Microsoft Office 365 Collaboration Tips for Faculty

o365 iconNorthern Illinois University subscribes to Microsoft for Education, a comprehensive service that provides email, calendars, Microsoft Office applications for both work and personal use, OneDrive for Business for cloud storage, SharePoint Servers for document management, and Skype for Business for instantaneous communication, plus much more. All faculty and staff have an Office 365 (O365) account; student email will migrate to Office 365 starting August 11, 2016.

 

The following list of tips and tricks will help you get the most out of the collaborative features of Microsoft Office 365.

Email

mIcrosoft outlook iconStudents will now send and receive email using Microsoft Outlook. This means it will be easier for students to contact you, because they can search using the Global Address Book. It also means it is easier for you to contact them from within Outlook, instead of looking up their email address in another system!

Another great benefit of students using O365 email is that Microsoft is HIPAA-compliant for students in health sciences study and practice.

Be careful with Clutter, however. Clutter helps you filter low-priority email messages out of your Inbox automatically by tracking what you do and do not read. If you delete messages without opening them, Clutter uses this behavior to determine that you do not want to see messages like that one. Unfortunately, this can catch messages you and your students need to see, such as Course Announcements from Blackboard or campus updates. You may want to turn Clutter off.

Tip: The Global Address Book will contain all faculty, staff, and students. There are 2 new address book lists: All Employees (contains faculty, staff, graduate assistants, and student employees) and All Students (contains all student Z-ID emails). If you email colleagues more often than students, you may want to change your default address book to All Employees, so that it is easier to find your intended recipient. Because students who work for the university (such as Graduate Assistants and student employees) have both student and employee email addresses, these lists will also help to differentiate between those addresses.

Calendar

As with email, students will be able to view your Outlook calendar like other faculty and staff can. This can be a great way for students to find a good time to set up a meeting with you—if you are using your Outlook calendar. It is a best practice to set expectations for communication early in your courses. Let students know if your Outlook calendar is accurate, and if they may send you meeting requests.

Tip: Check the permissions on your calendar to ensure they are set the way you want. By default, anyone at NIU can see whether you are free or busy at a specific time. You can change the default access to None, which prevents everyone (including your colleagues) from seeing your calendar information. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to differentiate between what faculty/staff and students see.

O365 and OneDrive

microsoft onedrive iconWith Office 365, you get access to the latest versions of Office, including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and powerful new tools like Sway and Power BI. You and your students can install Office on 5 PCs or Macs, use the software directly on the web, or install the mobile apps on up to 5 mobile devices. This means every student has access to Microsoft Office at no additional cost – they do not need to purchase their own copy or use Google’s free tools. This reduces barriers for students to complete their assignments in your course, and removes issues of file compatibility from using different or out of date software.

OneDrive gives you 1TB of individual storage space in a secure environment that is FERPA- and HIPAA-compliant. You can share any file stored in OneDrive for easy collaboration among colleagues or with students.

Tip: You can use OneDrive for departmental collaboration, too, but an O365 Group or SharePoint site might be better choices, because the content is not removed when the employee who posted it leaves. You can use O365 Groups for classes and student organizations, too. Review What Does What? for more information.

Skype for Business

skype for business iconSkype for Business lets you quickly connect with NIU faculty, staff, and students. It is very similar to “regular” Skype, but with added features that help you work more efficiently. With Skype for Business, you can hold one-on-one or group conversations using instant messaging (IM), audio, or video. Unlike regular Skype, Skype for Business includes the ability to present a PowerPoint with others in your meeting, or to share your computer screen.

It’s easy to connect with others at NIU in Skype for Business. For example, you can easily add contacts from the NIU address book (faculty/staff for now, students after August 11). This makes it a great tool for holding office hours, or for impromptu questions from students. It is also a great replacement for an office phone, for NIU contacts at least. Your colleagues and students can call you using Skype for Business instead of dialing your phone number.

Tip: You are entirely in control of your availability in Skype for Business. You can set your availability manually, let it follow your Outlook Calendar, or you can sign out when you do not want to be contacted. With the free Skype for Business app installed on your iOS or Android device, you can even log in on your mobile device, so you can help your students when you are not in your office!

Training and Support

There is much more that you can do with Office 365, now that student email is migrating to O365 from Gmail. To learn more, consider attending one of the upcoming “Teaching with O365” workshops offered by the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center. The Division of IT has compiled a list of useful courses by Lynda.com that cover the most common O365 tools. Finally, Microsoft has put together a wealth of resources in their Office Training Center.

ICYMI: U ROCK

posted in: News, Newsletter | 0

I love NIUIn case you missed it (ICYMI): students love their classes and their faculty. U ROCK!

For Valentine’s Day, NIU Today asked students to share stories about an NIU faculty member of class that they love. They shared touching stories about faculty who cared, such as Madelyn Anderson from the Department of Communication, who cheered on her students in the marching band during the Sycamore Pumpkin Parade, or Lisa Finkelstein from the Department of Psychology, who stays late to help students during finals. ]

Some students value being challenged by their faculty, such as Joe Bonomo from the Department of English who opens his students minds to critical thinking or inspired, as Ted Hatmaker from the School of Music does.

Check out all of the stories in the full article or watch the video below for a few of the highlights.

A big thank you to everyone from the Division of Marketing and Communication who reached out to students for their stories, and to all of the faculty, instructors, and teaching assistants who make a difference in their students lives. Those of us in the Faculty Development & Instructional Design Center feel the same as the students: U ROCK!

Fall 2015 Leadership Workshops

posted in: News | 0

lego figures of scientist, graduate, and office workerThe Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, HR Center for Training & Professional Development, Operating Staff Council, and Supportive Professional Staff Council are excited to co-sponsor a Fall 2015 Leadership Workshop Series. The workshops are open to all NIU faculty, instructors, SPS and Operating Staff who are interested in developing their personal and professional leadership skills. Attendance at all four workshops is encouraged, but not mandatory. Please RSVP by September 4th for each workshop you plan to attend. More details will be sent via email to registered participants.

All workshops will be held from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in the Holmes Student Center Regency Room. Participants may bring their lunch.

Tuesday, September 22
“Leadership: Everyone Should Do It! Developing Yourself as a Leader”
Presented by HR Center for Training & Professional Development

Tuesday, October 20
“Leading Without Authority: Using Influence to Lead Others”
Presented by the Faculty Development & Instructional Design Center

Tuesday, November 17
“Leading in Times of Change”
Presented by HR Center for Training & Professional Development

Wednesday, December 2
“Maintaining Your Leadership Brand”
Presented by the Faculty Development & Instructional Design Center

RSVP by September 4, 2015, to reserve your place in these workshops!

Participate in the ELI Fall Focus Session at NIU

posted in: News | 0

ELI Fall Focus Session

Every year, the Educause Learning Initiative (ELI) hosts Fall and Spring Focus Sessions, which are in-depth online workshops with presentations by leading institutions. The Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center is hosting a local viewing event this year, so that faculty or staff at NIU who are interested may attend.

This year, the Fall Focus session will be held on September 15 and 16, 2015, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., each day, and we will meet in the Holmes Student Center, Blackhawk Annex. You may attend either one or both days. The theme is Leadership for Teaching and Learning: More Choices, More Complexities, New Models. From their flyer: “Today, support for teaching and learning is no longer the province of a single campus organization. Instead, it involves a heterogeneous cohort of campus partners, which can include academic technology, centers for teaching and learning, libraries, and the dean’s and provost’s offices, as well as professional and continuing education.” The presentations will delve more deeply into topics such as:
ELI Fall Focus Session Badge

  • Organizational and governance models that support cohort-based leadership and institutional community building
  • Approaches to support teams in developing and sustaining innovative practices
  • The role of consortia and cross-institutional collaboration to support local initiatives
  • How institutional and cross-institutional data can support teaching and learning initiatives and promote student success

This year, if you participate in the ELI Fall Focus Session, you will be eligible to earn a digital badge! Your digital badge is a highly visible recognition of your contribution and community engagement. Learn more about ELI’s digital badge program.

For more information, including the agenda, or to register for either one day or both days, go to go.niu.edu/fallfocus15

New Blackboard Features Coming in May

Learn more about what's better in BlackboardThis year’s update to Blackboard is smaller than some years, but it still has a big impact on teaching and learning. The update (planned to occur over Memorial Day weekend, May 23-25, 2015) will move NIU to the April 2014 Release of Blackboard. Although there is a more recent release from October 2014, the April 2014 Release is considered to be more stable. Read on to learn about what changes you can expect.

Sample portfolio

Completely Redesigned Portfolio System

The biggest change coming is a completely redesigned and rebuilt portfolio system, although existing portfolios created with the current portfolio tool will continue to be editable and shareable. The new portfolios are easier to create, so students can focus on the most important aspect of portfolios: reflecting on their work. Students can create new artifacts by uploading or linking to files, or they can use artifacts that have been submitted and graded with the Assignment tool as part of their course work. For the latter artifact type, they can also include metadata about the artifact, including the Assignment details, the grade they received, and any feedback their instructor provided.

In addition to the new Portfolio system, the Assignment tool has been updated to include a Portfolio option. This requires that students create and submit a Portfolio to be graded, instead of uploading individual files.

Learn more about the new Portfolio System at http://www.niu.edu/blackboard/upgrade/features.shtml#portfolio

SafeAssignment Integrated with the Assignment Tool

SafeAssign options integrated with the Assignment toolIn the past, Assignment and SafeAssign were distinct and separate features. Now, SafeAssign is integrated with the Assignment feature, making it easy to check student submissions for plagiriarm by clicking a checkbox when creating an Assignment. This means that many of the features of Assignments, which were not available to SafeAssignments, can now be used with plagiarism detection. For example, Group submissions can now be checked for plagiarism, multiple submissions can be enabled, and the submissions can be graded with rubrics.

 

New Student Preview Mode

Student Preview iconPreviously in Blackboard Learn, the Edit Mode On/Off control was the only way to approximate a student view. NIU faculty could request a student ID to view their courses, but that was not a convenient process. The new Student Preview features provides faculty with the ability to easily see the course exactly how a student would see it, including content, Assignments, Tests, Grades, and the Discussion Board. While in Student Preview mode the faculty member can interact with the course as a student, including taking quizzes/tests, submitting assignments, posting to forums, posting to blogs, and more.

Enhanced Anonymous Grading, and New Delegated Grading

Screenshot of reconciling delegated grading
Anonymous Grading provides a more useful, robust option and best practice than has been implemented previously by the “Hide User Names” capability to enable anonymous grading. This functionality meets the needs for high-stakes assessments, when you want to ensure anonymous grading to avoid bias. For Anonymously Graded Attempts, the system information that could identify a student will be replaced with a unique and anonymous identifier that can be used by the graders and instructors to identify a particular attempt for further discussion without discovering the identity of the student. If an Assignment is set to be Anonymous, the student will be informed of this when submitting the assignment, when reviewing the grade with My Grades, and on the Review Submission History page.

Delegated Grading is a new mechanism that facilitates sharing the responsibility for grading among anyone with the Instructor, Teaching Assistant, or Grader role in a given course. It promotes reliability of grading by using two or more grades from separate individuals to determine the final grade. Those teaching large courses can also use the tool to easily assign grading responsibilities to multiple TAs, whether or not multiple graders are used per student.

Significant Figures in Calculated Formula Test Questions

The Calculated Formula question type in Tests creates quantitative problem-solving test questions using a formula and variables. Questions can be dynamically generated, calculated, and scored automatically. Now, Calculated Formula questions can include specific rules for how many significant figures should be in the answer. In addition, the existing support for scientific/exponential notation has improved.

Learn More

Learn more about upcoming features at www.niu.edu/blackboard/upgrade and look for preview and tune-up workshops about the new features starting in April, 2015.

1 2 3 4 5 6 9