Celebrate Earth Day with Greener Teaching Practices

posted in: Resources, Teaching | 0
Davis Hall viewed through spring tulips at NIU
Photo Credit: NIU Creative Services

As educators, we strive each day to teach our students to be global citizens and good stewards of the world around them. One of the ways we can model this is to incorporate greener teaching techniques into our courses. Here are some easy steps to improve your teaching green footprint, which are good for the environment and good for your students’ success.

Provide your students with more than printed materials

An overall push to reduce printing is a good first step in reducing your environmental impact. Moreover, reducing printed materials is also good for your students’ learning. Providing your students with a variety of materials through multiple modalities can help offer choice and preference in how they learn content best. You can now find materials in many forms such as e-books, online tutorials, videos, infographics, and written materials. Your students can access museum archives, listen to a symphony on a train, or review your lecture notes from their phones at their convenience beyond the regular class period. Simply by providing your students with electronic materials in a variety of formats reduces your carbon footprint and is often more accessible to a diverse student body.

Assess your students and grade their work online

Consider changing up your assessments and putting more of them online. By using Blackboard assessment tools, students can submit their work electronically and grading can be easier.  Some of Blackboard’s most commonly used assessment tools include Assignments, Tests, and Discussions forums. One of the real benefits of online assessments is the ability to provide your students with valuable feedback on how they are doing with no printing necessary.  Find out more about Blackboard’s Inline Grading. Other benefits to putting your assessments online, include using SafeAssign for plagiarism detection and managing due dates.

Attending Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center’s Teaching with Technology Institute on June 2, 2016

Beginning this summer, the Division of IT is planning to migrate NIU student email into the Microsoft Exchange system, so that NIU faculty and students will be on the same email system for the first time ever. This adds even more functionality to Microsoft Office 365, which students have had access to for over a year. Students will have the ability to easily share files, work collaboratively, and share media-rich notes. During the morning session of the 2016 Teaching with Technology Institute, participants will discover how to use these tools in new ways to communicate and collaborate with their students.

Resources

Greener Teaching Techniques – This article is a compilation of techniques for environmentally-friendly teaching from a variety of sources, including other academic institutions and environmental agencies.

NIU Green Team – All students, faculty, and staff are invited to join and help shape the future of NIU.

 

 

EDUCAUSE 2015 Virtual Conference

posted in: Conferences, News | 0

EDUCAUSE 2015 Logo

WHEN: Wednesday, October 28 – Friday, October 30
WHERE: NIU Wellness and Literacy Building Conference Room 2101 (map)
COST: FREE to NIU Faculty and Staff


NIU’s Division of Information Technology is sponsoring this year’s EDUCAUSE 2015 Virtual Conference. You and your colleagues can learn and network by coming together to participate in streamed sessions from the conference in Indianapolis.

Description from the EDUCAUSE website:

The EDUCAUSE Annual Conference is the premier higher education IT event, offering an engaging and informative program, formal and informal opportunities to build your professional network, and allows you to learn, reflect, and engage with colleagues from around the world.

Take part in content-rich sessions as an individual, or attend as a team. Participate either in-person in Indianapolis, or virtually right from your own institution. However you participate, EDUCAUSE 2015 will create a dynamic environment to share future directions, best practices, stories of successful collaborations, and solutions to community-wide issues.


EDUCAUSE keynote speakers 2015

Wednesday: The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies
Daniel Pink
Author and Host/Executive Producer of National Ceographics Crowd Control

Thursday: The Cascade Effect: How Small Wins Can Transform Your Organization
Andrew McAfee
Co-Counter MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, MIT Sloan School of Management, and Author

Friday: If You Build It
Emily Pilloton
Humanitarian Design Activist, Author of Design Revolution and Creator of Project H


Session Descriptions and Times

http://niu.edu/doit/education/educause.shtml
Sign up for the sessions you wish to attend by clicking on the registration link at the top of the page. Attend as many sessions as you would like.

If you need more information about the how to use the DOIT ERP Training registration system, please refer to:
http://www.niu.edu/erptraining/documents/basicnavigation/erptraining_registration_process_JOBAID.pdf


If your schedule doesn’t allow you to attend, note that EDUCAUSE records many of the sessions. When EDUCAUSE makes the recorded sessions available to us (usually 4-8 weeks after the conference), we will share the link with you.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact erp_training@niu.edu.

Spring 2015 Teaching Effectiveness Institute on Getting Credit for What You Do

posted in: News, Newsletter, Teaching | 0

Laurie RichlinLaurie Richlin, professor and chair of the Department of Medical Education, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine presented two, half-day workshops on getting credit for what you do. Upon check-in for both workshops, participants were presented with a copy of Dr. Richlin’s book, Blueprint for Learning: Creating College Courses to Facilitate, Assess, and Document Learning, which details much of what was presented during the institute.

During the morning workshop, Getting Credit for What You Do: Designing an Evidence-Based Course, Dr. Richlin discussed ways faculty can demonstrate how well their teaching facilitates their students’ learning. Using a worksheet and through discussions, participants had the opportunity to document their teaching/learning decisions and results so that their colleagues and intelligent non-experts can understand what they are doing. Participants were lead through the evidence-based course design process, which allowed them to identify traditional activities and ideas they felt were appropriate for documentation.

In the afternoon workshop, Getting Credit for What You Do: Creating the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, participants, after having documented their work, were shown how and why to share their findings about effective ways to help students learn better in their discipline and the university. “The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) promotes teaching as a scholarly endeavor and a worthy subject for research, producing a public body of knowledge open to critique and evaluation” (Michigan State University Office of Faculty & Organizational Development). During the workshop, Dr. Richlin described how to turn teaching strategies and results into presentations and publications. She offered anyone who attended either workshop to contact her to answer questions about her workshops or give a preliminary review of a manuscript.

For more information on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, read The Status of the Scholarship of Teaching in the Discipline (2007) by Paul D. Witman and Laurie Richlin.

To learn about current and practical applications of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, consider attending the 2015 Midwest Conference on the Scholarship of Teaching, on April 10, 2015, hosted by Indiana University South Bend.

Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center offers the Teaching Effectiveness Institute twice each year, at the beginning of fall and spring semesters. Day one of the fall Teaching Effectiveness Institute is offered as a one day workshop, which is designed to introduce faculty to the basic principles of teaching, information about teaching-related support resources available at NIU, and ways faculty can address students’ learning needs.

The second day of the institute is offered either as a one, all-day workshop or two, half-day workshops that center on a more focused topic presented by an outside expert in the field. The Fall 2015 Teaching Effectiveness Institute will take place on Thursday, August 14 and Friday, August 15. Look for more details about the institute on our webpage later this spring semester at www.niu.edu/facdev.

References

Michigan State University Office of Faculty and Organizational Development (n.d.). Scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). Retrieved from: http://fod.msu.edu/oir/scholarship-teaching-and-learning-sotl

Richlin, L. (2006). Blueprint for learning: Constructing college courses to facilitate, assess, and document learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Press.

Witman, P. D. and Richlin, L. (2007). The Status of the Scholarship of Teaching in the Discipline. Retrieved from: http://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1013&context=ij-sotl

Spring 2014 Teaching Effectiveness Institute Focused on Creating Excitement in the Classroom

posted in: News, Newsletter, workshops | 1

Todd ZakrajsekThe first day of the Spring 2014 Teaching Effectiveness Institute brought together over 60 NIU faculty, instructors, and teaching staff in two workshops presented by Todd Zakrajsek, Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.

Zakrajsek led two engaging half-day sessions: Critical Challenges in Teaching and Learning and How to Best Address those Challenges and Creating Excitement in the Classroom: Teaching for More Engaged Learning. In the morning, Zakrajsek discussed how to set a positive tone in the classroom and how to respond when problems arise. In the afternoon, he focused on how students learn and strategies faculty can use to increase student motivation and engagement to further student learning.

Participants practiced with Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) that are proven to facilitate meaningful teaching and learning. For example, faculty can ask students to write a one-minute paper at the end of the class period to further engage with content and check their understanding of material covered. Zakrajsek also stressed that expecting students to memorize content is not a particularly effective technique for moving content into long-term memory. Instead, he recommends helping students become more engaged with content through authentic and engaged learning activities. Examples of what he calls “significant learning” activities include students caring about and connecting with their feelings, interests, and values (as well as those of others); becoming self-directed learners (students taking responsibility of their own learning); and becoming life-long learners (where students develop an extrinsic sense of learning).

Zakrajsek further recommends building students’ self-esteem through real (substantive) feedback beyond using simple comments such as “good work” or “nice job.” In real life, he says, “everyone doesn’t get a trophy.” Real feedback should get students’ attention by offering them ways to improve and move forward. This type of feedback can help students realize that they shouldn’t focus on having lost but that they just haven’t won yet!

Many institute participants commented that the first-hand anecdotes and stories will help them implement more engaging and exciting classroom experiences, and they would have liked to have even more time at the institute in order to learn more strategies for creating an exciting classroom.

Dr. Todd Zakrajsek is an Associate Professor in the School of Medicine and the Department of Family Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill. He has published and presented widely on the topic of student learning, including workshops and conference keynote addresses in 42 states and 6 countries.

For further information on these topics and other teaching-related issues, contact Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center at facdev@niu.edu or 815.753.0595.

 

Center Staff Share Teaching Best Practices with Chinese Faculty Visiting NIU

In a partnership with the Division of International Affairs and the International Training Office, Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center staff offered two hands-on workshops for a delegation of eleven Chinese faculty from Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications and Shanxi Agricultural University who visited NIU February 23 – March 8, 2014 as part of the NIU Winter Camp 2014, Understanding American Culture and Higher Education. During their two-week visit, the faculty delegation along with thirty-eight Chinese students from their respective Chinese institutions were immersed in Midwestern culture, engaged with NIU faculty, staff, and administrators, and experienced a taste of higher education in the United States.

Chinese Faculty Delegation Spring 2014

Chinese faculty with Center staff following hands-on training workshop on February 28, 2014

During the hands-on workshops led by Center staff, the Chinese faculty explored teaching best practices using a learning management system as well as learned tips for searching for and incorporating open educational resources in their teaching. Faculty were introduced to free and easy-to-use Web-based tools that they could immediately incorporate into their teaching. Many of the faculty participants expressed their appreciation for the sessions, commenting on how helpful the sessions were in not only better understanding current American teaching practices but also in introducing new pedagogies and technologies that could benefit their students back in China.

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