Seeking Examples of Innovative Technology Use in Teaching

man holding iphoneThere are so many innovative uses of technology in teaching occurring at Northern Illinois University, but not often a simple way for faculty to share their successes broadly with their NIU faculty colleagues. Simultaneously, if you are interested in using technology in teaching, it’s often most helpful to hear firsthand from fellow faculty on what tools and pedagogical approaches have been most successful.

The Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center strives to make it even easier for faculty to share instructional technology implementation successes with one another, by helping spread the word about innovative uses of technology in teaching. To that end, if you have a success story to share about your use of technology in your teaching, complete our brief survey at facdev.niu.edu/techsurvey to let us know about your innovative project.

Right now, we are just trying to gather information, but we may share this information with the NIU community in the future (with your permission, naturally). For example, your project could be an example that we share for using innovative technology in one of our workshops, or while discussing teaching with technology during a consultation with faculty. If you are ready to take it further, however, we may want to collaborate with you on a blog post, a newsletter article, or co-facilitating a workshop.

Let us know what you are doing that is exciting and innovative. Share it with a colleague, and encourage them to submit their work, as well!

Using Lynda.com Courses in Your Teaching

NIU has an institutional license for Lynda.com, a leading online learning platform with courses in business, software, technology, and creative skills. All NIU students, faculty, and staff can access the courses to learn a new skill or explore a new interest. This makes them a valuable resource to include in your course design! Here are a few tips to help you go further.

click share then copy the link for use within your organization

Sharing Direct Links to a Course

Students must log in to Lynda.com in order to watch any of the videos. If you copy the URL for a Lynda.com video from your address bar to share the video with your students, Lynda.com will not know that they should log in via NIU, and students will eventually end up back at the Lynda.com home page. This is inconvenient, and makes it difficult for students to find the correct course to watch. Instead, click the Share button above the video, and copy the link to “Share this course within your organization”. When you post that link in Blackboard or send it to students, Lynda.com will know that the person who clicks that link needs to log in with NIU credentials, and will direct students to the course once they have logged in.

 

Create Playlists of Videos and Courses

You may want to have students watch specific videos, instead of an entire course, or to combine videos from several courses. In that case, you can create a playlist of videos (and courses) for your students. The playlist makes it easy for students to watch the specific videos you want, if there is no need for them to watch the rest of the course. For example, here is an Online Teaching playlist, with videos and courses which are relevant to online teaching. Learn more about Lynda.com playlists.

 

Have Students Submit Course Completion Certificates as Blackboard Assignments

If you have students complete an entire course (like this one on SPSS for Academic Research), they will receive a certificate of completion. Students can easily save their certificate as a PDF, and then submit that to an Assignment as evidence of completion.
To save a certificate as a PDF:

  1. Log in to Lynda.com at go.niu.edu/lynda
  2. Click your name in the upper right corner
  3. Click Certificates
  4. Click view/print for the certificate you want to save
  5. Click the Save as PDF button in the upper left corner

open menu, click certificates, click view/print, click save as pdf

 

Save Time with a Syllabus Review

Lynda.com can review your syllabus to determine which courses and videos would be appropriate resources for your course. This makes it much quicker for you to begin incorporating Lynda.com resources in your courses! To get started, send an email to Cindy Kozumplik at ckozumplik@niu.edu to request a Lynda.com syllabus review. The process will take a few weeks, so plan ahead if you want a review for a spring course.

Earn the Graduate Teaching Certificate this year!

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graduate teaching certificateThe Graduate Teaching Certificate recognizes graduate teaching assistants (GA/RA/TAs) for their participation in the development programs offered by the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center. The certificate acknowledges these individuals’ commitment to effective teaching and can enhance their academic credentials.To qualify for this recognition, a graduate teaching assistant must attend the full-day TA Orientation and at least five (5) programs of shorter duration offered by Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center. You can complete these requirements at any time during your studies

It is easy to apply for the Faculty Development & Instructional Design Center Graduate Teaching Certificate! Complete the online application form with the workshops you attended. If you need to review the workshops you attended, you can do so by logging into our registration system at facdev.niu.edu/myprograms. Log in with both your A-ID and Z-ID to see all of your programs (if you have used different IDs at different times).

Recipients have the option to have the recognition validated with a recommendation on their LinkedIn Profiles, to make it more visible. They will also be recognized at the Outstanding Graduate Student Recognition Reception.

Your certificate will be sent to your department so that the department chair, graduate coordinator, or faculty supervisor can acknowledge your commitment to effective teaching and present the certificate to you. If you need a few more workshops to qualify for the certificate, you should check the current schedule of TA programs.

New Blackboard Instructor App Joins Blackboard’s Mobile App Suite

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blackboard instructor app

This summer, Blackboard released the new Blackboard Instructor mobile app, which enables you to stay connected to the courses you are teaching on the go, from any Apple or Android mobile device. With the Blackboard Instructor app, you can view course content, connect with students in discussions, and interact with your class in Blackboard Collaborate.

download on the apple app store     get it on google play

 

At the same time, Blackboard renamed the previous Bb Student app to “Blackboard App”, so that it is easier for students to find in their mobile app stores. You can provide a link to information on the Blackboard App in your course to encourage students to use the Blackboard App to access course content, engage with peers and teachers through the discussion board or Blackboard Collaborate, stay informed with course announcements, and prioritize their work by tracking their progress and upcoming deadlines.

 

Blackboard Instructor Features

  • Navigation – Blackboard Instructor categorizes and groups the most relevant features in one place, for quick and easy access to courses and content
  • Course Management – View a list of all courses for available terms and get a summary of each course, including upcoming assignments, announcements, discussions, and more
  • Content and Assessment Preview – Review course content and assessments on mobile to ensure content is accurate and mobile-friendly. Note that you cannot create or post content from the mobile app at this time
  • Discussions – Participate in discussions from anywhere via a mobile device, including viewing, creating, and editing discussion board threads and replies. Note that you cannot create a discussion board from the mobile app at this time; you can only participate in discussion boards that already exist by posting threads or replies
  • Announcements – Create, review, and send out announcements to students. Students who use the Blackboard app will be alerted with a notification in the Activity Stream when you post an announcement, from either the app or from a browser
  • Collaborate – Engage in real-time video conferencing to collaborate with video, voice, files, chat, and interactive whiteboard

 

Give it a try! Blackboard Instructor is available for free on Apple and Android phones and tablets. With exciting new features in development for grading, messaging, or taking attendance, the Blackboard Instructor app is undoubtedly going to be an important part of your mobile toolkit for teaching!

 

2017 Blackboard Reminders for the Beginning of the Semester

man at desk using laptopAs many new faculty, teaching staff, and TAs are requesting course space on Blackboard this week and get ready to begin the semester teaching their courses using Blackboard, here are a few useful links as reminders for some of the “beginning of the semester” frequently asked questions:

1. Requesting a new course on Blackboard – After logging into webcourses.niu.edu click the “Services” tab at the top of the page and then “Blackboard Faculty Tools”. Click “My Courses” and then follow the links on the displayed window. Instructions and step-by-step tutorials can be found at: niu.edu/blackboard/manage/request.shtml. In order to request a Blackboard course, individuals must be the “instructor of record” for the course in the MyNIU system.

Course space requests are processed immediately by the new automated process developed by DoIT. It takes an additional day for someone newly assigned as instructor of record in MyNIU to have permission to request the course in Blackboard. Learn more at niu.edu/blackboard/news/20170210.shtml

2. Combining course sections – Those teaching dual level courses (e.g. 400 and 500 or cross-listed courses) or multiple sections may want to combine their sections into one master course. Individuals requesting master courses must be instructor of record in both sections to be combined. Information about doing that can also be found at niu.edu/blackboard/manage/multiplesections.shtml.

“Course combine requests” also are processed immediately. The resulting “Master Course” will include all of the students from both sections, as well as automatic Groups and Grade Center Smart Views for each section. Learn more at niu.edu/blackboard/news/20170413.shtml.

3. Making courses “available” to students – After creating and posting documents on a Blackboard courses, faculty should make those courses “available” to students. Otherwise, students will not be able to see the courses. This can be automated as part of the course request process, or it can be done manually by following the instructions found at niu.edu/blackboard/manage/availability.shtml.

4. Using Blackboard on a mobile device – Faculty can download the Blackboard Instructor app for their Apple or Android devices, to be able to communicate with students and view course materials. Students can use a separate Blackboard App on Apple, Android, or Windows devices, which is specially designed for to allow students to engage with their coursework on the go. Both apps are free to use. Learn more at niu.edu/blackboard/mobile.

5. Blackboard workshops – Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center regularly schedules workshops on using Blackboard for teaching purposes, and the monthly program schedules can be found at niu.edu/facdev.

For those who are not able to attend a workshop, there is also now a Self-Paced Introduction to Blackboard online workshop consisting of short video demonstrations, available at facdev.niu.edu/selfpacedbb1.

Answers to other Frequently Asked Blackboard-related questions can be found at niu.edu/blackboard/faq and Blackboard-related help information can be found at niu.edu/blackboard/atoz.

For login and password-related questions, please refer faculty to the DoIT Service Desk at 815-753-8100 or servicedesk@niu.edu and for other teaching-related Blackboard questions, faculty can submit the questions at ssl.niu.edu/blackboard/ask/index.asp.

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