NIU launches conference on engaged learning, teaching, scholarship

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NIU is more than familiar with the amazing stories students tell about their engaged learning experiences with faculty.

Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day

The ninth annual Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day and the fifth annual Community Engagement Showcase are planned Wednesday, April 18.

However, this spring will introduce a new event that uncovers and recognizes the faculty perspective of collaborations with students and community partners. The first Engaged Learning, Teaching and Scholarship Conference is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 6.

Several faculty and staff will present on best practices in engaged learning, teaching and scholarship in the Holmes Student Center. All are welcome to attend; registration is open online.

 

Renique Kersh

“Engaging students and the local, regional, national and global community is critical to NIU’s mission,” says Renique Kersh, associate vice provost for Engaged Learning and director of the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning.

“We want to celebrate the tremendous efforts by faculty and staff across the campus to create and support opportunities that lead to significant learning and community and economic impact,” Kersh adds. “We hope to inspire potential collaboration, to engage in thoughtful discussions about the future of engaged learning at NIU and to learn from one another.”

Kersh says “engaged learning” comes in many forms:

  • Undergraduate research;
  • Service-learning;
  • Project- or problem-based learning;
  • Innovative practices;
  • Practical ways that community engagement, reciprocity and mutual benefits are obtained through strategic partnerships that result in positive economic or social benefits; and
  • Engaged research, scholarship, creativity and artistry, in addition to engaged learning, teaching and community partnerships.

“At the crux, engaged learning as a practice puts the learner at the center,” she says. “It involves intentionality, application of knowledge and active participation.”

For students, she adds, “the results are significant learning, the ability to think more deeply and understand complex materials, and to better understand and embrace the ways that they connect with the world around them.”

Lisa Freeman, acting president of NIU, will deliver the opening remarks as well as the keynote address: “Bringing NIU’s Mission to Life through Engagement.”

Concurrent “Best Practice” sessions begin at 9:15 a.m., 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. A plenary session is scheduled from 10:45 to 11:30 a.m., and a poster session will begin at 11:45 a.m.

Participants will close the day with a discussion on “The Future of Engaged Learning at NIU.”

“We hope to learn more about the ways that faculty interpret and implement engaged learning at NIU,” Kersh says. “Engaged learning represents pedagogy, practice and scholarship that is high-impact and has long-term benefits that extend beyond the classroom and the brick-and-mortar.”

Co-sponsors of the Engaged Learning, Teaching and Scholarship Conference are the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning; the Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development; the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center; the College of Business Experiential Learning Center; and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For more information, call (815) 753-8154 or email rkersh@niu.edu.

Story reposted from NIU Today, January 17, 2018

End of Semester Reminders in Blackboard

closeup of woman's hands using a laptopAs the semester draws to a close, there are some final tasks you can take care of in Blackboard, to make your courses end successfully and prepare yourself for the next semester.

    • Calculate final grades: If you have been recording grades in the Blackboard Grade Center, you can use it to calculate the final grades for your students. Remember to check that you have entered zeroes for any missing assignments or tests, so that the calculations are accurate. If you are using a Weighted Total, make sure that your categories are assigned correctly – you can do so quickly by going to Manage > Column Organization. Consider attending the Calculating Final Grades with the Blackboard Grade Center workshop on Friday, December 8, 2017, from 10:00 – 11:30 am; please register in advance for the workshop! We will also be holding an Open Lab for any who need help Calculating and Submitting Final Grades as well, on Thursday, December 14, from 11:00 – 1:00 pm in Adams Hall Room 323. Our staff will be on hand to assist you with the process.

 

    • Automatically assign letter grades in Blackboard: The Blackboard Grade Center uses a default grading schema to assign letters grades, with pluses and minuses. You can verify that the schema matches yours, and modify it if necessary, by going to Manage > Grading Schemas. To automatically assign letter grades, edit the Total or Weighted Total column (or create a new Calculated Column), and set Letter as the Primary Display option. You can use a Score or Percentage as a secondary display, which you will be able to see in the same column of the Grade Center.

 

    • Submit grades automatically from Blackboard to MyNIU: The Grade Submission tool can automatically submit your grades from Blackboard to MyNIU, so that you don’t need to enter grades in MyNIU with the drop down menus. This is particularly useful for large classes or when you have used a Master Course to combine sections. In Blackboard, you need a column of letter grades (either assigned automatically, or typed into a column with Text as the Primary Display). That column should be set as the External Grade column (there will be a green checkmark next to the column name). Use the Grade Submission tool in the Control Panel, under Course Tools, to send the grades to MyNIU. Once the submission is complete, you can log in to MyNIU to enter last attendance dates (for any F’s, U’s, or I’s), approve grades, and post them. The Grade Submission tool is available until the night before grades are due; after that you may only enter grades manually in MyNIU. Review the Quick Guide on submitting grades for more information.

 

    • Export the grades for safekeeping: While Blackboard is backed up regularly, it is a good idea to download your Grade Center as an Excel file for you to keep on your office computer. To do so, go to the Grade Center and click Work Offline > Download. Watch this video on How to Download Grades from the Grade Center to see how to do it.

 

  • Request your course(s) for next semester: Get a head start on developing your spring semester Blackboard courses now! You can request your spring semester courses now, so that you can develop them over the break. You can review how to do it in these tutorials: Request a Course or Request a Master Course (for combining two or more sections).

As always, you can contact the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center using our Ask a Question form for individualized assistance.

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!

posted in: Newsletter | 0

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.

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