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ITS Newsletter

New Telephones for the AES Building

The departments moving into the new Aerospace and Engineering Sciences (AES) building will be among the first to receive new VoIP telephones and phone numbers. Following this initial implementation, new telephones and/or headsets will be distributed to all University departments in planned phases during the summer and fall semesters, with the goal of having the new system fully implemented by December 1, 2017. Additionally, new telephone numbers will be assigned to replace most existing phone numbers. 

To ensure the specific communication needs of your department are successfully met and to help with the transition to the new phone system, ITS will be contacting your department prior to distributing the new phones to gather information about your department’s current telephone usage. 

For additional information about this important initiative, please visit the Telecommunication Initiative webpage or contact the ITS Helpdesk at 303-352-7548 or

New Student Orientation to Blackboard Learn

A new Student Orientation to Blackboard Learn (listed as 00 Blackboard Student Training 2016) was made available to all students and faculty members. The self-paced online orientation is designed to provide students with detailed instructions for using the basic operations and functions needed to successfully navigate, communicate, collaborate, submit coursework, take assessments, and otherwise participate in courses delivered through Blackboard Learn.

The new orientation, developed by the ITS Educational Technology Center, replaces the 00 Blackboard Learn Training – Student Orientation that was provided by Blackboard, and is more comprehensive, contains many new features, and is tailored for our students.

There are four activities in the orientation that a learner must complete in order to achieve Blackboard Learn proficiency. How a learner gains the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully complete those activities is entirely up to each learner. The four activities required for proficiency are:

  1. Practical Exercise (Navigation of the general Blackboard and course environments)
  2. Assignment to Download, Edit, and Submit an Assignment File
  3. Quiz on Assignments, Assessments, and Grades (90% to pass)
  4. Participation in a Group Discussion Board (self-enrolling into a group, creating a forum thread, and replying to a post)

The new orientation provides the ability for each learner to set their own learning path, based on preferred learning style (verbal, visual, or mixed) and level of experience with Blackboard Learn. The preferred learning style is set by the learner at the beginning of the orientation, but can be changed at any point. The learner can then navigate at their preferred pace through the orientation by sequentially accessing all instructional content, or by selecting topics in any order, and skipping any topics and sub-topics as desired. When the learner feels that he or she has sufficient knowledge and ability, he/she can navigate directly to any of the four activities to complete the required tasks. If the performance requirements of an activity are not met, the learner can navigate back to any of the instructional content for review and then attempt the activity again.

To motivate and “gamify” the experience, learners can earn achievements by successfully completing each of the required activities. Progress through the course is determined by the number of achievements earned, and after the three achievements have been earned, a Certificate of Completion becomes available for the learner to display and print

The orientation results are listed on “My Grades” for all learners and can be accessed at any time for refresher training, or as a reference for instructions on specific tasks.

Log on to Blackboard Learn via the Student Hub to explore this new orientation or contact the ITS Educational Technology Center for more information.

Need a Course Makeover?

Why not take advantage of MSU Denver’s CourseAssist program? As the name suggests, CourseAssist provides highly-focused individual feedback and enriching recommendations tailored to your unique needs and strengths. The ITS Educational Technology Center assembles the right group of experts to do a comprehensive analysis of your existing online course design based on an internationally recognized framework, and supported by empirical research. The results of the review help identify the merits and gaps within your online course and serve as a blueprint for continuous course improvement. Courses selected for the CourseAssist program get access to instructional design experts who help create a custom game-plan for your course, suggesting practical ideas and a wide range of design strategies to make incremental but meaningful transformation to your course. Space is limited, so submit your CourseAssist application today!

In a time crunch? Consider CourseConstellation, a highly collaborative engagement between instructional design experts and collegial community focusing effort toward achieving a common goal. In this program, you could apply as a faculty facilitator and recruit a minimum of 3 and maximum of 6 colleagues, or join an established cohort of members who are accepting additional members. All participants must mutually agree upon a specific group mission, and as a facilitator, you work with a senior instructional designer to identify custom services that align with the group's’ objectives and receive feedback and guidance on how to integrate your ideas into your course(s). The community gains from a collective understanding, shared experiences, accomplishment and support. Space is limited, so apply to facilitate a CourseConstellation today

It only takes a few strategic adjustments to gain ground on enhancing your course effectiveness, engage your students and inspire them to elevate their academic performance. The applications for CourseAssist and CourseConstellation are open until May 15, 2017 for the Fall 2017 cycle, but space is limited, so don’t wait, apply today

Get a Competitive Edge! 

MSU Denver is thrilled to accept applications for the third annual E-Learning and Instructional Technology Exemplar (ELITE) certification program. Whether you are familiar with or new to online course design, ELITE will help you maximize your potential. With a current completion rate of 60%, we are seeking individuals to help reach a future milestone of 80% completion.

This fully-funded program is focused on fostering course quality and improving learner outcomes and engagement through effective course design. As an ELITE faculty member, you will:

  • become acquainted with the hallmarks of effective course design and ensure the quality of your student’s learning experiences exceed their expectations.
  • keep abreast of the global benchmarks for quality, supported by empirical research.
  • glean takeaways and resources for use in your teaching and learning immediately.
  • become a certified peer reviewer and be eligible to receive $150 per course review.
  • engage with a community of like-minded, passionate colleagues across higher education institutions and explore valuable insights, perspectives and implications.
  • be part of MSU Denver’s mission of continuous quality enhancement and successful academic transformation.
  • get recognized and receive the ELITE award for your hard work.

Submit your application today. Applications are due Tuesday, May 2nd, at 11:59 p.m. Space is limited, so only top applicants will be selected to participate by faculty members who have completed the program. Please note, you will be asked to include a statement describing how completing the ELITE program will impact student success. Additionally, the ELITE program is a year-long activity and typically requires a contribution of up to 100 hours. Please consider the time investment needed for this program and be sure to have support of your Department Chair before applying.

Selected candidates will be announced and notified on July 7th, 2017. Those selected will then have until June 30, 2018 to complete the program. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Alex McDaniel at We thank you in advance for your consideration and/or passing this information along to colleagues.

Security Tips for Traveling at Home and Abroad

From the Educause Security Awareness Initiative webpage

We all like to travel with our mobile devices (smartphones, laptops, or tablets) — whether it’s to the coffee shop around the corner or to a café in Paris. These devices make it easy for us to stay connected while on the go, but they can also store a lot of information — including contacts, photos, videos, location, and other personal and financial data — about ourselves and our friends and family. Following are some ways to protect yourself and others.

Before you go:

  • If possible, do not take your work or personal devices with you on international trips. If you do, remove or encrypt any confidential data.
  • For international travel, consider using temporary devices, such as an inexpensive laptop and a prepaid cell phone purchased specifically for travel. (For business travel, your employer may have specific policies about device use and traveling abroad.)
  • Install a device finder or manager on your mobile device in case it is lost or stolen. Make sure
    it has remote wipe capabilities and that you know how to do a remote wipe.
  • Ensure that any device with an operating system and software is fully patched and up-to-date with security software.
  • Makes copies of your travel documents and any credit cards you’re taking with you. Leave the copies with a trusted friend, in case the items are lost or stolen.
  • Keep prying eyes out! Use strong passwords, passcodes, or smart-phone touch ID to lock and protect your devices.
  • Avoid posting social media announcements about your travel plans; such announcements make you an easy target for thieves. Wait until you’re home to post your photos or share details about your trip.

While you’re there:

  • Physically protect yourself, your devices, and any identification documents (especially your passport).
  • Don’t use an ATM unless you have no other option; instead, work with a teller inside the bank. If you must use an ATM, only do so during daylight hours and ask a friend to watch your back. Also check the ATM for any skimming devices, and use your hand to cover the number pad as you enter your PIN.
  • It’s hard to resist sharing photos or telling friends and family about your adventures, but it’s best to wait to post about your trip on social media until you return home.
  • Never use the computers available in public areas, hotel business centers, or cyber cafés since they may be loaded with keyloggers and malware. If you use a device belonging to other travelers, colleagues, or friends, do not log in to e-mail or any sensitive accounts.
  • Be careful when using public wireless networks or Wi-Fi hotspots; they’re not secure, so anyone could potentially see what you’re doing on your computer or mobile device while you’re connected.
  • Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use. Some stores and other locations search for devices with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth enabled to track your movements when you’re within range.
  • Keep your devices with you at all times during your travels. Do not assume they will be safe in your hotel room or in a hotel safe.

When you return:

  • Change any and all passwords you may have used abroad.
  • Run full antivirus scans on your devices.
  • If you used a credit card while traveling, check your monthly statements for any discrepancies for at least one year after you return.
  • If you downloaded any apps specifically for your trip and no longer need them, be sure to delete those apps and the associated data.
  • Post all of your photos on social media and enjoy reliving the experience!

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