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Concurrent Session Tracks:

  • Emerging Technologies
  • Highlighted Speaker
  • Leadership and Strategy
  • Pedagogy and Instructional Design

8:00 A.M. - 8:30 A.M.

Virtual Registration

If you didn't pre-register, please do so to ensure you receive post-conference presentation materials.

8:30 a.m. - 8:40 a.m.

Welcome Address

Welcome Address Information

Mary Niemiec, Associate Vice President, Digital Education & Director, University of Nebraska Online

Join Mary Niemiec as she welcomes attendees to the 2020 Innovation in Pedagogy and Technology Symposium.

8:40 a.m. - 8:55 a.m.

Opening Remarks

Opening Remarks Information

Susan Fritz, Executive Vice President & Provost, University of Nebraska

Join Susan Fritz in opening remarks for the 2020 Innovation in Pedagogy and Technology Symposium.

8:55 A.M. - 9:00 A.M.

Introduction to Keynote

Introduction to Keynote Presentation Information

Mary Niemiec, Associate Vice President, Digital Education & Director, University of Nebraska Online

Join Mary Niemiec as she introduces keynote speaker, Thomas Thibodeau. 

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Keynote Address: How to Survive your (Hurried) Switch to Online Delivery Using Universal Design for Learning

Thomas Thibodeau, Assistant Provost, New England Institute of Technology (NEIT)

Education Consultant, IA Virtual Module Video Editor, Virtual Module Content Provider

Covid 19 has thrown a wrench into the planning and delivery of college courses around the world, but we can turn this incredible challenge into an opportunity. By using this time to rethink the same old practices and transform our classrooms to become more engaging, accessible and interactive, we can improve student engagement levels and outcomes. Transitioning a traditional classroom into the online environment requires us to adopt new methods and strategies to ensure all students are able to access the content and learn. And as our society returns to what it once was, we can bring these strategies back to the physical classroom for improved learning experiences.  Universal Design for Learning (UDL) can help us look at our courses through a new set of eyes and drive us to make changes that will remove barriers to learning. Learning barriers are in all of our courses but often times we haven't been trained to look for them or how to overcome them. 

Join Tom Thibodeau to learn how to use UDL guidelines and best practices to help us rethink our delivery of education, invigorate our courses and improve outcomes for all learners.

10:00 A.M. - 10:05 A.M.

Closing Keynote Remarks

Closing Keynote Presentation Information

Bret Blackman, Chief Information Officer & Vice President for Information Technology, University of Nebraska

Join Bret Blackman as we close the keynote presentation and gear up for concurrent sessions. 

10:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.


10:15 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Concurrent Session I

Data Analytics: Where’s the Check Box?

Melissa Diers (UNMC) | Peggy Moore (UNMC) | Casey Nugent (UNCA) | TJ Walkwer (UNO)

This session will summarize a multi-year data analytics journey. With multiple interactive SCORM curricular modules created, the request to gather and report data followed. In addition to sharing our lessons learned, the presentation will discuss the difference between xAPI and Caliper standards and provide an overview of the analytics available in Canvas along with an update on the Unizin (Unizin Data Platform) project.


Choose this presentation because:

  • You will examine a multi-year data analytics journey.
  • You want to compare xAPI and Caliper standards.
  • You are curious about Canvas analytics and Unizin Data Platform update.

Emerging Technologies for Education (VR/AR/360 Tours/Apps)

Tess McKinney (UNMC)

Did you know that you can create your own Virtual and Augmented Reality? This presentation will cover different emerging technologies for any classroom experience to take engaged learning to a new level. Solutions will be inexpensive and easy to implement, such as 360 Photo/Video Tours with your students, how to use augmented photography to overlay important information, quizzes and interactions on still objects around your classroom and let you try out an Oculus Quest with VR applications built for Education by students from here in Nebraska. We are using 360 Photo Tours to capture a simulation room and identify key components in that room, thus making an application that any student can use in an interactive way. We will use Augmented Photography to overlay important messages, quizzes or interactions on still objects in our building.


Choose this presentation because:

  • You will learn how to create 360 photo tours.
  • You want to know about various types of Augmented and Virtual Reality applications.
  • You will learn about other cool emerging technology apps that the College of Nursing is using to educate students.

Five Ways to Take Control of Your Digital Footprint

Jason Buzzell (UNCA)

Professors have dozens of different platforms to upload content to both inside the institution and outside the institution. These may include faculty systems provided by the University that integrate with your official .edu profile, to third party products that showcase your publications and experience.

Choose this presentation because:

  • You’re interested in foundational components of how your digital identity is prioritized in search rankings.
  • You want to know how to prioritize your digital identity and make sense of the system and tools available.
  • You wish to learn what to request from your institution so fellow scholars and others can find your work and collaborate.

Improving Interactivity In Content To Increase Learner Engagement And Satisfaction

Ellie Miller (UNMC) | Satera Nelson (UNMC)

As educators, we are continually looking for ways to increase active learning and engagement with our students. This is especially true with online courses, where instructor-student interaction may be less than it is in a face-to-face class. This session invites attendees to view course content in innovative ways to increase learner engagement through the introduction of meaningful interaction with the course material. Attendees will be introduced to the presenters’ guidelines when creating interactive course content. Guidelines will be demonstrated through digital examples from presenters’ course content. After a brief reflection period, the session will wrap-up with a large group discussion to pull together session take-aways from attendees. The goal of this facilitated discussion/roundtable is to introduce ideas and skills to evaluate passive course content for opportunities to create meaningful learner interaction to increase learner engagement with digital course content. Highlighted examples from the presenters were created using Articulate Storyline 3. However, learner interactivity can be implemented using any compatible software platform available at attendees’ home institutions.


Choose this presentation because:

  • You want to discuss guidelines to increase learner engagement and satisfaction when creating interactive digital content.
  • You will analyze interactive digital content examples for presented guidelines.
  • You wish to identify potential areas within own course content to increase learner interactivity.

Technologies to Engage Gen Z Learners in the Online Classroom

Doug Biggs, Ph.D. (UNK) | Jean Mandernach, Ph.D. (UNK) | Steve McGahan (UNK)

As the first truly digital generation, Gen Z learners have never known a world that isn’t completely interconnected via technology, social media and information-networks. Simply put, Gen Z students have grown up in a world overloaded with information. As such, they find little value in traditional instructional strategies that involve passive consumption of information or assignments focusing on memorizing information (e.g., multiple-choice tests) or summarizing existing information (e.g., term papers). Rather, they are entrepreneurial, and career driven and strive to find practical relevance and value in their educational tasks. Gen Z students accept the rapid shifts in technology that drive societal change and embrace their need to develop transferable skills that will serve them in their future careers. Within this context, it is essential that instructors adopt a more personalized, authentic, active approach to online classroom activities and assignments that engage and motivate Gen Z learners. As faculty, we must adapt our traditional approaches to online teaching and learning to tap into the unique characteristics of Gen Z learners.


Choose this presentation because:

  • You wish to adapt traditional online instructional and assessment approaches to meet the preferences and needs of Gen Z students.
  • You want to know how to integrate technology to create a collaborative, dynamic online classroom.
  • You want to explore technologies that can be integrated into the online classroom to design lectures, assignments, and activities that engage Gen Z students.

Discussion Based Courses in an Online Format: Pedological Considerations for Discussion Based Learning Online

Sela Harcey (UNL)

Teaching online has its own difficulties that can be amplified when the course is primarily discussion based. Discussion based learning, especially for difficult and complex subject matter— like social theory—can provide clarification and exploration for student learning. Being able to effectively convey discussion based learning in an online format needs careful considerations tailored to course objectives. This talk will highlight the successes and downfalls of an innovative discussion model on student learning


Choose this presentation because:

  • You want to learn a new technique for facilitating discussion based learning online.
  • You will think carefully about how learning objectives map onto discussion based online learning.
  • You will promote new and creative discussion techniques online.

Fostering Inclusivity in Online Classrooms

Steven Cain (UNL) | Amy Ort (UNL)

Diversity and inclusiveness are consistently discussed as essential parts of an undergraduate classroom, but in online learning environments it can be difficult to recognize and support students from underrepresented populations. This workshop will share several strategies you can use to model inclusivity and establish a respectful and supportive classroom culture, where all students feel comfortable fully participating in course activities. Strategies covered will include using inclusive language when setting course policies regarding online interactions, using anonymous grading to reduce the effect of implicit biases and using Universal Design principles to ensure flexibility of activities & materials.


Choose this presentation because:

  • You would like to earn specific strategies that enhance comfort and participation of diverse students.
  • You will learn to grade anonymously using Canvas to reduce instructor bias.
  • You want an introduction of basic Universal Design principles to enhance learning for all students.

How to be an Excellent Instructor with Perfect Ratings in the Online Learning Setting?

Ladan Ladan Ghazi Saidi (UNK) | Phu Vu (UNK)

This presentation aims to answer the question of whether it is harder to be excellent at teaching online than face- to- face. We will first share the preliminary findings of our study on factors associated with “perfect” teaching. This study includes 417 faculty members who received perfect ratings for their teaching at different higher education institutions across the U.S. The result indicates that excellent teaching embodies the "art" of teaching and includes factors like instilling a desire to learn, caring and respecting students. Given the lack of direct human interactions between instructors and students in an online setting, the question arises that how such feeling-based characteristics could be embraced in the online teaching and learning environment. We will provide a forum to tackle this question through an open discussion with the audience.


Choose this presentation because:

  • You will gain research-based knowledge about excellence in teaching.
  • You can share and exchange experiences and ideas on how to teach online more effectively.

Technology Global: Using Technology to Infuse International and Intergenerational Content

Ogbonnaya Akpa (UNL) | Toni Hill (UNK) | Olimpia Leite-Trambley (UNK) | Sharon Obasi (UNK)

The United States' population is less than five percent of the world's over seven billion population. Projections for 2020 indicate 65 percent of all jobs in the U.S. economy will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school (Georgetown, 2014). In order to truly be competitive, U.S. university graduates will need advanced skill sets and advanced knowledge about the international and intergenerational world where they will work. The future workforce needs information and established competencies related to diversity. Often online instructors have limited resources to expand diversity content. This presentation will explore innovative ways to use technology to increase students' access to international and intergenerational content. Instructors' use of technology to access information and to assess student competencies will be explored


Choose this presentation because:

  • You are interested in learning more about international workforce research related to online learners.
  • You are interested in learning more about intergenerational workforce research related to online learners.
  • You would like to review how to use technology to infuse international and intergenerational content online.

You Think They Learn Less Online than in a Traditional Classroom? Well, Think Again!

Jena Asgarpoor, Ph.D. (UNL) | Majid Nabavi, Ph.D. (UNL)

The face of education is changing. Online delivery is gaining popularity at a very rapid pace for its affordability, and flexibility of time and space. This popularity promises to continue in the future. However, online teaching, particularly teaching quantitative subjects in an online environment, can be quite challenging. Of course, there are teaching strategies and technology resources that can be employed to provide online students with the same experiences as are available to their residential counterparts. But, ultimately, the faculty must ensure students earning online degrees have the same learning outcomes as residential students. This study explored performance outcomes on take-home midterm exams and proctored final exams administered to students in an introductory statistics course over a period of two years. To ensure consistency in coverage of course material, and to minimize “teaching to the test”, exams were team-written each term by the group of faculty who taught various sections of the class, either face-to-face or online. Each term, students in all sections took the same tests. Data was collected on overall course grade average as well as test scores on proctored and take-home exams. Data analysis and inferential tests revealed no statistically significant differences in the performance of online and on-ground students.


Choose this presentation because:

  • You wish to learn considerations for aligning online and residential course assessment.
  • You want to learn methods of statistical comparison of online and residential exam performance.
  • You’re interested in comparison of academic honesty based on test scores in online vs residential classes.

11:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.


11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Concurrent Session II

Device Security when Traveling with University Technology

Cheryl O'Dell (UNCA)

In 2019, laptop and tablet thefts happened too frequently for the University of Nebraska. There are a number of device security techniques that can be utilized to help minimize the risk of losing university data. Come listen and experience how to apply some of the suggested techniques to secure devices and keep university information secure when traveling with technology.


Choose this presentation because:

  • You will learn disk encryption Two Factor authentication BOX storage options and concerns.
  • You will learn how to sync Drive using Outlook Web vs Outlook Client.
  • You want to learn about remote caching mode VPN.

How Virtual and Augmented Reality are Transforming Teaching and Learning

Adam Wagler, Ph.D. (UNL) | Brian Wilson (UNL)

Virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology affords us new opportunities to provide students with experiences that aren’t normally possible. From exploring the human body with lifelike 3D models to transporting students to locations far removed in both space and time, VR opens up a whole new realm of possibilities in our classrooms. Come learn about ways that VR and AR are being used to enhance student learning. After the presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to experience various VR applications and explore and discuss ideas for using this technology with your own classes.


Choose this presentation because:

  • You want to learn about the various ways that VR and AR technologies can be used to create new student learning experiences.
  • You will gain first-hand experience with VR/AR technology
  • You want to collaboratively explore ways this technology could be used to enhance your own classroom

NeVRNER – Nebraska VR Network for Education and Research

Elizabeth Beam (UNMC) | Michael Kozak (UNMC) | Tess McKinney (UNMC) | Brian Ricks (UNO) | Joseph Siu (UNMC)

NeVRNER is originated from a group of faculty from UNMC, UNO and UNL, to develop a unique platform for faculty and staff to get together and discuss how to use technology, e.g. virtual reality, simulation, 360 video, 3D printing, to advance medical education and research and to help students to trainees maximize their learning experience. NeVRNER has three cores (Idea, Design and Implementation) to serve different stages of development. In this session, we will highlight some projects from the network and share some experience to the audience about how to bring an interprofessional team to develop a project from idea to design and from design to implementation.


Choose this presentation because:

  • You will learn how to use technology to maximize the learning experience.
  • You want to know the process of how to develop a project from idea to design, and from design to implementation.
  • You will learn how to bring an interprofessional team together to develop innovative projects using technology.

Educational Escape Rooms … Deciphering Diabetes!

Kristen Cook (UNMC) | Jessica Downes (UNMC)

Gamification is a popular trend in higher education and medical education across the country. Games that integrate clinical content and decision making, may enhance critical thinking and increase student engagement and teamwork. Diabetes care includes a diverse group of patients that require unique critical thinking and skills to make therapeutic decisions. We wanted to create an engaging assessment of these abilities for our diabetes elective course for pharmacy students. We decided to design an educational escape room to assess these abilities. Our escape room incorporates traditional puzzle solving (ciphers, codes) with clinical knowledge/problem solving from the course. We created objectives for each phase of the escape room that relate back to our course objectives. Our escape room has 4 phases/puzzles. Students are placed in small teams to work together to solve each puzzle sequentially to gain access to the next puzzle. Students can receive one hint through the experience and must decide together how to use that hint.   The diabetes escape room allowed us to assess several key concepts within one hour in an innovative, interactive way. Overall student satisfaction with the experience was high and we plan to assess performance on final exam questions that relate to the content from the escape room. Additionally, the escape room format engages faculty to use their creativity and think outside of the box to help their learners master content and skills.


Choose this presentation because:

  • You will learn how to design an educational escape room.
  • You want to know current evidence base for educational escape rooms in higher education.
  • You are interested in assessment strategies for an educational escape room.

Feedback Culture: Making It Work

Steven Cain (UNL)

This discussion will help you reevaluate the process of gathering and responding to student feedback in order to promote student success and establish a culture of co-creation in your classroom. By gathering informal feedback throughout the semester, you can ensure that your teaching practices are effectively connecting with your students. We will discuss several strategies to foster a culture of collaboration, empathy, support and exploration in your classes. Attendees will receive a set of classroom conversation cards to help students consider their role as lifelong learners and provide you with insights to keep students at the center of your teaching reflections.


Choose this presentation because:

  • You will gain a clear sense of how to serve as a model of feedback responsiveness to their students.
  • You want to learn several ways to ask their students for feedback on their learning.
  • You will receive fourteen conversation prompts to help foster a collaborative classroom environment.

Menu-Style Syllabus: Specifications, Grading & Mastery Paths

Kristin Malek (UNL)

Traditional syllabi do not offer students the ability to customize their classes or have agency of choice in their coursework. Traditional grading structures give students more of a performance orientation rather than a learning orientation. Canvas structure can be overwhelming when you do try to provide options or do alternative grading, especially in the grade book. Solution: Create a menu-style syllabus that uses specifications grading. Mastery paths on Canvas are used to keep everything organized and relevant to the student's specific choices. Faculty, instructional designers and administrators will see that there are varying course design options that align within all of the UNL faculty senate guidelines but that give students agency, get better learning outcomes and create a better student and class experience with less work and arguing over grades. The syllabus and a tour through my Canvas course will be included.


Choose this presentation because:

  • You will learn what specifications grading is and how to implement it into your course.
  • You’re curious about mastery paths and how to use it in Canvas.
  • You will hear stories from the trenches – what students love and challenges.

Top 10 Authentic Learning Activities

Analisa McMillan (UNMC) | Kim Michael (UNMC) | Peggy Moore (UNMC)

Help students make the connection between the knowledge taught in class and real-world issues, applications and problems by designing and incorporating authentic learning in your online classroom. This active engagement session paints a picture of what authentic learning looks like in the online environment, design elements and ways this to effectively incorporate this strategy into your teaching. Presenters will reveal and discuss their “Top 10” list online authentic learning activities and assessments. Participants will use an online polling app to respond and rate each strategy presented on how likely they are to try to implement the strategy.


Choose this presentation because:

  • You will describe authentic learning.
  • You want to learn authentic learning and assessments that you can apply to your courses.
  • You wish to discuss the benefits and challenges of using online authentic learning activities.

Wherever You Go, There You Learn! Promoting Student Engagement Through Mobile Learning and Gamification

Paul J.A. Van Vliet, Ph.D. (UNO)

This presentation will discuss how gamification techniques promote learning and student engagement and how these techniques can be applied using students' mobile devices to extend mobile learning practices in the classroom.


Choose this presentation because:

  • You will learn key ideas about gamification
  • You wish to learn about gamification techniques using student’s mobile devices
  • You want to learn about online platforms to quickly apply these ideas in the classroom

Program Management Strategies and Student Success Practices for a Fully Asynchronous Online Professional Master’s Program

Jena Asgarpoor, Ph.D. (UNL) | Yaoling Wang (UNL)

As implementation of Responsibility Center Management (RCM) budget model approaches, interest in offering online programs and certificates may increase. The Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program is an asynchronous, web-based, fully online program with no residency component. MEM students are engineers who work full-time, and are geographically dispersed. Many of them are located either regionally or nationally, and a few even globally. Naturally, design, administration and delivery of such a program requires care, both in terms of student-staff interactions as well as course and curriculum issues and interactions. We have implemented some big and small changes and started a few practices in hopes of improving MEM student interactions and overall quality of their experiences with staff and in courses. This session highlights a few of those changes and practices, including: MEM Student Success Center: An information repository and a venue for communication; Efficient and effective student advising practices;  Minor changes to improve rankings; Onboarding practices for new adjuncts and faculty; Development of course and instructional design template (from multiple sources); Use of Syllabus and Canvas templates for consistency; Syllabus and course review; Building a platform for networking opportunities and creating a sense of community between MEM graduates and current students.


Choose this presentation because:

  • You want to improve Canvas course design and student experience.
  • You wish to enhance student engagement from a distance.
  • You will be able to establish onboarding processes for both faculty and students.

CIO Panel

Michael Ash (UNMC) | Bret Blackman (UNO) | Andrea Childress (UNK) | Heath Tuttle (UNL)

CIO's from each NU campus share thoughts on strategic partnerships and the IT value proposition.

12:00 P.M. - 1:00 P.M.

Lunch Break

1:00 P.M. - 2:30 p.m.

Workshop Sessions

ITS Workshop: Social Connectedness through Discussions using Yellowdig

Tawnya Means, Ph.D. (UNL)

In online courses, students report a lack of connectedness, leading to attrition (Atchley, Wingenback, & Akers, 2013; Moody, 2004). In larger enrollment courses, some of the same issues of disengagement and lack of interaction can be seen (Cotner, Fall, & Wick, 2008). While there are many contributing factors, one may be a reduced sense of community (Aragon & Johnson, 2008; Moody, 2004; Perry, Boman, Care, Edwards, & Park, 2008). Enhancing community and connectedness, a sense of belonging and student engagement could lead to increased persistence and completion (Drouin & Vartanian, 2010; Liu, Magjuka, Bonk, & Lee, 2007).

Yellowdig is a social discussion platform for users to share a broad array of timely and relevant resources (e.g., student-created or publicly available videos, news articles, blogs, text, polls and more) through peer-to-peer interaction using a socially-based point and notification system to encourage tighter connections. The configurable grading system empowers instructors to spend less time scoring rigid “discussions”, freeing more time for conversations directly with students. Faculty report better connections to their students. They are using their knowledge and expertise to provide a better learning experience, they learn things about their own topics from what students share and they feel more “energized and motivated” to teach.

ID Summit Workshop: Data & Learning Analytics in Canvas

New Canvas Analytics provides improved analytics for tracking student data including grades and weekly online activity. This new tool replaced the existing Course and User Analytics. This workshop will provide instructional designers with insights to the new tool as well as an interactive discussion on the pedagogy surrounding data and learning analytics.

*This workshop is being offered as an invitation only session. 

Leadership Workshop: OER and using Pressbooks across the NU System

Brad Severa (UNCA) | Don Ray (UNCA) | Emily Glenn (UNMC) | Tonya Ferrell (UNO)

Open Educational Resources (OER) are becoming more widely used at institutions across the world. Hear from a panel consisting of library, instructional design and information technology specialists from across the NU system discuss options for OER at each campus and how our Unizin membership provides access to Pressboooks that can be used to author your own OER materials.

Marketing Workshop: Traveler Types - Know Your Students

Laura Wiese (UNCA), Allison Rich (Inside Track)

Prospective students don’t all fit the same mold. Knowing your students and their specific needs is crucial to your success as a lead nurturer. We want to make sure that we’re meeting our students where they are at, giving them the type of service they need. Learn about these different “traveler types” and how to successfully enroll each.

*This workshop is being offered as an invitation only session. 


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