Center for Educational Resources and Technology at DSU

Month: November 2017

Guest Post: Benefits of Giving Students Choices, Maryellen Weimer, Faculty Focus

In this post from Faculty Focus, Maryellen Weimer highlights the benefits of giving students choices in order for students to become more self-directed learners, develop skills for asking the right questions, and increase motivation and buy-in.

Example of decisions that instructors might let student make include paper or project topics, choice of exam questions or homework problems, and some power over what to read.

View the whole post here. 

Introducing Panopto 5.6

Get ready for an early Christmas present! Panopto is releasing the next version of its web platform on December 21st — version 5.6. Please note, on the 21st Panopto will be down from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM ET to perform the update. Any attempt to access recordings or upload new videos during this time will result in a “Server unable to connect” message.

Among the headline features of the new version:

  • Blackboard Gradebook integration — Panopto’s video quizzes can be integrated as Blackboard assignments, and quiz results can be accessed directly from within the Blackboard gradebook.
  • Build video presentations in the editor — You can use the HTML5 editor to upload individual media files and slide decks in order to build new video and audio presentations.
  • New analytics capabilities — You can download an Excel spreadsheet that reports on usage by viewing type (mobile vs. embed vs. interactive vs. download).
  • Playlists — Playlists allow videos to be presented in a single, ordered list even if those videos exist in different folders.
  • Support for 360-degree video — You can upload videos captured by 360-degree cameras and watch them using the interactive player, embedded player, and popular VR headsets like Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift, and Samsung Gear VR.

More information will be coming as the release date gets closer.

DeSales DEIT

Blackboard Down for Maintenance Thursday, December 21 from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm

On Thursday, December 21st from 6:30 am until 6:30 pm Blackboard will be unavailable due to maintenance. Instructors and students should plan accordingly.

This maintenance window has been selected to minimize the adverse impact on the university community, but we recognize that some inconvenience may occur.

Questions? Contact DEIT at 610-282-1100 or 

Workshop: Memory Recall Techniques for Instructors: Weds, Nov 29 at 3 pm (on campus) or 7 pm (online)

Make learning more memorable for your students! Memory Recall Techniques for Instructors: Wednesday, November 29 at 3 pm (Dooling Hall, Room 40) OR 7 pm (online via Blackboard Collaborate).

Registration appreciated at Questions: or 610-282-1100 x2290.

Memory Recall Arnold

Research suggests that students create stronger connections with course material when it is presented in smaller portions in continuous cycles throughout a learning experience. Come and learn about techniques including micro lessons, mass vs. spaced studying, and priming exams. Your hosts will include DEIT instructional designers Jen Walz and Chris Hewatt as well as special guest collaborator at the 3 pm session, Dr. Sarah Starling, Assistant Professor of Psychology.

See you next Wednesday, November 29! Don’t forget.

Eric Hagan
Director, Distance Education and Instructional Technology

jog your memory

Results of IHE Survey of Faculty Attitudes Toward Technology

The trade publication Inside Higher Ed recently published the results of its 2017 Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology.

Much of the survey focused on faculty attitudes toward online classes. In my view, like “regular” classes, online or hybrid classes can be taught poorly or well. Due to the increased use of technology, in my view, faculty members need to take more of a team approach and lean on support resources such as DEIT’s instructional designers.

Some highlights from the national faculty survey:

  • 62% agree with the statement “I fully support the increased use of educational technologies.” Only 8% disagree.
  • 42% of instructors reported having taught at least only one online class (but only 21% at private institutions).
  • An increasing minority of faculty (33%) agree that student outcomes are as good or better in an online class as an in-person class (roughly equal proportions either are neutral or disagree). But among faculty members that have taught online themselves, 45% agree.
  • Faculty concerns about online classes include lack of interaction during class (86%), reaching at-risk students (79%), rigorously engaging students in course material (60%), maintaining academic integrity (60%), and delivering necessary content to meet learning objectives (51%).
  • 70% of instructors that have taught online say the experience helped their teaching. Even more say teaching online helped them learn to use multimedia content and the learning management system. About 50% say they are more comfortable using active and project-based learning techniques and better at communicating with students outside of class as a result of teaching online.

If you have ideas for incorporating instructional technology in your classes, contact DEIT to either talk things out or to get help with implementation. DEIT is here to support the faculty.

Eric J. Hagan, Ed.D.
Director, Distance Education and Instructional Technology


DEIT Humility Fail

Found on DEIT whiteboard. St. Francis would not approve.

Announcement notifications are delayed or not delivered

Blackboard technical bulletin

A recent issue has been brought to the attention of DEIT regarding the announcement notification function in Blackboard.

When creating an announcement via Blackboard instructors are given the opportunity to send a copy of the announcement out immediately to all students in a course. Typically, the selection of this option results in an email to students notifying them of the new announcement that also provides the text of the message. In some cases, however, all or some of the emails have been delayed, on occasion by as much as two weeks. Blackboard has acknowledged the issue as a known problem with the system.

Currently, the behavior has only been seen at DeSales in large classes and organizations with 50+ users, and only when using the “Send a copy of this announcement immediately” option when creating an announcement. Sending emails directly using the Send DSU Email button available within classes appears unaffected.

It is important to note that the announcement will still appear for students within Blackboard in both the My Announcements area as well as a link underneath the course in which the announcement was created. Students should still get the abbreviated notification that a new announcement has been posted unless they have opted out of those types of communications. An alert is also sent to students through the Blackboard app if they are logged on via their mobile device.

The DEIT team will be updating Blackboard on December 21st to a version that should resolve this issue. Until that point, it is recommended that all faculty and organization leaders use the Send DSU Email button in conjunction with any announcements involving critical information.

MyDSU upgrade

The DeSales Web Manager recently announced a change to the MyDSU portal that will include some possible system outages on Wednesday, November 15th. ( The DeSales DEIT team would like everyone to know that Blackboard will remain available throughout that time, though if MyDSU is down you’ll need to log in directly on

Any problems accessing either MyDSU or Blackboard should be reported to the DeSales Help Desk (610.282.1100 x4357 or

After the upgrade is complete accessing some of DEIT’s information will be a bit different. Blackboard will remain a link on the Applications list located on the right side of the screen.

To access the DEIT departmental pages you’ll need to click on the Menu link at the top-left of the page, select Departments & Offices, and then pick DEIT – Distance Education and Instructional Technology.

Online Courses Best for Introverts? Guest Post

In this guest post that appeared in Inside Higher Ed, Karen Costa explains why online education might be the best bet for introverted students. See the full post here.

Faculty Satisfaction Survey Results

Thank you to the 94 DeSales full-time and part-time faculty members that responded in October to the Distance Education and Instructional Technology Department’s 2017 Faculty Satisfaction Survey. DEIT conducted a similar survey in 2015, which provides a baseline for comparison.

Key findings:

  • Ninety-six percent (96%) of respondents expressed overall satisfaction with DEIT’s faculty support services (up from 90% in 2015).
  • Eighty-one percent (81%) of respondents rated DeSales’ level of instructional technology infrastructure and support as better than peer institutions (up from 65% in 2015).
  • Eighty-four percent (84%) of respondents reported that they had “a good understanding of the services DEIT offers and how these services relate to your teaching” (up from 78% in 2015).
  • Perception improved of the effectiveness of the Help Desk in handling instructional technology issues. Fifty-eight percent (58%) found the Help Desk “effective” or “very effective” while only 15% found it “ineffective” or “very ineffective” (26% were “neutral”). In 2015, more faculty found the Help Desk to be a negative than a positive.

You may access a PDF version of the survey results by clicking this link.

Please contact me if you have questions or feedback on the survey process.

Warm regards,
Eric J. Hagan, Ed.D.
Director, Distance Education and Instructional Technology

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