During 2016-2017, the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center contributed to the university’s mission …to promote excellence and engagement in teaching and learning, research and scholarship, creativity and artistry, and outreach and service by collaborating with various academic and support units to meet the ongoing and emerging needs of NIU faculty, staff, administrators, and graduate teaching assistants in their teaching, technology integration, professional development, and related needs. This was the eighteenth full academic year of operation for the center since we were reorganized in August 1998. Some of our significant accomplishments this year include:
Offering 176 programs for 1,807 participants, which totaled 4,725 hours of professional development
Conducting 1,569 consultations with 590 unique faculty, instructors, staff, and graduate teaching assistants from 92 academic and support units
Serving on 22 committees, councils, and organizations within NIU and the broader Faculty Development community
Recognized 4 recipients of Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award, issued 10 Graduate Teaching Certificates, and was honored with 9 individual and department recognitions
Online tutorials on academic integrity, previously developed in 2005 and made available in part through the “Project for Improvement of Undergraduate Education” grant by the NIU Committee for the Improvement of Undergraduate Education, have been updated and have been re-released at go.niu.edu/academic-integrity
The purpose of these tutorials is to promote academic integrity at Northern Illinois University by increasing students’ awareness of the issues, offering strategies for students to protect themselves from academic dishonesty situations, and increasing faculty’s awareness of the issues and offering them strategies to address academic dishonesty incidents effectively. These tutorials are intended for self-paced learning by students and faculty and can be used as an educational resource to supplement classroom discussions on academic integrity. Over the past 12 months, the academic integrity tutorials have been view by more than 10,000 users and average over 1,300 hits each month.
Both a student tutorial and faculty tutorial are available. The tutorials are available to the public and can be accessed without any required login or password.
Faculty can use the tutorial as part of their classroom discussions on academic integrity and encourage students to review the content and complete the activities as part of a course activity. Students who complete the student tutorial successfully can print a certificate of completion which can by submitted as verification of their completion.
Special thanks to the staff of Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center for updating the tutorials and migrating them to NIU’s latest web templates.
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.
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.
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!
As 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.