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ISSUE 10 - September 2007

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BGSU e-Learning News and Updates

Welcome Letter
by: Connie Molnar
Director - IDEAL, BGSU


Welcome to the tenth installment of IDEAL’s  eLearning Newsletter!  As we head into the 2007-2008 academic year, the office of IDEAL (Interactive Distance Education for All Learners) is looking ahead with anticipation to the distance education opportunities presented by the expectations and  needs of today’s students.

The demand for distance education is growing!  Consider for example, that according to the Sloan Consortium report:  “Making the Grade, Online Education in the United States, 2006”, “nearly 3.2 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2005 term, a substantial increase over the 2.3 million reported the previous year.”   The Ohio Learning Network reports that in Ohio alone, 42,245 students took online courses at public institutions during the same time period, which represents a 10% growth from the previous year.

Changing student demographics and technologies are two of the main factors driving the demand for distance education.  Many students have life and professional circumstances which do not permit them to easily travel to and attend classes on a college campus.  Web-based courses provide access to a large population of students who may not otherwise be able to achieve their educational goals.  

And lest you think that an online course is not as rigorous as a face-to-face course, think again!  Numerous studies have shown that there is “no significant difference” in quality between face-to-face and online courses.  (See the companion web site to Thomas L. Russell’s book, “The No Significant Difference Phenomenon” at

BGSU has an established history of distance education.  Did you know that last year over 5,000 students enrolled in over 350 online courses?   Mirroring the national and state trends, the demand for distance education continues to expand at BGSU. 

If you are interested in teaching online or have ideas for online courses or programs, we encourage you to contact IDEAL, BGSU’s office of distance learning.  IDEAL is a resource to the BGSU community for the leadership, development, and support of distance education.  The IDEAL staff has online instructional design expertise as well as technological and pedagogical experience.  We are strongly committed to helping build high-quality, academically rigorous, interactive, and engaging online courses and programs at BGSU.  

We look forward to working with you!


Connie Molnar
Director, IDEAL

Bruce Edwards
Associate Dean, Continuing & Extended Education

IDEAL Lunch Hour Series Topics - Fall 2007

Are you interested in taking your online course to the next level? Then join your colleagues at the IDEAL Lunch Hour Series this fall.

Learning 2.0:  IDEAL Faculty Lunch Hour Series
Join the staff of IDEAL (Interactive Distance Education for All Learners) for the Learning 2.0 Faculty Lunch Hour Series!  The series will feature informative and collaborative sessions with opportunities for faculty and staff to learn about current distance education technologies as well as pedagogical and administrative practices.  Bring your lunch and interact with colleagues across campus.  Seating is limited:  contact Beka Patterson at or 2-6792 to register! 

September 19, 2007
Orientation to Distance Education at BGSU
This presentation is designed to provide information and discussion on the development of online and blended courses and programs at BGSU.  Topics include: 

  • What does an online classroom look like?  View a demonstration of a current BGSU online course and learn about opportunities for teaching and learning using web-based delivery.
  • Where and how do I start?  Receive an introduction to IDEAL including checklists for online course and program development at BGSU, an overview of the logistical process of converting a course to an online format, and information about pedagogical and technical support available for faculty.

Location:  College Park, Room 2
Time:  11:30-1:00pm

Seating is limited: contact Beka Patterson at 2-6792 or to register. (Read More)

TSC is now supporting Blackboard for Face-to-Face Instructors
The TSC (Technology Support Center) is now handling Blackboard support for all face-to-face instructors. The TSC is now located in 110 Hayes Hall and is avaliable for walk in support, or you can reach them by phone @ (419) 372-0999. They also have a self-help page for troubleshoting minor problems.

Instructional Design Tips for Online Learning
The Online Teachers Wiki maintained by IDEAL now has a new section on tips for Instructional Design and Teaching online. The Wiki is an online document that contains information on Learner Supported Resources, Online Organization, Online Delivery, Assessment, Technology, and Feedback.

Do you want to teach online but don't know how to get started?
Contact Connie Molnar, IDEAL Director at or 419.372.7900 for assistance.

Articles, Ideas, and Innovations in online teaching and learning

IDEAL Podcast #2 - Interview with David Haus
by: Garrett Whitehead
Instructional Designer - IDEAL, BGSU

This interview with David Haus, an instructor for the History Department, is about his experience teaching the history of World War II online, the technology he uses, and his interaction with online students.
Click the play button to listen.

Subscribe to the IDEAL Podcast Feed (What is a Feed?)
- View our IDEAL Podcast Page
Subscribe with Feedburner

I'm a Mac, I'm a PC, and I'm an Ubuntu?
by: Michael Kudela
Instructional Designer - IDEAL, BGSU

I have never been much of a fan of Windows and PCs. While I prefer to work on a Mac, I have no trouble switching between Windows and Mac OS. I know many people that have only used PCs and are curious about switching to Mac, but are often deterred by the cost. Mac OS will only run on a Mac computer; and Mac computers are not cheap. Switching operating systems will require you to purchase new software that is compatible with your new system. I know the school has some great discounts on software, and the University pays for the software I use at work, but trying to keep up with everything at home is a huge yearly expense. The cost for simple Mac tools, like iLife and iWork aren't so bad, but then you add in Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Microsoft Office and the price starts to catch up. Also, If you don't upgrade, then you run the risk of being left behind by new features or not being able to open a file.

So, the situation looks dim if you are thinking about switching to a new operating system. Unless you are thinking about moving to an open source alternative like Ubuntu. (Read More)

IDEAL Presents at the 2007 Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning
by: Terence Armentatno
Associate Director - IDEAL, BGSU

In August, I had the privilege of presenting at the 2007 Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning in Madison, Wisconsin on the importance of Institutional Partnering for Success in Distance Education Degree Program Development. My presentation drew from IDEAL's recent success in partnering with the Executive Masters of Organization Development (EMOD) program in the College of Business Administration to develop BGSU's first blended (part online, part in-class) program. Though on vacation in Ohio, Angie Stoller, Assistant Director of Graduate Studies in the College of Business, participated in the presentation from her home computer using online technology, Skype video. Skype is little piece of software that lets people talk over the Internet to anyone in the world for free and it is a technology that students and faculty in the EMOD program use. We thought it was appropriate to use such a tool in a presentation about using blended technologies to enhance education. Angie addressed three reasons that the EMOD department chose to move the program to the blended environment. (Read More)

Bb Tips for a User-Friendly Online Course
Organizing Course Areas: Part 2 - Course Content

by: Carolyn Matzinger
Instructional Designer - IDEAL, BGSU

So far in this series, I have shown you a few ways to simplify your Blackboard classroom, starting with stripping down the course menu. My last article focused on merging the Instructor and Course Information areas into one location. Click here to view the article. Making your course more user-friendly shouldn't stop there. In this article, I will continue to show you how to organize your classroom by providing examples on transforming your course content into easy to read modules. (Read More)

Social Networking: How to Bring it into the Classroom
What is Social Networking?
by: Michael Kudela
Instructional Designer - IDEAL, BGSU

A Social Network Service focuses on the building and verifying of online social networks for communities of people who share interests and activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others, and which necessitates the use of software.
Most social network services are primarily web based and provide a collection of various ways for users to interact, such as chat, messaging, email, video, voice chat, file sharing, blogging, discussion groups, and so on. (Read More)

Sign up Today - October 8th-26th


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 for 3 weeks in learning how to harness the power of online instruction by participating in a completely online workshop via Blackboard and facilitated by a distance learning specialist. Just like most distance courses, this course works around your schedule rather than vice versa. After completing this workshop, you will receive an IDEAL Certificate of Training and you will 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 online training program or for more information call 419-372-6843, or e-mail

NOTE: This course is most beneficial for instructors somewhat new to facilitation and course design in the online environment.


The Distance Learning newsletter is published by IDEAL (Interactive Distance Education for All Learners) 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