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In The News

This page highlights work and provides information about opportunities that DLIT has been involved with over the years.  This work connects and is also supported through GRCC's IT Department.

Press Releases, Articles, Journals, and Publications


  • WXMI Fox 17 News "On Campus" Segment - Wimba Pronto Feature
  • WZZM TV 13 News "Back to School" Segment - Distance Learning Feature


  • iTunes U - One of the first colleges to receive an iTunes U presence.
  • YouTube EDU - One of the first colleges in Michigan (and one of the first 20 in the nation) to receive a dedicated channel for education content.
  • ClearTXT - One of the first colleges in the area (and one of the first in the nation) to use clearTXT for Text Messaging for crisis alerts.
  • iPhone App - One of the first colleges in the area to deploy an iPhone app for academic tools.

Blackboard Innovations

  • Project ASTRO - 1 of 2 of the first colleges in the world to go into production with a new reporting tool for Bb.
  • Wimba Pronto - 1 of 2 colleges selected worldwide to deploy the Pronto tool (instant messaging) through the Wimba Lighthouse Program.
  • Bb Sync for Facebook and iPhone - 1 of 8 colleges involved in an early beta of the Sync tool.
  • CourseFeed for Facebook - One of the first colleges to adopt the feature for Bb integration with Facebook.
  • Bb Backpack - 1 of 3 colleges to speak at an Intel keynote on mobile learning and one of the first colleges to deploy Backpack for students. 
  • Bb Scholar - 1 of 12 or so colleges involved in rolling out a new social bookmarking tool, in fact for several months after deployment, GRCC was the top school in bookmarks tagged. 
  • Bb Sync Browser Toolbar - 1 of 3 colleges asked to provide early release feedback on a new browser toolbar.
  • Rave Wireless - One of the first colleges to deploy text messaging service Building Block for course messaging through Blackboard. 
  • Starfish Early Alert - The second college in the state and one of 12 in the nation to adopt Starfish Early Alert for student retention.
  • Xythos Drive - One of the first colleges to deploy the Xythos Drive for enhanced connection to the Content System through a pilot program by Bb.
  • McGraw-Hill and Blackboard Limited Field Trial – GRCC was one of 52 schools invited to participate in the Blackboard and McGraw-Hill to pilot of a brand new feature in Bb that empowers faculty to better integrate interactive and textbook information as well as engaging learning activities into courses.
  • Blackboard Learn system at GRCC runs on load balanced architecture with Cisco ACE. 
  • Blackboard Learn integrates with the RaiderCard system (Blackboard Transact) for Credit Card deposits and other solutions like GreenRide for student ride sharing.
  • Blackboard Learn at GRCC integrates with many web 2.0 tools like mashups, lecture recording systems (Camtasia Relay), and photo rosters.
  • GRCC's team (Szymon Machajeski in IT) earned the 2011 Blackboard Catalyst Award in Innovative Development for creating extensions to the LMS via web and mobile solutions.
  • GRCC articipates in the Open Source OSCELOT community where we contribute and share extensions code with other schools.
  • GRCC's system architecture is based on Blackboard Reference Architecture document which discusses Disaster Recovery scenarios based on the use of Oracle Enterprise Database and Oracle Data Guard software.  
  • GRCC's application servers use 2048 bit encryption secure sockets layer which exceeds most encryption standards.
  • GRCC participates on the BIE (Blackboard Idea Exchange), Bug Squad, Product Development Partnerships, Focus Groups, Upgrade Cohorts, etc.
  • GRCC professor Garry Brand was awarded the 2012 Outstanding eLearning Faculty Award from the Instructional Technology Council (ITC).
  • In the Fall 2011, GRCC was one of the first in using Blackboard Connect for Learn to provide sms text messaging and text-to-voice capabilities to students and faculty.
  • Beginning in January 2012, GRCC will be one of the first colleges to field trial the new SP10 Visual Text Box Edit, participate in the SP8 beta, and implement the Bb Analtyics for Learn solution.

Grants Received

Bb Greenhouse Grant Recipient

  • GRCC was a recipient of the $25,000 Blackboard Greenhouse Grant for the co-development of Project ASTRO, a reporting tool for Blackboard.  More than 322 institutions around the world have downloaded the Building Block for Project ASTRO. 

Presentations by DLIT

"Blackboard Analytics for Blackboard Learn Customer Limited Field Trial Panel: Early Findings and Insights" and "Mobile and Course Communications" at BbWorld'12 in New Orleans, LA.

"Leveraging Academic Analytics in System Administration, Professional Development, and Course Improvement" at the BbWorld'11 Conference in Las Vages, NV.

"Building Campus Community and Conducting Staff Training Instantly with Pronto" for the Blackboard Collaborate Distinguished Lecture Series via Wimba Classroom.

"How to Deliver Relevant, Engaging Multimedia Content to 21st Century Campuses" in a CISCO, eSchool News Webinar via WebEx.

"Project ASTRO – Reporting Success Stories and the Next Phase" at the BbWorld'10 Conference in Orlando, FL.

"Leveraging NBC News Archives on Demand and Grand Rapids Community College" at the BbWorld'10 Conference in Orlando, FL.

"Leveraging NBC News Archives on Demand and Grand Rapids Community College" at the AACC Conference in Seattle, WA.

"Using Analytics to Intervene with Underperforming College Students (Innovative Practice)" with Kimberly Arnold, Educational Assessment Specialist, Purdue University and John Fritz, Asst. VP, Instructional Technology & New Media, University of Maryland, Baltimore County at EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative 2010 Annual Meeting, Austin, TX.