center for online and blended learning
ISSUE 16 - January 2010

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Table of Contents:

Section 1 - News and Updates

Section 2 - The eCorner - Articles, Ideas, and Innovations in ONLINE Teaching and Learning

Section 3 - Training and Development

NOTE: This Newsletter utilizes some of the latest technology - Best viewed with the Firefox web browser and the newest Flash Player

BGSU e-Learning News and Updates

Letter from the Director

Greetings and Happy Birthday BGSU!

As BGSU celebrates its 100th birthday in 2010, the Center for Online and Blended Learning will observe its ninth! Although COBL is relatively young in the university timeline, great progress has been made since 2001 when the office of distance education was “born”. As the new decade begins, as the university gears up to commemorate the centennial, and as COBL prepares to celebrate its ninth birthday, it is worth reflecting on some history and accomplishments in distance education at BGSU:

  • 2001: Distance education office created at BGSU
  • 2002: 100 online courses developed
  • 2003: Over 2,000 students enroll in online courses
  • 2004: BGSU achieves HLC-NCA accreditation for online program delivery
  • 2005: Ohio Learning Network “Best Student Services” achieved for online courses
  • 2006: Partnership with OLN on the E4Me program, an online student orientation
  • 2007: Nationally acclaimed Online Faculty Training seminar implemented
  • 2008: Ohio Quality Matters™ Consortium Leadership Role
  • 2009: BGSU recognized by state as “eLearning Center for Excellence”

We hope you’ll join us in celebrating our successes by visiting COBL on February 11th when we’ll be hosting an open house from 1-4 in 104 University Hall. Correction: the COBL open house is know TBA (an update on the date is coming soon). Come meet the COBL staff, view demos of training and services, and join us for dialog and discussion about teaching and learning online and future initiatives.

And as always, the experienced staff of the Center for Online and Blended Learning are available to assist colleges and departments in all aspects of online education initiatives. Contact us at or 2-6792 to schedule a visit or check out our newly designed web site at for more information.

Happy New Year from the Center for Online and Blended Learning; we look forward to working with many of you in 2010!


Connie Molnar
Director, Center for Online and Blended Learning

Questions? Information needed? How to get started?
Contact: Connie Molnar, Director, Center for Online and Blended Learning; 419-372-6792

Center for Excellence in eLearning Update

BGSU has been selected as the site for Ohio’s new Ohio Learning Network Center for Excellence in eLearning. The overall mission of the Center is to provide vision, leadership, resources, and a collaborative framework to address quality assurance and excellence in Ohio online and blended courses and programs. BGSU will lead collaborative state initiatives that include Ohio higher educational institutions.

The eLearning Center work will be launched this semester and activities which will span 2010-2011 include:

  • Promoting the broad adoption and use of the Quality Matters™ rubric and QM continuous improvement processes throughout Ohio in order to increase the quality of Ohio elearning opportunities for Ohio's learners.
  • Using the Quality Matters tools, and in tandem with the Ohio QM Consortium, developing processes and tools to facilitate implementation of a state online course peer evaluation process.
  • Providing grants that support projects in online education quality assurance.
  • Collaborate on an Ohio conference focusing on excellence in online education.

BGSU Quality Matters - Training and Presentations



Peer Reviewer Training
March 8, 2010 - 9am-4pm

The next Quality Matters Peer Reviewer Training is scheduled for March 8th, 2010. This all day training consists of learning about the usage and implementation of the Quality Matters rubric, a rigorous set of criteria based on current standards and best practices in the design and development of an online course. Faculty who complete the training can opt to take a certification exam and become national Quality Matters online course peer reviewers. This is an excellent professional development activity for faculty who teach online or who want to teach online. Seating is limited in this training to 10 BGSU faculty (additional seats are reserved for faculty from other participating institutions). The training will run from 9-4 and includes lunch. Contact the Center for Online and Blended Learning at or 419.372.6792 or CLICK HERE to register.

Quality Matters Informational Seminars Offered
February 18, 2010 - 1:30-2:30

The Center for Online and Blended Learning will be hosting informational seminars about Quality Matters™ during the spring semester. The seminar, “Introduction to Quality Matters at BGSU” will be presented by Connie Molnar, Director of the Center for Online and Blended Learning, and Julie Matuga, Associate Dean, College of Education and Human Development. The seminar will provide an overview of Quality Matters as well as information on how your department can get involved in obtaining Quality Matters recognition for online courses and programs and how faculty can become Quality Matters national peer reviewers for online courses.
Seating is limited; early registration is recommended. Contact the Center for Online and Blended Learning at or 419.372.6792 or CLICK HERE to register.

Quality Matters Departmental Presentations

COBL will come to your department to present an introduction to Quality Matters. Contact COBL at 419.372.6792 or to arrange a presentation.

BGSU Online/Blended Course Development Checklist

COBL has updated the BGSU Online Course Development Checklist. The new changes incorporate the ideals of the Quality Matters Rubric and now applies to Blended courses as well as online. Go to the COBL forms page to see how COBL is helping BGSU to insure quality online delivery.

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Do you want to teach online but don't know how to get started?
Contact Connie Molnar, COBL Director at or 419.372.6792 for assistance.

Articles, Ideas, and Innovations in online teaching and learning

Autism on the Rise Worldwide: BGSU Responds with Online Autism Graduate Certificate Program

by: Terence Armentano
Assistant Director - COBL, BGSU

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), autism now affects 1 in every 110 American children and 1 in 70 boys. This represents an astonishing 57 percent increase from 2002 to 2006, and a 600 percent increase in just the past 20 years. These new findings underscore the fact that autism is an urgent public health crisis and demands a corresponding level of action. Here at BGSU, autism is taken very seriously and action is being taken. BGSU has a wealth of expertise and resources on the topic of autism as well as a commitment to excellence in e-learning as recognized by the state of Ohio.

Therefore, the BGSU School of Intervention Services (SIS) in the College of Education and Human Development has teamed up with the BGSU Center for Online and Blended Learning (COBL) to establish a completely ONLINE version of the Autism Graduate Certificate Program. The new online program from BGSU leverages the expertise of faculty and practitioners in the field of autism as well as the e-learning development skills of the COBL staff, to deliver high quality graduate level education and training beyond the geographical borders of Bowling Green, OH to educators around the world. The program is designed for training educators to help improve services to students/individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The focus of the Autism Certificate Program is to provide graduate candidates with a knowledge base through course work and field experiences to better equip them for working with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders across the lifespan.

FACTS about the graduate certificate program:

  • A five course graduate level certificate program on ASD
  • Designed to train educators to help improve services to students/individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
  • Developed by BGSU faculty Ellen Williams, Mary Murray, Lessie Cochran & Anderia Ryley
  • Transdisciplinary and team taught by university faculty and practitioners in ASD
  • Each course is one semester long (Five semesters to complete certificate)
  • All courses may apply toward a masters degree in Special Education and Intervention specialist licensure at BGSU.

Introduction to Safe Assign

by: Stephen Jenkins
Instructional Designer- COBL, BGSU

Plagiarism is a challenging problem to tackle in online courses, the wealth of resources on the Internet has given students an incredible amount of work to reference; unfortunately plagiarizing this work can be a strong temptation.

Starting this semester, faculty teaching in BlackBoard will have a powerful tool in the fight against plagiarism in the form of SafeAssign. SafeAssign is a feature that is built into BlackBoard that allows you as the instructor to apply a filter on incoming assignments which will automatically scour an extensive database of text, looking for, and reporting suspicious matches.

Using this feature is very simple, and initial testing shows it to be quite reliable. In order to assist you in setting up SafeAssign in your own course, COBL has created two screencasts that will guide you step-by-step through the process of setting up a SafeAssignment, and accessing the reports that it generates.

You can find these tutorials (and many more) by searching for "SafeAssign" at COBL's BlackBoard tutorial site, which can be found at:

New Look for the COBL Website

by: Michael Kudela
Instructional Designer- COBL, BGSU

The COBL website has recently been updated to better reflect the needs of BGSU faculty. We approached the redesign of our site with the idea to make it easier to use and highlight important news.

All the information needed to start teaching online can now be found on the COBL homepage. The homepage includes a Getting Started guide to teaching online, links to our Online Faculty Training Program, Planning and Development Forms, current COBL news, and our Quick Links to other important information. All of these links will get you started on the path to developing your online course.

COBL’s Services has been updated to reflect the role COBL plays in online course/program development. The services page helps to provide what resources are available at COBL for online instructors. On the COBL’s Services page, you will find:

  • Online Course and Program Approval –COBL Endorsement/Checklist and new online course/program consultation information.
  • Online Course Development and Instructional Design – Online syllabus development, course organization, course design, tools for teaching online, and Quality Matters Rubric Application.
  • Online Faculty Training – Online Faculty Training Course, workshops, and tutorials.

COBL training and workshops are the starting point in helping faculty transition and grow into teaching online. The training and workshops provided by COBL can now be found on the Faculty Training page. This page provides the registration information and overviews to the BGSU Online Faculty Training Program, Quality Matters Peer Review Training, and our upcoming campus workshops and seminars.

Instructors that are new to online and want to develop an online course should look to the Online Course/Program Approval Process page. The Online Course/Program Approval Process reviews the current approval process for online courses and programs. Following this page will help you map out the process of online course/program approval.

If you have some time, please take a look at the COBL website and let us know what you think.

Why you should be using Screenr in your online classroom

by: Carolyn Kraut
Instructional Designer- COBL, BGSU

Some of you may already be familiar with a great screencasting tool called Jing. This software helps you create annotated screen captures and narrated screencasts very easily. The files can either be stored on your computer or uploaded to Flickr or for sharing and embedding.

I still use Jing at least twice a day to create quick images like this…


But when it comes to screencasts, I’ve found something even better. Screenr helps you make quick screencasts for your students and provides you with a variety of distribution methods. If you’re already invested in Jing, you may want to take a second look . I’ve outlined a few key reasons why you should make the switch.

Web-based recorder uses your Twitter account to log in. This is great for two reasons:

1. There’s no software to download and the “bookmarklet” works the same regardless of your browser or operating system.

2. No need to remember another password and makes the next item possible.

Click to Read More

Blackboard Tips – Encouraging Student Participation

by: Carolyn Kraut
Instructional Designer- COBL, BGSU

Class participation a little dry, or even worse…non-existant? It’s normal to have peaks and valleys in the discussion board. Unfortunately, it’s also common to see a downward slope after the first few weeks of class. Here are some ideas to help your students actively communicate all semester.

Create an Open Forum. Add a casual discussion area to encourage free-flowing conversations that are unrelated to class material. Opening this “virtual cafe” a few weeks before the class starts enables your students to get acclimated to online discussion without the pressures of finding the “right answer” and is a great way to start building relationships with fellow classmates.

Sharing Experiences. Encourage your students to share relevant information about their daily lives, as it applies to your course. Your discussion questions should challenge your students to tap into students’ personal experiences, opinions, creativity, and so on. Instead of getting the same out of the box response, you will give your students the opportunity to read unique perspectives each time they open the discussion board, thus creating the ultimate personal learning experience.

Weekly Trivia. Use announcements and a discussion forum to create a weekly trivia contest. 1st prize…writing the next trivia question! A great alternative is to turn this into a team building exercise by splitting the class into small groups and asking questions that require multiple parts to form the answer, sort of like a web-quest. Aside from gaining more experience with group work, students will get a chance to practice their research skills.

Ask for Feedback. If class participation slows down considerably or you notice a more serious problem, a drop in assignment/test scores, go right to the source. Talk to your class about your assignments, activities, and tests. Their feedback may help you find areas to improve. Updates to the course could be as simple as re-wording instructions or quiz questions, or as challenging as creating more interesting activities.

Bruce's Corner - COBL Confidential

by: Dr. Bruce L. Edwards
Associate Vice President Academic Technology and E-Learning

Dr. Bruce Edwards discusses what to expect online from BGSU in 2010, the OLN Center for Excellence in eLearning, and how faculty can get involved online here at BGSU.

Sign up Today for Spring Sessions!


What BGSU faculty are saying:

  • “All of it was valuable.  Perhaps most useful was seeing what could be done, the detailed instructions, and being in a position of being forced to complete assignments........seeing it through the eyes of the student.”

  • “Overall, I found this extremely valuable and will recommend it to colleagues.”

An online course is much more than a repository of information. It is an interactive, collaborative, and informative method of instruction. What better way to learn how to teach effectively online than to experience it from the student's point of view. Join your colleagues in learning how to harness the power of online instruction by participating in two courses offered completely online via Blackboard and facilitated by a distance learning specialist. Just like most distance courses, these courses work around your schedule rather than vice versa. After completing both courses, you will receive a COBL Certificate of Training and join the ranks of other leaders in e-Learning at BGSU as a member of the BGSU e-Learning Colloquium.

CLICK HERE to learn more and enroll in the COBL Online Faculty Training Courses or for more information call 419-372-6792, or e-mail

NOTE: These courses are most beneficial for instructors somewhat new to facilitation and course design in the online environment.

The Distance Learning newsletter is published by COBL (the Center for Online and Blended Learning) to provide faculty with current news and initiatives in online learning at BGSU. Each newsletter will contain online pedagogy articles, training and workshop dates, online teaching tips, online teaching resources, and interviews with BGSU faculty or staff who teach online.

"BGSU is accredited from the North Central Association for its distance learning programs at BGSU and has also been granted the "Best Practices in Student Services" designation by the Ohio Learning Network."

Issue 15