Archives for July 2014

#BbWorld14 Notes – Blackboard Product Development State of the Union


Presenter: Gary Lang (@garylang), Blackboard
Date/Time: Thu, July 17, 2014, 9:15 AM – 10:00 AM
Location: San Polo 3403

Description: Following Blackboard’s corporate keynote, this session will provide more specific information about Blackboard’s long term vision for product development



Trends Driving Changes in Education

  • Education is truly global
  • Non-traditional learners
  • Consumer preferences/alternative models
  • Learner centric education
  • Big-data in the mainstream
  • Online and mobile everywhere

Moving from a little “t” to a big “T”

  • Technology culture, developed product technology affinities
  • Key Trends

    World-class foundation teams formed

    • Architecture Team
    • Core Mobile Services

    • Engineering Services
    • Integration Services
    • User Experience

Honored to be Receiving Blackboard Exemplary Course Catalyst Award at #BbWorld14

Blackboard Catalyst Award WinnerWhile at BbWorld 2014, I have the privilege of accepting a Blackboard Catalyst Exemplary Course Award for my Blackboard course, ETT 510: Instructional Media and Technology, which I designed and taught online during Fall 2013. This course was reviewed by the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program and received the distinction of being named an Exemplary Course.

Jason Rhode receiving Blackboard Catalyst Exemplary Course Award Jason Rhode receiving Blackboard Catalyst Exemplary Course Award at BbWorld14

While I’ve previously shared feedback from reviewers, course tour highlighting notable elements of the course design, and even made the entire course available to self-enroll and/or download as OER package, I thought I’d also share below the other kind “kudos” I’ve received related to this award thus far…photos from the awards presentation to be added later.

The following announcement was sent by La Vonne Neal, Dean, NIU College of Education, on Monday, 7/14/14 in her “Monday Memo” to NIU Education faculty and staff:

This week I am proud to announce that Dr. Jason Rhode, an instructor in the Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment (ETRA) and director of NIU’s Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, has won the 2014 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Exemplary Course Design.

“ETT 510 Instructional Media and Technology,” a required course for all ETRA master’s degree students in technology specialist online cohorts, is the course receiving this honor. Last year, Rhode collaborated with ETRA faculty and staff to improve the course content and template of the ETT 510 class. They were so successful that the template has become the standard for all online ETRA cohorts.

The Blackboard award program is designed to enhance the visibility of the innovation occurring in institutions of higher learning and to recognize faculty and staff who are directly impacting educational programs. In 2014, over 200 entries were evaluated in a rigorous peer-review process by more than 300 faculty and instructional designers. NIU is among a distinguished group of winners in the Blackboard community. Blackboard will be celebrating the ingenuity of ETRA’s collaboration and course design on July 17, 2014, at an award ceremony in Las Vegas.

It is clear to me that COE faculty and staff are leading the way in creating cutting-edge instructional technology, which ultimately furthers our scholars’ academic and career success. I am so honored to be a part of an institution with leaders like Jason Rhode who continuously demonstrate excellence in online teaching and learning.

Dr. Rhode received the Blackboard Key to the Community Award in 2013. His staff at NIU’s Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center also won the 2013 Blackboard Staff Development Catalyst Award, 2013 Blackboard Teaching and Learning Catalyst Award, 2012 Blackboard Catalyst Platinum Award for Community Collaboration, and the 2011 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Excellence in Online Professional Development.

Congratulations to Dr. Rhode and all ETRA faculty and staff members who collaboratively enhance our scholars’ experiences in online learning.

La Vonne I. Neal, Dean
College of Education
Northern Illinois University

#ETT511 Greetings from Dr. J at #BbWorld14

For the next 4 days, I’ll be attending the BbWorld 2014 conference in Las Vegas. I’ll be frequently posting to social media using hashtag #BbWorld14 as well as blogging from the conference, prefixing all my BbWorld blog posts using hashtag #BbWorld14

I’m continuing to work on grading Unit 5 activities and will send a quick text message once Unit 5 scores and feedback are available for you in Blackboard. Enjoy your week…I’ll see you online!

~ Dr. J

My #BbWorld14 Presentation Schedule

BbWorld 2014I’m fortunate to be able to attend BbWorld for the third straight year. In additional to presenting this year, I’ll also be spending time at the Knowledge Bar with other BbMVP’s in addition to facilitating on open discussion about Enterprise Surveys and Course Evaluations in Blackboard. I’m also honored receive a Blackboard Catalyst Exemplary Course Award.

Here’s a list of the presentations I’ll either be giving or be a part of at BbWorld…

Scheduled Presentations

Being Present and Engaging Students Online Using Blackboard Video Everywhere

Learn about one instructor’s use of YouTube’s free and easy-to-use features incorporated in Blackboard for recording, editing, captioning, and embedding video into his online course. An overview of the steps for recording, editing, captioning, video in YouTube will be provided as well as examples shared for various approaches for seamlessly incorporating video into any online course. A summary of feedback survey results from students regarding their experiences with video in the course will be shared as well as lessons learned by the instructor for those wishing to follow the same suggested steps for incorporating video in their own course. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions throughout the session and see first-hand a demo by the instructor of how the video was seamlessly incorporated into Blackboard Learn.

Date/Time/Location: Tue, 7/15/14, 2:45PM-3:30PM, Murano 3304
Presenter(s): Jason Rhode

Blackboard Catalyst Exemplary Course Award Poster: Instructional Media and Technology

Poster for 2014 Blackboard Catalyst Exemplary Course, ETT 510: Instructional Media and Technology, taught by Jason Rhode, Ph.D., fall 2013

Date/Time/Location: Tue, 7/15/14, 5:00PM-7:00PM, Exhibit Hall
Presenter(s): Jason Rhode

Trends in Online Learning

What’s holding you back from growing your online presence? Based on research with hundreds of your peer institutions, this session will explore how the use of collaboration tools, mobility, and more will be changed by shifts in student demands and the fight to attract and retain students. Join this session, led by a panel of academic technologists to learn how leading schools are thinking about online learning in the future and what you should be thinking about as part of your long term strategy. (This is based on a webinar held in April of 2014 that was very popular.)

Date/Time/Location: Wed, 7/16/14, 9:15AM-10:00AM, Murano 3301
Presenters: Jason Rhode, Melissa Stange

Enterprise Surveys and Course Evaluations: An Open Discussion of Feature Gaps

Join us for an open conversation on the feature gaps and workarounds that institutions are employing in attempting to implement the functionality. I plan to take notes of the conversations and will plan to share here on my blog as well as LinkedIn for those who can’t attend.

Date/Time/Location: Wed, 7/16/14, 4:00PM-5:00PM, Veronese 2401A

It will be a busy week, but one in which I am looking forward to! Let the presentation preparation begin.

If you’ll be at BbWorld, look me up! I’ll be tweeting @jrhode and will share my presentation slides and other resources here on my blog. I will try to also blog my experiences at BbWorld.

Looking for Presentations Slides/Handouts?

I will be posting the slides and accompanying resources from my BbWorld presenters here on my blog along with any other BbWorld-related reflections. Enjoy!

Free e-Book on TEC-VARIETY from Curtis Bonk and Elaine Khoo


A bit over two years ago, more than 3,500 people enrolled in the first Blackboard MOOC on “Instructional Strategies and Technology Tools for Online Success” with Professor Curtis J. Bonk from Indiana University. This course helped to set the stage for this exemplary course MOOC! In one of the synchronous sessions of that course, Dr. Bonk presented his online motivation framework called TEC-VARIETY with each letter representing a motivational principle backed by decades of research on human motivation. In a polling item at the end of that session, his MOOC participants overwhelmingly voted that Curt’s next book on online motivation and retention should be free to the world as an e-book.

Well, guess what? He did just that! After nearly 15 years of planning and 3 years of writing, his new book, “Adding Some TEC-VARIETY: 100+ Activities for Motivating and Retaining Learners Online” is done. And Curt Bonk has made this book FREE for anyone as an interactive PDF document both by chapter as well as in total. Explore the book homepage and you will find a download link for the entire 382 page book ( More important, there are dozens of low risk, low cost, low time activities featured in the book. In addition, each individual chapter is free to separately download and share with your students, trainees, colleagues, and administrators (see You can find chapters on creating a safe tone or climate, learner engagement, online collaboration, interactivity, encouragement and feedback, learner autonomy, goal setting, and much more. You even can find a chapter on ways to support instructors who might remain hesitant or a tad resistant to online or blended instruction.

According to Professor Bonk and his co-author, Dr. Elaine Khoo of the University of Waikato in New Zealand, you are free to download, use, share, and, with permission, even translate any part of the book (for more details, see the Creative Commons license in the copyright page of the book). Adding Some TEC-VARIETY is already being translated into Chinese by scholars at Beijing Normal University as a free e-book. If you have any questions or comments about this new online motivation and retention book, you can contact Professor Bonk via email at