Blackboard Tool Spotlight: Date Management, for efficiently updating Availability and Due Dates

With so many features in Blackboard, it can be easy to miss that one tool which could save you hours of work. If you’ve ever used the Course Copy tool to move materials from one semester’s course to the next, you may want to try Date Management. Located under Course Tools in the Control Panel, the Date Management tool can create a list of all content and assessments in your course which have Availability dates or Due Dates associated with them. From that one list, you can quickly and efficiently change all of those dates, instead of having to click through all of your content folders to find everything.

reviewing and updating dates using the date management tool

The Date Management tool can also be used to adjust all Availability and Due Dates at once, by specifying a new course starting date, or the number of days by which to offset the original dates. This can save even more time, as you will not need to change the individual dates. After the adjustment is made, however, you can still use the list of all of the dates to manually adjust any that need further modification.

automatically adjusting all availability and due dates in a course, using the date management tool
Have you ever tried the Date Management tool? Let us know in the comments!

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.

2016-2017 Annual Report Now Available

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The Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center is pleased to announce the completion of our annual report for the 2016-17 academic year. This latest report is available at go.niu.edu/facdevreport16-17. Below are a few highlights.

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

Activities at a Glance

Feel free to explore and learn more about our activities and accomplishments from the past year.

Sincerely,

Jason Rhode, Ph.D.
Director

Updated Academic Integrity Online Tutorials Available

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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.

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

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