Fall Teaching Effectiveness Institute Energizes Faculty for 2017-2018 Academic Year

Ritu Subramony, Director, Accreditation, Assessment and Evaluation
Ritu Subramony, Director of Accreditation, Assessment, and Evaluation

Energy was high at the Fall 2017 Teaching Effectiveness Institute held a week before students arrived on campus. Over 40 faculty and instructors from 21 departments across campus attended Day One, Fundamental Principles of Effective Instruction. Twelve speakers representing a variety of NIU departments and offices shared insights and strategies on topics ranging from Energizing the Classroom Experience, Managing Academic Integrity, Addressing Cultural Sensitivity in the Classroom, Getting Support from the University Libraries and Assessing Student Learning. Comments from participants indicated that they gained insights on the importance of making use of the many resources available for NIU faculty and students, as well as “energizing the classroom with varied activities” and “showing students your passion and humanity.”

The second day of the Institute, Team-Based Learning: A Transformative Strategy for Your Courses, featured David Matthes from the Department of Biology Teaching and Learning and the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

David Matthes, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
David Matthes, Professor at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

David explained techniques for harnessing the power of highly effective teams of students for broader, deeper, and longer-lasting learning gains. Sessions addressed the Readiness Assurance Process for Team-Based Learning (TBL), Stacking the Odds for the Success of Teams, Gathering Evidence of Engagement, Efficacy, and Transformation as well as other TBL concepts.

Forty-five participants from 23 different NIU departments attended Day Two of the institute. Feedback from faculty and staff indicated that the discussions related to developing a team-based syllabus, using pre and post-tests to measure learning and increasing student engagement through TBL techniques helped to extend their knowledge of pedagogy and instructional design to support students’ learning.

To continue our efforts to reduce printing and to support NIU’s sustainability initiatives, the session resources and presentations for both institute days are available on their respective web pages. The presentations and resources can be reviewed and downloaded.

To share ideas for new Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center Institute topics or if you would be interested in presenting at one of our Institutes, please contact Yvonne Johnson, Multimodal Teaching Coordinator at yjohnson@niu.edu, 815-753-2690 or Janet Giesen, Instructional Design Coordinator at giesen@niu.edu, 815-753-1085.

Spring Workshops Inspire Writing and Publishing on Campus

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brad peters work with faculty during a workshopEngaged learning was evident in two workshops conducted by Dr. Brad Peters, professor in the NIU Department of English and Coordinator of Writing Across the Curriculum, Rhetoric and Composition. On May 23, 2017, faculty learned techniques for Designing a Writing-Infused Course in the Major or General Education. Faculty from 11 different departments shared experiences and collaborated while exploring topics including helping students become better readers, giving feedback that improves content and grammatical correctness, as well as effective use of rubrics and writing technologies.

Comments from participants indicated that valuable information related to scaffolding the writing process, providing effective feedback to students, using informal writing activities, and thinking visually as well as textually were gained throughout the day long workshop. Participants appreciated the practical approach and strategies shared by Dr. Peters that could be immediately applied in the classroom.

A few quotations from participants summed up the workshops:

“Fantastic workshop!”

“Thank you for such an engaging Faculty Development workshop.”

“It is a joy to learn from Dr. Brad Peters!”

The Write Well, Publish More! workshop held on May 25, 2017, also received excellent reviews. Faculty from 10 different departments attended the workshop that focused on improving the writing process, budgeting time, power planning and drafting, forming writing circles, systematizing revising, and letting go. Dr. Peters encouraged participants to expand their perspectives of the writing process to incorporate new techniques and tools discussed during the workshop. Participants thanked Dr. Peters for sharing strategies for overcoming obstacles and writer’s block, explaining steps in the publishing process, and sharing checklists for structuring the review process.

Participants shared their thanks by commenting:

“Brad makes every training valuable and engaging.”

“His insights are SO helpful.”

“I enjoyed working with new colleagues on writing. Learning excellent, practical ways to improve writing.”

The Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center hosts a Writing Circle each semester to support faculty who are working on scholarly publications. For more information on joining the Writing Circle, contact Yvonne Johnson, yjohnson@niu.edu or Janet Giesen, giesen@niu.edu or contact the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center at 815-753-0595.

This Summer’s Line-up of Free Online Workshops – Registration Open to the Public

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Altgeld - NIU

This summer the Northern Illinois University’s Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center is offering 7 online workshops. These one hour, fully online sessions are now open to the public. We’d like to invite our colleagues in higher education to join our workshops and expand our conversations around these topics. There is no charge for participating in these workshops, but you will need to register.

Summer Workshops – May through August

Advanced Registration is required for all workshops. Click on the workshop title to register, then if you are not affiliated with NIU, click the Non-NIU Registration button.

Quality Online Course Series: Getting Students Started

May 19, 2017
12-1 pm CST

Getting Started . . . at Last? Now that you have designed a high quality online course based on the other standards, you are ready to introduce it to your students. Set the right tone and support student success by helping them get started with a welcome, a course tour, or a navigation guide. In this workshop you will explore best practices for introducing your course structure to your students and building community.

Quality Online Teaching Series: Best Practices for Delivering an Online Course

May 24, 2017
12-1 pm CST

Teaching an online course is not so different from teaching a face-to-face course. You still need to communicate with your students, grade student work, and support their learning. There are some differences, though, and research has shown that following some best practices can increase student success. In this online workshop, find out how to best support your students in the online environment. In this online workshop, you will discover practical strategies you can implement in your own online courses.

Creating Authentic Experiences for Your Online Course

June 14, 2017
12-1 pm CST

When designing an online course, remember everything doesn’t have to happen online or in isolation of the world around us. You can create authentic experiences for your online students, such as field experiences, real-world activities, and genuine, skill building tasks. In this online workshop we will explore ways to craft authentic experiences and assessments for our online students. Plus, we will look at how these experiences align with your course learning objectives.

**NEW** Enhancing Your Online Course with Images and Icons

July 13, 2017
12-1 pm CST

Sometimes a picture says a thousand words. You can enhance your course by adding images, icons, and other media into the online learning environment. Although images are plentiful online you still must consider the copyright of items you choose, even for educational purposes. In this workshop you will learn about helpful repositories that are free for you to use and how to find, evaluate, and incorporate visuals into your online course.

Free Software Tools for the Classroom

July 18, 2017
12-1 pm CST

Many of the software tools that are the most useful in the classroom are unfortunately also some of the most expensive software tools. Often, budgets require that software is limited to a few users or a few locations, which prevents faculty and instructors from utilizing the technology with their students. It even prevents students from learning from these valuable tools. Don’t let licensing fees hold you back! There are free versions of many of the expensive software tools, if you know where to look. This online session will introduce free versions of some of the most common software programs and share ideas for using them in the classroom.

Developing a Course Syllabus

July 26, 2017
12-1 pm CST

The course syllabus is an essential component of your course and should be thorough, precise, and clear. Since the syllabus is often one of the first means of communication between you and your students, it should set the tone for the entire semester. The ultimate goal of a well-designed syllabus, therefore, is to inform students about what is expected of them throughout the semester by outlining content, policies, and due dates. In essence, the syllabus acts as a road map to help students navigate the course. In this workshop, we will discuss key elements of a course syllabus, possibilities for design layout, and provide a checklist to help you create a well-organized and complete course syllabus.

Ensuring Quality in Your Online Course

August 29, 2017
12-1 pm CST

How do you know if your online course is good?  More importantly, how do you make it better? In this workshop, you will learn about why quality is important and how to create more student-centered online courses by using the Quality Matters rubric (a nationally-recognized benchmark for online course design based on research-supported best practices). After the workshop, you will be prepared to develop or improve an online course that is designed to promote student learning.

 

You can find out about free online faculty development workshops offered online by the Northern Illinois University Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center by subscribing to email notifications or following us on Facebook and Twitter.

Spring 2017 Teaching Effectiveness Institute Featured Tips for Energizing the College Classroom

posted in: Newsletter, Teaching | 0
Sarah Cavanagh
Sarah Cavanagh, Assumption College

Energy was high for the NIU faculty and staff who participated in the Spring 2017 Teaching Effectiveness Institute, The Spark of Learning: Energizing the College Classroom with the Science of Emotions. The event featured Sarah Cavanagh from the Laboratory for Cognitive and Affective Science at Assumption College, and author of the recent book The Spark of Learning: Energizing the College Classroom with the Science of Emotion. Dr. Cavanagh explained her research in Cognitive Psychology as well as connections between emotions and learning. She also explained techniques for stimulating curiosity, strategies for low-stakes assessments, and methods for incorporating choice of assignments in the syllabus. Sarah guided participants through a variety of engaged learning activities that provided opportunities to apply Cognitive Psychology concepts to teaching and learning in the college classroom. Workshop participants actively engaged throughout the day-long event while carefully considering the impact of emotions on the teaching and learning processes.

NIU faculty and instructors from 23 colleges and departments across campus attended the engaging, day-long event. Participants were excited to learn techniques that could be applied immediately in their courses.

Plans are underway for the Fall 2017 Teaching Effectiveness Institute scheduled for Friday, August 18th. The event will feature David Matthes of the University of Minnesota and will focus on team-based learning.

To share ideas for new Institute topics or if you would be interested in presenting at one of our Institutes, please contact Yvonne Johnson, Multimodal Teaching Coordinator at yjohnson@niu.edu, 815-753-2690 or Janet Giesen, Instructional Design Coordinator at giesen@niu.edu, 815-753-1085. We look forward to hearing from you!

Tips to Engage Critical Thinkers & Writers – Transform Your Course Now!

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workshop_series_for_success

The Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center is pleased to share a series of workshops designed to provide faculty, teaching assistants, and instructional staff tips to effectively engage students in critical thinking and writing assignments in their courses. The workshops include hands-on activities and strategies you can immediately apply in your course. Tips focus on providing effective feedback to students, managing the workload, avoiding plagiarism and more. Participants will learn and practice ways to engage students in the learning process. You may select individual workshops that meet your needs or attend all 5 in the series.

The workshops were first offered during the fall 2016 semester. Feedback from participants overwhelmingly indicated that the sessions will benefit both instructors and students.

Comments include:

I learned –

  • the value of using papers to motivate students
  • prioritizing feedback is key for both instructors and students
  • strategies for managing instructor workload by identifying trends in writing and commenting on trends rather than in-line editing
  • ways to add components to the classroom environment to require direct engagement
  • possible responses to plagiarism

Dr. Brad Peters from the Department of English will lead each workshop.

The Engage Students workshop series is sponsored by Writing Across the Curriculum and the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center. Register Here

To share ideas for new workshop topics or if you would be interested in presenting at one of our Institutes, please contact Yvonne Johnson, Multimodal Teaching Coordinator at yjohnson@niu.edu, 815-753-2690 or Janet Giesen, Instructional Design Coordinator at giesen@niu.edu, 815-753-1085. We look forward to hearing from you!

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