May 4, 2023

Digital Teaching Symposium

Discover new tips and tactics to excel and thrive in a shifting higher education landscape.

About the Event

The Digital Teaching Symposium brings educators together to share and discover innovative uses of technology in an ever-changing teaching environment. To keep learners engaged, teachers must be innovative and create an environment that successfully meets expectations while also delivering more personalized experiences. At #DTS23, uncover the latest strategies to help you navigate, excel, and thrive in a shifting higher education landscape.

Join us online for a full day of free, peer-led virtual sessions on digital teaching strategies for the unique needs of 2023 and beyond.

Who is this event for?

Educators! Whether you're full or part-time faculty, a teacher, lecturer, instructional designer, a learning technologist, or any other instructional role, this free symposium will further your familiarity and understanding of what’s possible with education technologies.


May 4, 2023 - All times ET
8:00 – 8:40 a.m.

Designing an Institutional Module Template: Fostering Academic Creativity While Ensuring Consistency of Message    
Steve Montagu-Cairns & Paul Cave, University of Leeds    
Institutional module templates allow for a consistent structure for all modules within a course. This helps students focus on the content while ensuring all modules meet the same standards and decreasing the creation and maintenance time for instructors and administrators. One concern is that adhering to a template might stifle academic creativity. In this session, we will explain how the University of Leeds maintained a balance of consistency and creativity and highlight some innovative delivery methods that Blackboard Learn Ultra helped them achieve.

Facilitating Collaboration via LMS and Non-Academic Digital Tools    
Tamilla Mammadova, ADA University    
Collaborative Learning (CL) is an umbrella term for a variety of educational approaches involving a joint intellectual effort by students or students and teachers together. This session will discuss the benefits of using technology for collaborative purposes. Based on contemporary cutting-edge practices, the session considers a variation of student communication tools and the most rapid and user-friendly platforms to facilitate communication among peers. The session highlights the importance of technology in group conflict resolutions, emphasizing the role of digital contracts and agreements.

Get Wild! Using Game Elements to Create Immersive, On-Demand Professional Development for Faculty    
Heather Young Mandujano & Rebecca Wiggins, Cuyahoga Community College    
Learn how to use game elements and strategies to build immersive, on-demand learning experiences that are as entertaining as they are effective! In this session, we will discuss the team approach used to create an on-demand workshop: Assessment Safari. Game elements like environment, immersion, rules, and conflict can be applied to any learning scenario. Learn what these elements are and how to use them, the benefits of advanced planning, and tips for finding free high-quality media to use when creating your own adventures.

8:45 – 9:30 a.mKeynote   
Riding the Tsunami: ChatGPT, Generative AI and Digital Education    
B. Mairéad Pratschke, The University of Manchester    
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is shaking up the world of education with ChatGPT's ability to generate sophisticated, multi-modal, synthetic content from a simple prompt. How should we react to this new and rapidly-evolving reality of generative AI? This keynote will offer a lightning tour of recent developments in the AI landscape, discuss the impact of the integration of Web 4.0 technologies into our lives, and suggest a path ahead for digital educators, so that we can not just survive this tsunami of disruption, but maybe even learn to ride the wave.
9:45 – 10:25 a.m.

A Beginners Guide to Blackboard Learn Ultra: Modules, Assignments, and More    
Jacqueline Gibbons, Owensboro Community & Technical College    
This session will take attendees through setting up modules, assignments (including rubrics), incorporating links and resources, and more skills to help instructors use Blackboard Learn Ultra successfully. Additional assistance will be available after the session for those who need extra support.

First-Year Undergraduate Students’ Perception of a “Good Teacher” Using TPACK    
Farah Kashef, University of Northern Iowa    
Dive into a case study of the first time a chemistry course at a large Midwestern university was taught in a hybrid format. The study used the TPACK framework, which identifies three types of knowledge that instructors need to combine for successful EdTech integration to explore the concept of good (effective) teaching. Join this session to discover the surprising yet reasonable expectations Gen Z students have for a “good teacher.”

The Inclusive Online Classroom    
Wendy Velez-Torres, Coppin State University    
Academic ableism is harmful discrimination against disabled individuals in the academic space. Disability is often excluded from DEI initiatives, leading to the unintentional promotion of academic ableism. Discover examples of academic ableism and how to prevent it, as well as four assistive technology tools to make content more accessible. After the session, participants will be able to identify four examples of academic ableism, four strategies for avoiding it, and four assistive technology tools. Real-time feedback and multiple digital formats will be available for all attendees.

Tips and Tricks for Keeping Students Engaged    
Kristen Quinn, Northern Essex Community College    
Learn how to establish a layout in Blackboard Learn that is easy for students to navigate and find the resources they need to be successful in their courses. We will discuss different assignments used in CNOWv2 that aid in student learning and assist in keeping them engaged, as well as the easy integration with Blackboard Learn. Additionally, we’ll share favorite discussion board topics and resources that can be added to Blackboard Learn, including videos, calendars, and time-management support materials.

10:35 – 11:15 a.m.

Building Better Learning Activities in Blackboard Learn Ultra    
Brianna Basanta & Catherine Dowman, University of Miami   
It’s no secret that learning activities help students come up with new thoughts and break down concepts before they are formally assessed, but where do we start when creating learning activities for asynchronous courses? Some key topics to consider for learning activities may include accessibility, learning objectives, learner engagement, and feedback. This session will serve as a deep dive into building better learning activities with Blackboard Learn Ultra.

Empowering Faculty to Become Self-Directed Learning Designers    
Eugenie Wolff, University of Pretoria    
Not many faculty members have had the privilege to design and develop a fully online learning program. Most inherit blended courses that form part of existing qualifications, where only slight adaptations to course content in Blackboard Learn Ultra are allowed. Therefore, knowledge and skills pertaining to curriculum conceptualization, storyboard design, and Blackboard Learn development remain underdeveloped. This session discusses the implementation of agile program design principles by a learning design team to empower faculty members to develop their first fully online courses.

Reducing Faculty Fatigue via ChatGPT    
Julianna Woite, Humberto Hernandez & Marcia Bohn, D'Youville University    
What instructor hasn’t wished for more hours in their day or more hands to get work done? With the introduction of ChatGPT, the opportunity exists for such help. This session will explore ways instructors can use ChatGPT to assist in course preparation, freeing up valuable time for more important tasks. Examples such as designing syllabi, rubrics, tests, and writing lecture notes and feedback will be explored. The efficiency of the tool will be demonstrated using live suggestions from participants, leading to an interactive discussion of the tool.

Protect the Integrity of Online Tests Within Blackboard Learn    
Arie Sowers, Respondus
For educators interested in preventing cheating during online tests taken in Blackboard Learn, this comprehensive session provides a detailed demonstration of LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor, including enhancements that make Respondus Monitor even more effective and easy to use.

11:20 – 12:00 p.m.Product Demo: Anthology Course Evaluations 
Roland Carrillo, Anthology    
Anthology Course Evaluations is utilized by hundreds of institutions for online course evaluations and surveys. The product and team help with areas like applying specific questions for online course surveys, integrating with the LMS for surveys and response rates, and reviewing results for a course or custom reporting for multiple units. We will talk about these and other features/functionality in this demo.
12:10 - 12:50 p.m.

Product Demo: Anthology Portfolio 
Roland Carrillo, Anthology    
Anthology Portfolio incorporates authentic assessment for program and institutional reporting, experiential learning, and allows users to create and share work with customizable portfolios. Institutions also utilize LMS integrations for submitting work and grade exchange. We will talk about these and other features/functionality in this demo.

Product Demo: What's New in Blackboard Learn Ultra
Lisa Clark, Anthology    
Already, 2023 has brought a slew of exciting enhancements, improvements, and new functionality to the Learn Ultra environment. Join Senior Product Manager, Lisa Clark, to review a highlight of two exciting features to be released in the coming months for Learn Ultra.

1:00 – 1:40 p.m.

Amplifying Students' Reflective Learning Practices    
Jerome Kiley, Cape Peninsula University of Technology    
Join this session to discover how Kolb's (1984) experiential learning cycle was applied to enhance students' process of examining and evaluating their experiences, thoughts, and actions to gain insights and improve their future performance. Dive deeper into how class exercises in a blended learning environment are used for scaffolding thought processes and activities to enhance student reflective practices.

Engaging Learners with Gamification through an Immersive Online Escape Room    
Kathryn Panasci & Misty Miller, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center    
This presentation will discuss how an entry-level health professions program used gamification in the form of an online escape room to immerse students in a patient case scenario. We will focus on creating an online escape room, student responses to the activity (gathered via reflective assignment), and lessons learned so that educators in any area of study could potentially adapt this gamification method to fit their content and learners’ needs and abilities.

Enhancing Classroom Equity and Student Learning through Transparent Teaching Methods    
Toby Brooks, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center     
Transparent instruction methods are centered around providing clarity and helping students understand not only the how of a given assignment or unit but also the why. Research has shown that this can enhance student performance over less purposeful approaches and prove particularly beneficial for first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students. This session will discuss the history of the development of transparent methods and the current state of scholarly work in the area and conclude with a discussion of the practical application of transparent teaching methods. 

1:50 – 2:30 p.m.

Building Accessible Courses Using Anthology Ally    
Amy Poteet, Western Technical College    
Building accessible content can be difficult and time consuming. With Anthology Ally, course builders concerned about doing the best they can to be accessible to as many learners as possible is within reach. Join this session to learn some quick tips/tricks about making your online content accessible, including document building; video content; color use; and linking content. Additionally, we’ll demo some tools in Blackboard Learn Virtual Text Box Editor and Anthology Ally.

Metaverse in Education: Transforming the Future of Workforce Development    
Rubén Durán, Cheryl Whitaker & Muddassir Siddiqi, Houston Community College    
Imagine a biology class where students can explore a realistic representation of the human body or a design class where they can collaborate to create a product portfolio. In fashion courses, students can even deploy their avatars to visit virtual stores and try on clothes before making a purchase decision. This presentation highlights how Houston Community College utilizes metaverse to provide immersive learning experiences in fashion design, construction technology, media arts, and speech courses, empowering students with the skills they need to succeed in 21st-century work environments.

Regular and Substantive Interaction Starts with Good Course Design    
Paulita Brooker, University of Tulsa & Tamela Crickenberger, Phoenix eDesign Solutions    
How do you give students the immersive learning experience they long for, provide substantive interaction that will help them learn at the deepest level, and offer a rich learning community while balancing the students’ and your time in the course? Join this session and learn what regular and substantive interaction means from an administrative and accreditation perspective. Additionally, learn course design and course management strategies for creating substantive interaction opportunities that meet accreditation standards and create a dynamic community of inquiry and learning.

2:45 – 3:25 p.m.

Discussions: Where Engagement Goes to Die?    
Victoria Wolf, University of Maryland Eastern Shore     
Feel like your discussion boards are a crypt? Become a modern-day Dr. Frankenstein and raise your discussions from the dead! In this session, we’ll investigate the methods to the madness of an engaging online discussion. This presentation will summarize the research on why we academically need discussion boards in our online classrooms and how social and cognitive presence ties into these activities. Best practices for injecting engagement into online discussions will be presented, along with free online tools to assist instructors in reigniting life into their discussion boards.

Instructional Design: Implementing Adaptive Teaching and Learning in Your Courses 
Mary Beth Scumaci & Courtney Grim, Medaille University     
Learn how to integrate Blackboard Learn Ultra tools and critical thinking into your courses during this session. Examples of tool integration into course design include OneDrive for portfolios; discussion forums for critiques; assignments for assessment; journals for reflections; guest links and rubrics for effective student feedback, grading transparency, and efficiency. You’ll walk away with tips for creating adaptable assignments that meet the needs of the learner and using digital devices, as well as OneDrive, to create and share student portfolios throughout the semesters.

The Incredible, Amazing, and Totally Awesome 24-Hour Project    
Tim Gottleber, Dallas College    
For many years, I have been requiring my students to spend 24 hours without using any digital devices and write a paper on their experience. This is a real eye-opening experience for nearly all my students. Initially, it is a HORRIBLE experience, then about halfway through the project, they begin to realize some important changes in their world. By the end, about 97% of the students realize how much they sacrifice for these devices. Nearly all of them say that “every student should do this project.”

3:30 – 4:15 p.m.Keynote   
Stronger Together: Course Content and Digital Learning Tools    
Dr. Morris Thomas, Howard University     
The current status of today’s society is driven by and involves digital tools. Unfortunately, this is not the shared practice by all in the educational context. Despite the average person’s reliance on technological devices, there has been some resistance in embracing the idea that in the 21st century and beyond, digital education is essentially all education. Dr. Thomas’ talk will explore the relationship between learning content and digital learning tools to strengthen the learner’s experience.
4:30 - 5:10 p.m.

Product Demo: Creating Efficient Strategies to Fix Accessibility Issues Using Anthology Ally
Ivan Herrera, Anthology
Learn the best tips and practices for instructors and administrators to increase the efficiency when fixing accessibility issues, in this demo you will learn how to:

  • Prioritize Accessibility issues using the Course Accessibility Report.
  • Using the Instructor Feedback to prioritize issues per file.
  • Building a strategy from the Institutional Report.
  • Administrators can give feedback to instructors. 
8:00 – 8:40 p.m.

A New Frontier for Library Instruction: Exploring Instructional Design in One-Shots    
Hannah Hurdle, Nashville State Community College     
Pairing instructional design principles with library instruction can have a great impact on student learning as it presents information in a familiar format to students, but it also allows librarians to have greater agency over their instruction. Looking at how library instruction classes have been created in the past and molding that work to mirror an instructionally designed full-length course is the next step in the evolution of library instruction. Elements of instructional design such as curriculum maps, alignment, and accessibility are just a few examples of opportunities libraries can use to elevate their approach to meeting student needs as well as their teaching and learning practices.

Cultivating Feelings of Interconnectedness to Increase Graduate Retention      
Elizabeth Kinan & Jenifer Willson, Medaille University     
When looking at program satisfaction and retention, research has found that cohort connectedness, cohort learning activities, and relationships with faculty increased students’ intention to remain. Join this session to learn how Medaille University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program implemented an online student orientation via a Blackboard Organization Course in Blackboard Learn Ultra at the beginning of the graduate school process to establish cohort feelings of interconnectedness.

8:50 – 9:30 p.m.

Five Ways to Motivate Your Students to Do Extraordinary Things: Enhancing the Online Graduate Teaching Experience    
Jerry White, Everglades University     
This is an exercise in andragogy for online learning in a graduate program. It involves collaboration, transformation, and synergies. Tested over three years with over three hundred graduate students, we saw increased student interaction with classmates, increased student satisfaction with both instructors and course materials, and reduced dropout rates. Join this session to learn these five ways to motivate your students that create a proven synergy for adult learners and give practical application to the learning experience.

Best Practices for Using Blackboard Learn Ultra in Complex Group Projects      
Roshanak Jafari, El Paso Community College      
The Core Curriculum Assessment (CCA) measures student mastery of the following core objectives for the life and physical sciences: critical thinking skills, communication skills, empirical and quantitative skills, and teamwork. Join this session to learn how best practices are applied when implementing a semester-long group biology project using Blackboard Learn Ultra. Examples of structuring the assignments and using groups to run this CCA group project will be shown.

9:40 – 10:25 p.mKeynote Rebroadcast   
Stronger Together: Course Content and Digital Learning Tools    
Dr. Morris Thomas, Howard University     
The current status of today’s society is driven by and involves digital tools. Unfortunately, this is not the shared practice by all in the educational context. Despite the average person’s reliance on technological devices, there has been some resistance in embracing the idea that in the 21st century and beyond, digital education is essentially all education. Dr. Thomas’ talk will explore the relationship between learning content and digital learning tools to strengthen the learner’s experience.

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