Center receives Blackboard Catalyst Award for Leading Change

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Center staff receive catalyst award from Blackboard executives
Peter Gowen and Stephanie Richter accepting the Catalyst Award for Leading Change on behalf of the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center with Tim Atkin and Bill Ballhaus of Blackboard, Inc.

The NIU Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center was recently selected as a recipient of a 2017 Catalyst Award for Leading Change, by Blackboard Inc.

Founded in 2005, the annual Catalyst Awards recognize and honor innovation and excellence in the Blackboard global community.

Winners are selected by a team of Blackboard experts. As one of 22 honorees from across the world, the NIU Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center was recognized during BbWorld 2017, Blackboard’s annual worldwide user conference.

The Catalyst Award for Leading Change recognizes institutions that have developed practices and/or technologies that have had a measurable effect on learning outcomes, student performance or academic progression. This marks the fifth Catalyst Award that the NIU team has received since 2011.

“We are honored to be recognized as leading institution for the work we do to support Blackboard at NIU,” said Jason Rhode, director of the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center. “It is a testament to the hard work of our faculty and staff and a sign of NIU’s commitment to student success.”

Rhode said that this year, his team was recognized due to their involvement in several new Blackboard initiatives and innovations on campus, including the roll-out of an ePortfolio platform.

Stephanie Richter, Assistant Director of the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, said the implementation of the Blackboard EPortfolio tool stands out among her department’s many noted innovations with Blackboard Learn since the university licensed with it in 2002.

Richter said the Blackboard EPortfolio tool has been used in the UNIV 101: University Experience course since the fall 2015 semester. In other cases, it allowed programs that were already using an ePortfolio to migrate from paper-based ePortfolios to an ePortfolio, or from other digital systems, like Google Sites, to the centrally-managed and supported Blackboard EPortfolio.

Since the tool was implemented at NIU, 17 templates have been created for nine different departments or degree programs. In the first year alone, 41 courses used ePortfolio templates, 6,332 ePortfolios were created and 3,447 individuals created at least one ePortfolio. At the end of the second year of implementation, usage had increased to 9,471 ePortfolios created by 5,294 users.

The Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center supported this use by offering 12 hands-on training sessions attended by nearly 200 faculty, instructors, and teaching assistants. The resources they created were also quite popular: the YouTube playlist of video tutorials on building an ePortfolio have been watched over 1,000 times, and the web pages with written instructions have been viewed over 11,000 times.

“While the implementation has been valuable to NIU, it is also earning NIU a positive reputation with other universities,” Richter said, explaining that she and colleagues have presented about the implementation twice at the international Blackboard User’s Conference, and have been approached by 16 other universities to provide advice or guidance on implementing the Blackboard EPortfolio tool.

Story reposted from NIU Today, August 30, 2017

Congratulations to the 2016-2017 Recipients of the Graduate Teaching Certificate!

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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 have attended the full-day TA Orientation and at least five (5) programs of shorter duration offered by Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center. You can learn more about the certificate at facdev.niu.edu/tacert.

In the 2016-2017 academic year, 6 individuals earned the certificate:

  • Beheshteh Abdi, Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment
  • Steven Chun, Department of Geography
  • Villanueva Edel, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures
  • Asa Kultida, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures
  • Ramanpreet Singh, Department of Physics
  • Taneisha Vilma, Department of Psychology

It is easy to apply for the Faculty Development & Instructional Design Center Graduate Teaching Certificate! The application form is available online at facdev.niu.edu/tacertapp. If you have forgotten which workshops you have attended, or how many you have attended, you can review your workshop history 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).

New for 2016-2017, we offered a recommendation on recipients’ LinkedIn Profiles, to validate the recognition. Recipients will also be recognized at the Outstanding Graduate Student Recognition Reception.

Certificates are sent to the teaching assistants’ department to acknowledge their commitment to effective teaching and present the certificates to them. If TAs need a few more workshops to qualify for the certificate, they are encouraged to check the current schedule of TA programs on the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center website.

Center Staff Member Receives Conference Award

Stephanie Richter delivering presentationStephanie Richter, Assistant Director of the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, recently attended the 2014 International Conference on Educational and Informational Technology where she presented the paper Preparing Faculty for Teaching a MOOC: Recommendations from Research and Experience, which she co-authored with Murali Krishnamurthi, Associate Provost for Academic Technologies and Faculty Development.

Being accepted to present was a significant recognition as only 27% of submissions were accepted. In addition, Richter received the Best Presentation award for delivering an exceptional presentation. Only two presenters at the conference received the Best Presentation award.

The paper will be published in the October 2014 volume of the International Journal of Information and Education Technology.

2013 Blackboard Catalyst Awards

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Let's build a better education experience

Have you developed an exemplary Blackboard course or initiative using Blackboard? Submit a nomination for the 2013 Blackboard Catalyst Awards! Deadline for submissions is February 15, 2013.

Blackboard Catalyst Award LogoWith the Blackboard Catalyst Awards, Blackboard honors those who push the boundaries of their educational programs and technology in order to deliver innovative and effective learning experiences. Check out the award categories at blackboard.com/catalyst.

Submitting your program or course to the Catalyst Awards has many benefits, including:

  • Develop a fresh perspective by seeing how other institutions are implementing industry best practices
  • Learn course design best practices to improve the engagement, collaboration, assessment and learner support within your own courses or courses you help develop
  • Gain peer, institution, and industry recognition for your accomplishments and participation in the program

Please take a look at the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Rubric that has been created to help prepare for an Exemplary Course Award submission. More details about the Exemplary Course Award Program are available here.

If you have any questions, please send an email to community@blackboard.com

Call for Nominations for the 2013 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards

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Purpose

The purpose of these awards is to acknowledge and recognize outstanding graduate teaching assistants for their contributions to the teaching mission of Northern Illinois University.

Awards

Each recipient of the award will be presented with a plaque and recognized at the Graduate Student Reception sponsored by the Graduate School at the end of the spring semester. Usually three awards are presented, and at least one of the awards will be presented to an outstanding graduate teaching assistant pursuing a master’s degree at NIU.

Eligibility

To be eligible for this award, each candidate must:

  1. be enrolled as a graduate student in good standing at NIU during the semester the award nominations are due,
  2. have been employed during the past 2 years at NIU as a graduate teaching assistant for one or more semesters, excluding the semester of nomination,
  3. have been responsible for teaching a course fully as the primary instructor of record or teaching-related support (example: leading discussions, grading, tutoring, recitation, etc.) which involved student contact as part of the graduate teaching assistant employment,
  4. have contributed above and beyond the general expectations of the position,
  5. have not previously received this award at NIU.

Nomination Process and Deadline

Each academic or academic support unit that employs graduate TAs for teaching and related activities is invited to nominate two (2) outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistants, one at the master’s level and the other at the doctoral level, from its department/school for the awards. Nominations should be submitted by the head of the academic department/school or designee. Nominators must complete the nomination form for each nominee and email it with any supporting documents by Friday, March 8, 2013 to tadev@niu.edu with the subject line “Nomination for 2013 Outstanding TA Awards”.

Additional Information

For additional information, please check the Frequently Asked Questions section or contact Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center at 815-753-8100 or tadev@niu.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the criteria applied for selecting award recipients?
    The criteria applied for selecting award recipients are the nominees’ eligibility for the award and the information provided in the “Nominee Information” portion of the Nomination Form.
  2. My school/department has several majors/programs and so can we nominate a TA from each major/program?
    No, each school or department can nominate only one TA at the master’s level and one TA at the doctoral level. If there are many outstanding graduate teaching assistants in several programs within the department/school, then you may want to select the best one among them and nominate that individual for that award.
  3. Our unit is not a department or school but is an independent academic program/center. Are our teaching assistants eligible for the award?If your TA is teaching a course or providing teaching-related support for your academic program/ center that is independent of an academic department or school, then you can nominate that TA as a nominee from your program/center for the award.
  4. Can I nominate a TA teaching or providing teaching-related support in my department/school but pursuing a degree in another department/school?Yes, you can nominate that TA as a nominee from your department/school.
  5. How can I find out which TA development programs our TA attended at Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center?If your TA does not remember the TA development programs he or she had attended, you can obtain a list of TA development programs your TA attended at Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center by emailing to tadev@niu.edu at least 2 working days before the nomination deadline.
  6. What makes a nomination stand out and improves the nominee’s chances for being selected for the award?Along with providing information for all the items in the nomination form and clearly indicating that the nominee satisfies the eligibility criteria, the nomination form should provide:
    1. A detailed explanation of nominee’s contributions to teaching above and beyond the general expectations of the TA position, that is, outstanding contributions.
    2. Tangible evidence such as summary of nominee’s student evaluations to support nominee’s outstanding teaching or teaching-related support.
    3. It helps if a nominee has received or has been nominated for departmental/school or college teaching awards and has attended or presented professional development programs to enhance his or her teaching skills.

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