The role of instructional technology at DeSales University

By Eric Hagan, Ed.D., Director, Distance Education and Instructional Technology

DeSales University is a teaching university. It is characterized by small class sizes, the development of personal relationships, and is enlivened by the rich tradition of Salesian Christian humanism. What is the role of instructional technology in such a place?

Quoting the DeSales University website, “Interest in the human person and the positive affirmation of human life and culture which stems from faith is the hallmark of any humanism qualified as ‘Christian.’ ” A Christian humanist education is, therefore, by, for, and about human beings, human beings striving to discern God’s path for them and to find the courage to choose that path and walk it well. Students in such a Christian humanist educational system ought to be guided by human professors who not only impart content and skills but also good judgment and wisdom.

Consistent with the university’s Christian humanist philosophy, the role of instructional technology at DeSales is to facilitate relationships among faculty and students, not to replace or diminish such relationships. To this end, at DeSales we use technology to enrich and extend what occurs in the face-to-face classroom, to bring faculty and students together through time and space, to give voice to students that communicate most effectively in the virtual classroom, and to automate routine tasks to allow more time for person-to-person interactions.

Instructional technology at DeSales is a toolbox at the disposal of our faculty. It exists to allow our faculty to more fully realize their vision for their teaching and their aspirations for their students. DeSales’ instructional technology and the people that support it are here for the faculty and students, not the other way around. Because instructional technology is rightly understood to perform a supporting role to the human actors in the DeSales educational process, it is not feared and walled off in an online learning department but rather embraced and infused across the university’s many academic disciplines and our three major program areas: traditional day, ACCESS, and graduate.

Technology, however, has changed the role of the professor by making effective teaching a more collaborative endeavor. Much like a modern physician, a modern professor recognizes that he or she is the leader of a team. In the same way that an effective physician relies on medical technologists, today’s effective professor knows to call on instructional technology experts to complement the professor’s pedagogical and content expertise.

As stated in its mission statement, DeSales University enriches the human community and enhances the dignity of the individual through its educational endeavors. Instructional technology at DeSales, when employed well, supports and enhances the humanity of all those involved in the educational process.

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Know Your Classroom’s Tech

If you are new to DeSales, teaching in a classroom with which you are unfamiliar, or just like to minimize the chance of problems, do a classroom technology dry run before the first day of class. Make sure you can project your slides, play your YouTube videos, DVDs or BluRays, use the document camera, hook up your laptop – whatever it is you do. If you like, a member of the DEIT staff can meet you in your classroom and do a walkthrough of the technology with you.


Video: Classroom Technology in Dooling Hall

Video: Lecture Capture Rooms

Policy: Class Recording Policy

For more information on DeSales’ instructional technology, visit the DEIT Faculty Community in Blackboard. To schedule a classroom technology walkthrough or to ask questions, contact DEIT at 610-282-1100 x2290 or

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Everything You Need to Know About Respondus in 3 Minutes

Check out our 3-minute video on Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor – DeSales’ tool for deterring cheating on online exams.

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New Blackboard mobile apps

Blackboard has updated its mobile apps. There are two main changes

Bb Student

The Bb Student app has been renamed to Blackboard. With the latest release of the app, that name change is now official across iOS, Android, and Windows app stores. For more information about the latest release of the Blackboard app (version 2.9.8), view the Blackboard app release notes.

The new Blackboard Instructor app

Blackboard Inc has released a new mobile app geared specifically for instructors. The app will allow instructors  to:

  • Preview course items, assignments, and tests.
  • Participate in discussions.
  • Send announcements.
  • Interact with your class in Blackboard Collaborate.

The Blackboard Instructor app is also a good way to see how students will work with the material of a course using the Blackboard app

The app is available on both Android and iOS devices. Additional information is available on Blackboard’s website –

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Panopto 5.4

After July 21, Panopto for Windows and Panopto for Mac will need to be upgraded to version 5.4 or above. Panopto 5.4 includes important bug fixes and a few new features.

Users on prior versions will be prompted to upgrade when they run Panopto for Windows or Panopto for Mac. Users will need to download and install the latest version of the app. See instructions for details on Windows and Mac.

Panopto for Windows Upgrade Prompt
Panopto for Mac Upgrade Prompt

Note: You will be unable to upload new recordings until they have upgraded.

What’s new?

There have been some small changes to the user interface of both the Panopto web site and the Panopto Recorder. The major changes are:


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Latest Update to Blackboard Collaborate Ultra!

Blackboard just released an update to Collaborate Ultra! Check out the new features below:

  • Participants can change their status to show their reaction to the information being presented. You can also sort the participants based on their feedback!
  • In-product tutorials are now available! Participants can choose the features they need help with and the tutorials will walk them through it.
  • The Scheduler UI and chat panel were both improved.

For more information about the new features, click here.

These new features enhance Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, the newest version of DeSales’ web conferencing system. If you are still using Blackboard Collaborate “classic” contact DEIT at or 610-282-1100 x2290 to find out how to upgrade to Ultra, or for more information.


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April Workshops!

Here are the workshops scheduled for April!

To register go to

Questions? Contact us at 610-282-1100 x2290 or

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Online Proctoring: An Interview with the CEO of Respondus

Recently, the Respondus News website published an interview with David Smetters, the CEO of Respondus. This interview addresses online proctoring and why the Respondus Monitor and Lockdown Browser are different from other solutions. It also explains how online proctoring helps deter cheating and improve student success rates. As the interview goes on, it continues to go into more detail about the benefits of Respondus, covering things such as cost, benefits to the university, and benefits to instructors. Check out the full interview at:



Follow us on Twitter! @DeSalesDEIT



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Panopto New Features- DEIT Online Workshop – Thursday, March 9, 7 pm

Panopto: Embedded Quizzes and Other Advanced Features: Thursday, March 9, 7 pm (Online)

Hosted by DEIT’s Chris Hewatt, Instructional Designer and Rogue Punner
If you can’t make the March 9 session, visit us for an on-campus session at noon on March 22.

To register or for more information go to
If you have any questions contact DEIT at or 610-282-1100 x2290

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This week’s online DEIT workshops: Collaborate Weds 3/8, Panopto Thurs 3/9

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra: Wednesday, March 8, 7 pm (Online)
Panopto: Embedded Quizzes and Other Advanced Features: Thursday, March 9, 7 pm (Online)

To register or for more information go to
If you have any questions contact DEIT at or 610-282-1100 x2290

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