Center for Educational Resources and Technology at DSU

Month: May 2015

Creating Instructor Presence: Instructor Module in Blackboard

Creating instructor presence in your Blackboard course, especially in a hybrid or online course, is a great way to engage students and provide an introduction to you and your background as the instructor of the course. One way to achieve instructor presence in your course is to add an Instructor Module containing your photo and some background information about yourself. Here is an example Instructor Module (show module). The Instructor Module can be added to the “Course Home” page of all your courses.

To request an instructor module, log in to Blackboard and enter the “DEIT Faculty Community” Organization found under the “My Organizations” module. Once inside the DEIT Faculty Community, click on the “Instructor Presence” link on the left navigation menu. See image below for a screenshot:



In the Instructor Presence section, you will see an explanation of the Instructor Course Module and an example of what an Instructor Module looks like. You can use this example module to help generate ideas for the content of your instructor module. To request the creation of an instructor module, click on the “Instructor Module Creation Request” link below the module explanation and example. You will need to submit a 150 x 150 pixel photo of yourself in JPG format and a short biographical text about yourself in the form of a Word document. See image below for a screenshot:




Once your request has been submitted, a member of DEIT will use the photo and text you have provided to create your own personal instructor module. This module can be added to any number of your courses on the “Course Home” page.

if you have any questions, please contact DEIT at

Panopto: Is the Flipped Classroom the New Norm?

The staff at Panopto, a lecture capture application which allows instructors to capture video, audio, screencasts, and/or PowerPoint in a recorded format to share to students, has found that since the dawn of the concept of the “flipped classroom” in 2007, there has been a radical shift towards the idea of the flipped classroom becoming more and more common in classrooms.

According to Panopto’s article:

  • One in three instructors have flipped their classroom
  • One in three instructors are planning to flip their classroom
  • Two in five instructors have not tried flipping their classroom

Panopto projects that by next year at least half of all instructors will have tried flipping their classroom.

To learn more about Panopto and the flipped classroom, read the full article here:


DEIT is happy to work with instructors on learning how to flip their classroom with Panopto. Schedule a personal workshop with a member of DEIT through our Workshop Session Request Form found here: .

Call DEIT at 610-282-110 x2290 or email us at to learn more!



Social Media and Online Teaching: What’s the Connection?

Social media is form of communication which is just becoming more popular in the field of education, with increased academic Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, and even Instagram accounts. Some instructors are now accepting and even incorporating social media into their courses.

In an article for, Joshua Kim describes his theory that there is a direct connection between instructors who maintain a effective social media accounts and create a good presence in online courses. Kim’s theory comes down to two principles that are best practices for effectively utilizing social media and online courses: creating a sense of presence and community.

In social media, presence often means sharing content to a group of followers on a regular basis and responding to any comments on the content that you’ve shared.  Similarly, in an online course, teachers can create a greater sense of presence in their course by being available and posting updates and comments on students’ submissions or comments in a timely manner. Instructor presence in an online course makes the students feel more personally connected with the instructor and the course.

To establish community on social media, users create groups or even special accounts to gather other users with similar interests together. In a online class, an instructor can create outlets for students to discuss and share ideas with each other surrounding the course subject. In developing a sense of community, instructors are engaging students to work on their collaboration skills to create a community of learning in their course.

To learn more about the connection between effective social media and good online courses, read the full article here:

Video capture with the Swivl Robot

The use of video continues to be an important element in online and hybrid courses. Video helps engage students, especially visual learners, and can help connect students to the instructor and to each other. A relatively new method for creating videos is the Swivl Robot, now available from DEIT. The vendor defines their solution as “a mobile accessory with a paired app (iOS and Android) and wirelessly connected cloud video service.” (


(Image courtesy of

The Swivl Robot allows the integrated camera on an iOS or Android mobile device to be used as a capture source. The Robot then pairs with a marker, worn by the presenter, allowing the Robot to track the presenter as they move around the room. The marker also includes a microphone that captures the presenter’s voice during the recording, removing the need for additional equipment.

The Swivl can be used with any native camera or recording apps, including the Panopto and Collaborate tools used at DeSales. Users can also create a free account on, allowing the use of the Swivl Capture app for uploading videos, PowerPoint/Keynote presentations, notes, and interactive whiteboard content that can be synchronized with captured videos. Swivl is currently offering unlimited storage within the Swivl Cloud, and presentations can be embedded within Blackboard, linked on a webpage, or emailed to students.

Recent testing by DeSales faculty has generated some positive feedback:


To schedule a demonstration, or to borrow the Swivl Robot for short-term use, please contact DEIT at 610-282-1100 x2290 or Additional information is also available on

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