Blackboard Learn or Something Else? You Decide!

Blackboard Learn or Something Else? You Decide!

You’re invited to attend demonstrations of three different Learning Management Systems (LMS) to provide feedback and help identify the LMS that best meets our needs going forward: Brightspace, Canvas, or Blackboard Ultra. Students and Faculty have three different opportunities to see demonstrations targeted toward important needs and uses of each LMS based on feedback we’ve collected. One student-centered and faculty-centered demonstration will be recorded for each LMS in case you can’t make a session in person. You’ll also have a chance to bring your laptop and log into a test environment to get a feel for each LMS. Access the Next Generation Digital Learning Environment at Wentworth SharePoint Site to watch recordings of the vendor demonstrations, provide feedback on each vendor, and learn more about why we’re looking at the LMS including the assessment data gathered from students, faculty, staff and academic leaders. The data provided is a compilation of analyses done over the last few years looking at how faculty use our current LMS and how students interact with the LMS.

Is Your Class Active and Engaging?

Most germane to learning, research shows that students need to do more Reading, Writing, and Presenting (Schmoker 2011).

Research has demonstrated, for example, that if a faculty member allows students to consolidate their notes by pausing three times for two minutes each during a lecture, students will learn significantly more information (Ruhl, Hughes, and Schloss 1987). Other simple yet effective way to involve students during a lecture are to insert brief demonstrations or short, ungraded writing exercises followed by class discussion. Certain alternatives to the lecture format further increase students’ level of engagement: (1) the feedback lecture, which consists of two mini lectures separated by a small-group study session built around a study guide, and (2) the guided lecture, in which students listen to a 20- to 30-minute presentation without taking notes, followed by their writing for five minutes then spending the remainder of the class period in small groups clarifying and elaborating on the material (Bowell & Eison 1991).

If you’re interested in enhancing your teaching style to include active classroom techniques, LIT is here to help.  LIT has done the researched and has many examples and techniques to share with you.  In addition, LIT would love to partner with you in identifying the targeted engagement techniques that work best for your classes.

By partnering with LIT, we can come to your classes, observe and recommend methods that you like and feel comfortable with.

Wentworth Next Generation LMS Sharepoint Site

As part of our ongoing project to identify the next LMS for Wentworth, we’ve created a Next Generation Digital Learning Environment at Wentworth SharePoint site open to the entire Wentworth community. On this site you will find the original Request for Proposals (RFP) that was sent to vendors, the proposals submitted, a calendar of events that we’d like the community to attend, pages to provide feedback and comments, as well as the data that helped inform the RFP.

The data provided is a compilation of analyses done over the last few years looking at how faculty use our current LMS and how students interact with the LMS. In addition, we have conducted surveys and focus groups (open forums) where we have asked what the community thinks are useful and not so useful aspects of our current LMS. We’ve used this combined data set to help determine what the essential features of an LMS are and what features are pain points for the community and included them in the RFP.

If you look at the RFP, you’ll see the community’s needs reflected in the requirements that were specified to the vendors. The proposals are the vendors’ responses to those requirements and will be assessed, along with community comments, to choose Wentworth’s next LMS.

The most critical parts of the site are the events calendar and feedback pages. The current calendar events list the days the vendors will be on campus and we’ll add the specific times for demonstrations to different stakeholder groups. For the demos and open sessions, everyone is welcome to attend. We will be collecting feedback during and after the sessions so please attend what events you can and let us know what you think. After each session, we will be asking attendees to give a rating of the product demonstrated as compared to our current LMS (Blackboard Learn Managed Hosted). Rating against what we currently use rather than ranking all the products allows the community to provide feedback but does not require that they attend sessions for every vendor to provide valuable information.

After each session, we’ll be compiling the community’s comments and ratings and reporting them back using this same site.

Once the committee assesses the various products, we’ll share all the data used to arrive at the selection and reveal Wentworth’s Next Generation LMS.

Lightboard ready for use!

LIT is pleased to announce that the Lightboard is now available for scheduling!

During the March Faculty Showcase, a number of faculty expressed interest in using the Lightboard to record video segments for their online, hybrid and traditional classes.

We are delighted to offer faculty and teaching staff the opportunity to use this innovative device to support their teaching goals.

Wentworth's new Lightboard

Wentworth Lightboard

Recently Professor Abigail Charest (Civil Engineering) pre-recorded a number of lectures for her Fluid Mechanics course while she was out of the country.  The pre-recorded segments were edited by LIT staff and added to her Blackboard course website using Panopto, the institution’s enterprise video platform.  Her course was uninterrupted as a result of the video lectures.

Abigail Charest teaching Fluid Mechanics

Professor Abigail Charest using the Lightboard

The Lightboard currently resides in a small conference room in the DTS offices, located on the 3rd floor of Beatty Hall.  Given the current location of the Lightboard, you will need to coordinate with an LIT team member to access the Lightboard studio.

Please contact to schedule a consultation prior to your initial recording session.

Meantime, please take a look at the LIT Lightboard support page that we have created which provides additional information about the Lightboard, as well as some tips and tricks and best practices for your recording sessions.

We very much look forward to working with you.

Wentworth Virtual Reality Day Recap

On Tuesday, October 1, the Wentworth community celebrated its inaugural Virtual Reality Day which took place in the CEIS Atrium.  The goal of Virtual Reality (VR) Day was to recognize and celebrate the current use of Virtual and Augmented reality to support teaching and learning at the institution.

Wentworth Inaugural Virtual Reality Day

Wentworth Inaugural Virtual Reality Day

Wentworth faculty from various disciplines including; Architecture, Humanities, Interior Design and Construction Management shared how they have incorporate VR and AR (Augmented Reality) technology into their course design.

Leading off the discussions, Professor Jody Gordon (Humanities) and Professor Ann-Catrin Schultz (Architecture) presentation titled, Augmenting Architectural History: Re-envisioning the Built Environment through Virtual Reality Pedagogy a Wentworth EPIC project aimed at introducing virtual reality technology into a series of classes in the fields of archaeology and architectural history.

Professors Gordon and Schultz indicated that a starting point for their project is the use of Rome Reborn (, a VR application that provides digital reconstructions and virtual tours of ancient Rome during 320 C.E. in all its former glory.

“Currently, Rome Reborn has recreated a series of ancient Roman landscapes including: a flyover of the ancient city, the Forum, the Colosseum, the Basilica of Maxentius, and the Pantheon” said Professor Gordon.

Using the Oculus Go VR headset, students will experience ancient Roman landscapes in full 3-D virtual reality in order to learn about “monumentality, spatial analysis, architectural design, and placemaking” said Professor Gordon.

During, Professor Lynette Panarelli’s presentation, Integrating technology into the classroom: 3-D modeling and VR for Interior Design students at WIT, she shared how students in her course have incorporated VR technology into their final projects.

Professor Panarelli conveyed that “winning projects with VR technology is becoming the new ‘norm’ in many design firms”.  She went on to say that “designers, clients, and other stakeholders in building design and construction can have multidimensional, multi-sensory experiences long before the building is constructed.”

Currently, the WIT Interior Design department integrates Revit modeling software into the classroom so students can build the digital model and simulate the environment that they are designing. A student can use plugins such as Enscape and Lumion to create a walkthrough and QR codes to simulate a headset with a smart phone.

Professor Panarelli shared that “students who were exposed to VR technology on co-op return to campus and continue to use and develop those skills. It is our goal to provide more opportunities in the classroom to encourage students to integrate technology used in the industry with their foundation design skills”.

During Professor John Cribbs’ presentation, Using A/R to Introduce Civil Site Plans to CM Undergraduates, he discussed how he and his colleagues have incorporated augmented reality into their course design using the innovative AR Sandbox.

Wentworth Institute of Technology Myles and Eugena Sweeney Department of Construction Management's AR Sandbox

Wentworth Institute of Technology Myles and Eugena Sweeney Department of Construction Management’s AR Sandbox

Professor Cribbs stated that the “introduction of this technology allowed students to overlay specific site topography from a digital site plan onto a physical sandbox in order to model and generate existing topographic conditions.”

Professor Cribbs went on to say that the students were “challenged with identifying the proposed site conditions from the civil engineering drawings, in order to resurface the sandbox to match these conditions.”

Professor Cribbs also shared the results of data that he has collected in his course demonstrating the significant impact that the AR Sandbox has played in helping increase student learning through the use of this technology.

Learning Innovation & Technology would like to express a sincere thank you to Professors Gordon, Shultz, Panarelli and Cribbs for their tremendous contributions to the success of VR Day.

In addition, we would also like to thank Michael D’Agostino, Lab Technician for his efforts in assembling the AR Sandbox for VR Day participants to experience; as well as Tory Lam, Assistant Director of Accelerate and members of the Douglas D. Schumann Library and Learning Commons for their contributions.

We would also like to express a heartfelt thank you to our colleagues at Suffolk University: Walter Johnson, Sean Solley and Jennifer Fuchel as well as members of the Multiple Realities team at Suffolk University for participating in VR Day and sharing their knowledge and expertise with us.  We look forward to building a positive, collaborative relationship with our colleagues from Suffolk University.

Wentworth Virtual Reality Day was co-sponsored by Learning Innovation & Technology and the Provost’s Office.  It is our hope to make VR Day and annual event to celebrate the growing and expanded use of AR, VR and other mixed reality technology to support teaching and learning at Wentworth.

Thank you all that participated in making the inaugural VR Day a success.