semester approaches, please note that the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team is here to offer services and support to YOU.

SIGN UP for eLearning Webinars in Sprout

All sessions will be provided in a LIVE webinar format using Blackboard Collaborate or Zoom.

Here are our webinars coming up in August and September:



  • Blackboard Essentials
    8/7/20 10:30am – 12pm, 8/18/20 10:30am – 12pm, 8/20/20 7:00pm – 8:30pm 
  • Creating, Facilitating & Grading Discussions in Blackboard
    8/10/20 10:30am – 12pm
  • Designing Blackboard Sites for Real Students with Real Needs
    8/17/20 10:30am – 12pm
  • Blackboard Collaborate Ultra: Best Practices & Getting Started
    8/14/20 1:00pm – 2:30pm, 8/25/20 2:00pm – 3:30pm 
  • Using the Grade Center to Communicate with your Students
    8/17/20 1:00pm – 2:00pm, 9/30/20 1:00pm – 2:00pm 
  • Blackboard – Assessments including Respondus Lockdown Browser/Monitor
    8/20/20 10:30am – 12pm, 9/15/20 10:30am – 12pm 
  • Developing your Grade Center
    8/24/20 10:00am – 11:30am
  • I wish I’d known that Blackboard could do that!
    9/10/20 10:00am – 11:30am 
  • Adding Rubrics in Blackboard
    9/18/20 10:30am – 12pm
  • Integrating Google Apps with Blackboard
    9/16/20 1:00pm – 2:30pm


  • Tips for using Synchronous Tools when you have Students In-seat and Connecting Virtually
    8/11/20 10:30am – 11:30am, 8/24/20 2:00pm – 3:00pm
  • Creating, Managing and Keeping your Students Engaged in their Online Group work
    8/14/20 1:00pm – 2:30pm, 9/25/20 1:00pm – 2:30pm
  • Key Strategies your First Week of Online/Hybrid Instruction
    8/21/20 1:00pm – 2:30pm
  • Reclaim Time: Design, Grading & Feedback Strategies using Bb Annotate & the Grade Center’s Audio/Video Tools
    8/26/20 3:00pm – 4:00pm, 9/18/20 1:00pm – 2:00pm, 9/29/20 10:30am – 11:30am
  • Approaches and Tools to Better Track Student Performance Online
    9/11/20 1:00pm – 2:30pm
  • 5 Things to Know and Do before Implementing Online Discussion
    8/20/20 1:30pm – 3pm
  • Applying Andragogy in Online Discussion
    9/17/20 1:30pm – 3pm


  • Creating Instructional Videos with Panopto
    8/11/20 1:00pm – 2:30pm, 8/18/20 1:00pm – 2:30pm
  • Creative Engaging and Interactive Digital Media
    9/9/20 1:00pm – 2:30pm
  • Introduction to Flipgrid for Video-Based Discussions
    8/19/20 1:00pm – 2:30pm
  • Using Padlet to Engage Online Learners
    9/10/20 1:00pm – 2:30pm

Looking for tips and technologies to support your instructional needs? Check out our quick reference guide with links to support information matched with each technology.



Deliver Content and Monitor Accessibility

Blackboard Content AreasAlly (Accessibility Checker)

Communicate with Students

Blackboard AnnouncementsDiscussionsEmailCollaborate (Live)

Connect Live with Students, Online Office Hours, and Live Class Sessions

Blackboard Collaborate

Grade, Track, and Monitor Students

Blackboard Performance DashboardRetention CenterGrade Center

Create and Share Video


Collect Assignments and Post Grades/Feedback

Blackboard AssignmentsSafeAssignPanopto Video AssignmentsPanopto Video QuizzesInteractive RubricsBlogs/JournalsGraded DiscussionsGrade Center

Build and Deliver Quizzes/Tests and Post Grades/Feedback

Blackboard Test ManagerRespondus LockDown Browser/MonitorGrade Center

Tools for Managing Academic Integrity

Blackboard Test OptionsSafeAssign Assignments, Respondus LockDown Browser/Monitor


VISIT the Teaching with Technology Support Web Site

Padlet is a digital pinboard software, a virtual wall, and a collaborative space that allows users to gather a variety of objects into a single digital place. Users can write text, record audio, and video, add links to websites from across the web, or upload pictures to a Padlet wall. It could be used as part of a live discussion (along with Zoom or in-person teaching), as part of an asynchronous discussion, or as a space to develop a collaborative wiki-like project. Users can “like” others’ posts and comment on them. One nice additional feature of Padlet that you can allow users to post anonymously.

What kinds of learning goals could it support :  Argue, Assemble, Collaborate, Communicate, Compose, Defend, Discuss, Dramatize, Explain, Express, Rate, Share, Synthesize

Cost: Free to make an account. Users can then share the link to a created “wall” with students without students having to download the software or make an account.

Blackboard Integration Potential Padlets can be shared via link or embedded right into a Blackboard Content Item page (students could participate in the Padlet discussion without leaving Blackboard). No formal integration with Blackboard Gradebook.

Additional Resources:  General instructional video


Padlet (2020) Retrieved from YouTube

If you’re looking for a simple way to engage students in meaningful exchanges between you and students and between students, Piazza may be just the right tool! Check out this short introductory video.   

Description: A free online Q&A app with a wiki-style format that enables students to post questions and respond to each other. Instructors can endorse answers to keep the class on track. The app can cut down on redundant email questions, especially in large classes. Students can post anonymously. Students can add text and images to posts. Students are notified via email when someone responds to their questions, and they can reply directly through the email. It can be used as a discussion forum (an alternative to Blackboard  Discussions) or as a place to post questions on course content.

What kinds of learning goals could it support: Discuss, Examine, Explain, Locate, Review, Translate, Understand
Cost: Free, instructors must make an account; students do not have to create an account if Piazza is integrated with Blackboard Content Item pages, and they will be accessing Piazza through Blackboard. A web link insertion will need to be included in your content item page.
Grading: Cannot be integrated with Blackboard Gradebook. Graded activities will need to be added separately in the grade center.
Additional Resources:  General instructional video from the student perspective


Piazza (2020) Retrieved from YouTube

Discord is a student collaboration tool with your own class name for high-level learning and problem-solving. Check out an introductory video here.

Description: Originally designed for gamers, but with lots of educational use potential, Discord allows instructors to customize discussion boards with voice, video, and text responses. You can even set up a server with your class name. Imagine students being able to chat about a problem or scenario in real-time. Instructors can set up “teams” of students or allow students to self-sort into channels. It does a lot of the same things as Blackboard discussion boards, but it has a look and feel of a complex texting app (e.g., Slack). It can be used either as a downloaded app (to computer desktop or phone) or online within a browser.
What kinds of learning goals could it support: Argue, Collaborate, Communicate, Compose, Defend, Discuss, Dramatize, Explain, Express, Synthesize
Cost: Free, users must create an account.

Blackboard Integration Potential: Create a Content Item and Web Link to your Class Server.


Discord (2020) Retrieved from YouTube

Faculty will often download grades during or at the end of the semester. Downloads from the Blackboard Grade Center allow us to create attendance sheets and class lists with optional grade columns with many uses. Follow the five steps below to create your list.

D ownloading your grades instructional video.


  1. Go to the Grade Center in your Blackboard course.
  2. Go to the top-right edge of the Grade Center and select WORK OFFLINE.
  3. Download or upload files in this section.
  4. Select what to download (you are provided with choices of what information you need).
  5. Select the location to SAVE the file and enter a file name.

The Class Roster comes in handy for several reasons for managing a class. As we get ready for the upcoming semester, it is good to know how to get the class organized. Listed below are the steps in developing a class roster for any course on Blackboard. Here are the steps.

Downloading Your Class Roster.

  1. On the menu of your Blackboard course, select Tools
  2. Select Roster
  3. To see your class list, make sure that the Search field is empty and click Go
  4. You should now see a list of the users enrolled in your course.


  1. Click Grade Center found under Control Panel, then click Full Grade Center
  2. Once you’re in the Full Grade Center, click Work Offline found in the top right corner of the screen
  3. Click Download from the drop-down menu
  4. In the Data section, select User Information Only
  5.  Click Submit
  6. A new download page will open, click Download and save the file to your computer


With the number of changes in delivery modalities and technology in classrooms, faculty are encouraged to practice before the start of the semester in their assigned classroom(s). This will help create familiarity with the technology in the classroom as well as with Zoom in Blackboard or Blackboard Collaborate. Tune In and practice with the technology, establish a remote test site, and create a sample recording.

HyFlex Training Options:

Student Tips for Online Learning:

Technology requirements for students engaged in online/hybrid learning can be found online at this link.

Additional Resources:

NOTE: Zoom has limited cloud storage (about 3 hours). So faculty who are recording their Zoom meetings need to get those recordings into Panopto before their storage limit is reached.

Stay tuned for more details to come!


Our AACSB accreditation requires that we document evidence of learning which we do through uploading exams, quizzes or "other evidence" into Digital Measures. If you are administering a test through McGraw Hill’s Connect site, you'll need to download a copy to keep in DM. Below are steps for downloading a test. You will have two options for printing, which include 1) a printed hard copy and 2) print to .pdf (electronic format). If you desire to make a copy of the test in MS Word, you can copy and paste the list of questions in a Word document for editing and further use. The Technical Support Line for McGraw Hill Connect, if you should need additional assistance, is (800) 331-5094.

Here are the steps for printing or saving from McGraw Hill Connect.

Step 1 Log into your McGraw Hill Connect Account

Step 2 Select a course.

Step 3 Select the quiz

Step 4 Select the Preview tab

Step 5 Select the Printer in the right-hand corner.

Step 6 Select Print

Step 7 You will have two options for printing, which include 1) a printed hard copy and 2) print to .pdf (electronic format). Notice all the questions will be listed.

Step 8 You may print a hard copy of the test to a printer or select Print to .pdf (electronic) file.

Here's a short video created by Angela Zondervan showing these steps.

Special notes:

  • Only tests that have been created can be displayed for the print option.
  • Be sure to check with McGraw Hill about copying any copyrighted content.
  • Tests that contain all multiple choice questions can be saved as one file using the steps outlined above. If you have a mix of question types within an exam such as multiple choice and short answer, you will need to print each question separately. One tip to reduce this burden when designing future tests is to set up the test in two parts - the multiple choice questions separate from the short answer. In that case, you can print the multiple choice question part as one file and then you will need to print each short answer question separately. Unfortunately we have tried working with McGraw Hill to find a better solution and it does not seem to exist.
  • Secure the test in a digital file format with the proper naming convention.
  • Tests that have unique graphics or algorithms may not download correctly and will need to be recreated.

Faculty are now planning for the Fall 2020 Semester while putting together all the needed tools for teaching. While attendance taking in the past was pretty much straight forward, for fall 2020, the rules have changed. Listed below is the approved temporary policy, along with some helpful tips to plan for learning engagement.


  • The CR/NC date is extended to September 11, 2020
  • The late withdrawal date is extended to November 20, 2020


The University has a published Class Attendance Policy in the GVSU Catalog that details what is expected of both students and faculty. COVID-19 related absences should be "excused," according to the current policy. Students should also have the ability to quarantine at any point in the semester if they are concerned about COVID-19. Class participation may still be part of a student's grade, as engagement can be accomplished in multiple ways, which do not require students to be "in-seat" during the course.

  • Faculty are prohibited from having an attendance policy that directly affects grades.
  • Notes from health care providers are not necessary for "excused" absences.

The current Class Attendance Policy (from the GVSU Catalog) covers options for faculty members:

"At Grand Valley, regular attendance in class and other course activities is considered an essential part of the students' educational experience and a requirement for an adequate evaluation of student academic progress.

Coursework missed because of excused absences should be made up to the satisfaction of the instructor. Although makeup work will not remove the full adverse effect of the absence in all cases, faculty members will make reasonable accommodations for students when an absence is excused. The accommodations available will vary with course and program. The degree of the effect upon grades will vary with the nature and amount of work missed and must be measured according to the instructor's best judgment. In the case of excessive absences, the instructor may refuse to grant credit for the course. Under some circumstances, an incomplete grade followed by a resolution according to university policy, or withdrawal from the course, is appropriate.

Absences due to the following reasons should be treated as excused: 1) absences of students who miss class due to active participation in an intercollegiate event; 2) absences due to the observance of religious holidays, see PC 9.6, Religious Inclusion Policy; 3) absences due to military duty; 4) absences due to jury duty, or appearance in court or other government hearings; 5) student medical conditions that preclude class attendance; 6) birth or adoption of a child; and 7) absences due to attendance at an academic and/or professional conference. Instructors have the discretion to determine whether absences for other reasons should be treated as excused (e.g., study abroad program)."

Specific examples and resources include:


Tips for learning engagement – HyFlex situations:

We can use the HyFlex situation model to apply to any of our courses. The HyFlex situation includes four pillars. You can use any of the items listed as teaching modes of instruction, depending on the format of your course.

  1. Learner Choice
  2. Equivalency
  3. Reusability
  4. Accessibility

Now let's break this down.

Learner Choice includes Face-to-Face, synchronous online (Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate) and, asynchronous. Any combination of these would provide benefits.

Equivalency and delivery of lectures would include the in-class portion or Blackboard portion. Recordings of the lecture would consist of the same content. 

Reusability if lectures are recorded for later review, students will review the same lecture. They can replay something they don't understand. 

Accessibility – with all content created in Blackboard, students all have the learning tools set up by the instructor. 

Virtual Attendance is "Real Attendance."

Faculty seek out the best ways possible to increase student learning. As we approach our course design, we look for solutions that provide the highest impact on student achievement. Below is an excerpt from the Teaching with Technology web page at Grand Valley State University.

The BIG 10 TIPS (Tips 1-5)

TIP 1 - Design your course to be asynchronous with online resources.

  • While you will be holding class live, it is essential in HyFlex (or online delivery) teaching to build up asynchronous materials and tools in your Blackboard course such as content, assignments, assessments, discussion boards, learning activities, and grade center columns.

TIP 2 - Balance In-Seat and Remote Learners

  • Teaching in-seat students and remote learners is a careful balance of remembering to include “ALL” students in your classroom conversation.
  • To help monitor remote learners, you may consider having a student in the classroom join the virtual session to help control the chat, activities, and needs of the remote learners.
  • Go over some rules of the road or allow students to create “meeting norms” for HyFlex instruction. Many students haven’t had HyFlex learning options before and will need coaching.
  • Review sample ideas for generating Zoom or Collaborate “Meeting Norms.”
  • Students will need guidance on “how” and “when” to interact with course content, the instructor, and other students.
  • Attendance and online participation expectations should be included in your syllabus. (See this example.)

TIP 3 - Repeat Questions from In-Seat Students for Remote Learners

  • It’s important your in-seat students and your remote learners can always hear the dialogue that is taking place.  
  • ALWAYS repeat the questions/comments that are said in class to your remote learners.
  • When speaking, encourage both remote and in-seat students to say their name so that they can be easily identified.  For example, “This is [your name], and I have a question. This helps individuals who are accessing the session remotely to get to know students who are participating in-seat. 

TIP 4 - Look into the Camera when Addressing Remote Learners + Stay close to your Microphone

  • It’s important your remote learners feel connected to you and your content, so ALWAYS look at them via the web camera when talking to them.
  • It will feel more natural to make continual eye contact with your in-seat students or your data projector (which has your students videos up on the screen) so practice making eye contact with both the web camera and your in-seat students throughout your session. 
  • Because the web camera is also the microphone in most classrooms, you will need to stay close to the instructor station when delivering content so that your remote students can hear you.

TIP 5 - Ask Questions and Comments from Remote Learners and Allow Time for Engagement

  • Engagement Option 1: Ask remote learners to unmute their microphones and speak.
  • Engagement Option 2: Ask remote learners to use the “raise hand” option to address specific students within a particular order.
  • Engagement Option 3: Ask students to use the chat option and monitor their responses from your instructor station or the data projector display. 
  • Engagement Option 4: Use the Polling options available in Blackboard Collaborate or Zoom.
  • Don’t forget there are real “live” people in the class to interact with during the course delivery.
  • Encourage students not to be passive learners, rather speak up, and ask questions. If they don’t participate, it is easy to forget that they are there. Encourage remote learners to not multitask during synchronous class meetings and to treat your synchronous class meetings as though they were attending in-person.  

is an excerpt from the Teaching with Technology web page at Grand Valley State University.

The BIG 10 TIPS (Tips 6-10)

TIP 6 - Engage through Annotation

  • Use the whiteboard found in either Blackboard Collaborate or Zoom to encourage engagement.  It’s especially useful for brainstorming and sharing ideas. 
  • In-seat students can also participate in the whiteboard if they are connected with their device to your session.
  • You can also share a Google document link in the chat area so that students can also participate and edit content in “real-time.”  This Google document can also be shared with the entire class during your session.   The same thing could happen if you are using something like Padlet (a virtual bulletin board) or Google Jamboard for resource sharing or collective brainstorming.

TIP 7 - Facilitate Small Group Discussions

  • If you typically break up your class into smaller groups throughout the class to participate in small group discussions, think-pair-share, etc., use the breakout room function in either Blackboard Collaborate or Zoom to simulate a little group discussion experience to your remote students.
  • Give clear directions as to what your small groups should be doing and set a timer or clear time limitations as to when you will be bringing the whole class back to the “main room” of your session.
  • ALWAYS ask remote students (who were part of your breakout room discussions) to share what took place in their small groups. 

TIP 8 - Add Syllabus Information to Support Students

  • If you are using Blackboard Collaborate, we ALWAYS recommend using Google Chrome as your web browser.  Whenever possible, reboot your computer prior to a session.
  • Encourage all learners to test their microphone, web camera and speakers at the start of every virtual session.
  • Remember to think about video backgrounds, and try not to sit directly in front of or beside a bright light source or a distracting environment. Experiment with moving lamps and your camera until you can see your brightly-lit face on the screen. Covering a bright window or moving to another location may help.
  • When possible, try to attend your class meetings in quiet, indoor locations to control ambient noise. If you're unable to attend from a quiet location, mute your microphone before joining the class meeting. You will be able to unmute when you need to speak unless the instructor has chosen to mute all students.
  • Whenever possible plug your computer into a hardwired network connection, or sit near your wifi router if you are accessing via a wireless connection.

TIP 9 - Asynchronous Communication Tips

  • Communicating with your students outside of regularly scheduled class periods is a vital part of establishing the trust and sense of community.
  • Use the Announcements tool to provide timely reminders before and after class about assignments, due dates, etc.
  • Announcements can help prep students for the day's synchronous session as well as recap, reinforce, and clarify important ideas that were revealed in-class activities and discussions. You can also post the link to your virtual session recordings as a follow-up to your meetings in the Announcement area.
  • Establish and monitor online discussion activities in Blackboard, in-between synchronous class meetings. 
  • Refer to specific discussion threads and their authors in synchronous class sessions make it clear that you value that learning activity and guide them towards the most important aspects of course content.

TIP 10 - Be Aware of Screen Sharing

  • As you are using Blackboard Collaborate or Zoom, be aware that you are sharing your screen. That is, take note to what applications or content you have visible. Ensure you do not have any confidential or private information that may be visible. Before class, clean up your desktop and close any applications, browser tabs, or windows that are not needed.

Let’s roll!

The clock is ticking to get our courses up and ready. Listed below is a Ready, Set, Go approach to open your course. Perhaps you have completed the steps already. If not, this is a quick check on getting your course ready for the semester.


PREPARE your Blackboard Course Site

  • Upload your syllabus, faculty contact information, content, assignments, discussion boards, learning activities, grading requirements, or other course materials into Blackboard.
  • Include technology hardware/software requirements (webcam, headset, speaker, microphone) and connection information for remote learners.

VISIT your Classroom

  • To best plan ahead, visit your classroom prior to the start of the semester so that you have time to practice with the classroom technology and/or practice connecting your own laptop with the instructor station data projector and other classroom equipment.


  • Communicate with your students well before your class meeting. 
  • In your Announcement, provide students with specific details regarding your meeting dates/times/physical location, technology hardware/software requirements, a link to your virtual session, as well as a class agenda.
  • Share your remote learner student expectations. Here is a sample "student expectations" list.
  • If your class has been broken up into various groups to accommodate classroom capacity constraints, make sure your students know which group they are in and which days they are required to attend in-seat and which days they are expected to attend remotely. Here is a sample “teams” list with dates.

TIP: Be sure to include requirements for attendance or participation requirements for both the in-seat and online students.

SHARE Class Meeting Agenda

Share an agenda with your students prior to your synchronous meeting. 

Agendas do not have to be long, involved, or even particularly detailed - but share your plan with your students ahead of your meeting so that you can stay on task and they can be better prepared as to how they will be participating.  

The agenda could even be a brief outline of what topics the class meeting will cover.  Here is an example of a more detailed class agenda that also includes the weekly participation requirements.


START Blackboard Collaborate or Zoom

On the day of your in person class and live remote session:

  1. Power up the classroom data projector and desktop computer if needed.
  2. Log into the instructor workstation and launch either Google Chrome for Blackboard Collaborate or the Zoom application.
  3. Adjust the classroom web camera.
  4. Test audio, video, and screen-sharing options as you prepare for class.
  5. Preload all necessary files and open web links in separate browser tabs.
  6. Have notes next to you, and bookmark anything you need for quick access or reference.
  7. Clear your virtual desktop of unnecessary files, browser tabs, or open applications.

TIP: Because the web camera is also the microphone in most classrooms, you will need to stay close to the instructor station when delivering content so that your remote students can hear you.

WELCOME Students and Remind Students to Mute

  • Always start class by greeting your in-seat and remote students.  
  • Encourage your remote students to mute their microphones until they are ready to talk or ask a question.  
  • As the instructor, you can also mute all microphones, or individual microphones in either Blackboard Collaborate or Zoom.  You won’t want to hear background noises from students joining remotely so it’s important that their microphones are muted.
  • If any of your in-seat students bring a device and also connect to your virtual session,  they should mute their speakers to avoid echo audio feedback.

TIP: Recruit students in the classroom joining a virtual session to help monitor the chat, activities, and needs of the remote learners.

SHARE Content and Course Materials

  • Use the classroom data projector to share your screen, camera, or application windows to ensure content is available to your remote learners and in-seat students. 
  • You may need to use the “change camera” icon, if you are also connecting to a document camera to share content. (Multiple cameras are supported by both Blackboard Collaborate and Zoom.)

MONITOR Participation  

  • If you are requiring student participation, once you launch your session in either Blackboard Collaborate or Zoom, you will see the students joining your session in the participate list.
  • If participation is a requirement, you may want to get in the habit of cross-checking your class list against those in the room and those joining virtually. You can download a copy of your class list from Banner or from within your Blackboard Grade Center (work offline feature).
  • You might want to also print off your Blackboard Class Photo Roster to more easily learn your students' names.
  • Finally, having students complete an online activity can virtually register their attendance.

RECORD your Session

  • Blackboard Collaborate recordings have unlimited space because they are stored on Bb servers and they can remain in your Bb site.
  • Zoom cloud recordings have a total GVSU limit of 18 TB. Note Regarding recording and FERPA and student privacy considerations:   The  Office of Provost provides guidance for class recordings , including the following: If students are part of any course-related recordings (voice and/or image), then a syllabus statement about the recording is required." To ensure FERPA compliance, Zoom links require protection and student consent is not necessary if those recordings will only be available to students in the same section. Student consent is necessary if the recording is going to be shared with students in other sections. ( Blackboard Collaborate  links are already secured, embedded into the course site, and require no other privacy settings.)

TIP: If live streaming your class session is NOT important,  Panopto  is a better solution to capture your lecture.

Remote teaching allows faculty to be more creative with remote teaching solutions. In many cases, faculty often try one or two new activities in their courses to increase learning. Below is a quick reference of the most common tools being used in the University for face-to-face and remote teaching. The instructional need is matched with each remote teaching technology tool.

The Crosswalk

Instructional Need

Remote Teaching Solution Tools

Deliver Content and Monitor Accessibility

Blackboard Content Areas, Ally (Accessibility Checker)

Communicate with Students

Blackboard Announcements, Discussions, Email, Collaborate (Live Web Conferencing)

Connect Live with Students, Online Office Hours, and Live Stream In-Person or Online Class Sessions

Blackboard Collaborate (Live Web Conferencing) 

Zoom Web Conferencing

Grade, Track, and Monitor Students

Blackboard Performance Dashboard, Retention Center, Grade Center

Create and Share Video, Record a Lecture


Collect Assignments and Post Grades/Feedback

Blackboard Assignments, SafeAssign, Panopto Video Assignments, Panopto Video Quizzes, Interactive Rubrics, Blogs/Journals, Graded Discussions, Grade Center

Build and Deliver Quizzes/Tests and Post Grades/Feedback

Blackboard Test Manager, Respondus LockDown Browser/Monitor, Grade Center

Tools for Managing Academic Integrity 

Blackboard Test Options, SafeAssign Assignments, Respondus LockDown Browser/Monitor

The Seidman Digital studio (SCB 1103) is an excellent tool for recording your asynchronous lectures. The Studio will continue to offer regular drop-in office hours which will be Tuesday-Friday 8:30am-5pm starting August 31st. It is recommended that faculty schedule an appointment (Lightboard Video Sign-up Sheet) in order to ensure access to the studio. Limited Saturday hours will be available during the Fall Semester by appointment only (no drop-in access) with at least two weeks notice. Reach out to (studiod@gvsu.edu) to request a Saturday appointment.


Starting with the beginning of the fall semester, the new hours for the Seidman Digital Studio will be:

Tuesday , Thursday and Friday 8:30am-12:30pm and 1-5pm

Wednesday 8am-6pm

While these are drop-in hours, you are also encouraged to schedule an appointment to ensure that the Studio is available when needed. You’ll typically sign up for a 2-hour block of time where you will spend roughly half of the time shooting the video and half editing. You do need to be on hand during the editing process. During a 2-hour block, expect to record 2-4 videos.

Note that limited Saturday hours are available by appointment only with at least a 2-week notice. To request a Saturday appointment, email studiod@gvsu.edu.


In order to schedule an appointment to use the Seidman Digital Studio during their regular hours (above), please click on the link below to find an available time that works for you.

Google Docs Scheduler

PROCEDURES FOR Accessing the Seidman Digital Studio

Faculty and staff who are NOT on a remote work plan for the semester may utilize the Seidman Digital Studio without requesting permission to access the building. However, faculty may not work in their office before/after using the Studio unless it is within the hours of their approved on-campus work schedule. Additional office work hours must be requested using this form:

Seidman Building Access Request 

NOTE: Faculty and staff who are on an approved remote work plan for the semester must request permission from Dean Lawson or Associate Dean Isely prior to entering the Seidman Center in accordance with the guidelines and protocols you received from the Dean. Please email them directly to request this permission.

When working on campus, guidelines for health and safety behaviors must be followed at all times. This includes self-screening, mask wearing, social-distancing, etc.


In order to make the best use of your time in the Digital Studio, please prepare according to the instructions provided in this short, introductory video.

Lightboard Video

Also, here are the PowerPoint templates mentioned in the video.

Left Handed Template

Right Handed Template

These materials are also available on the Seidman Resource website here:

Digital Studio Consultants email:   studiod@gvsu.edu