The 2017 Teaching Assistant Orientation Hosted over 225 Participants

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TA orientation people at tables

This year’s Teaching Assistant Orientation, on August 22, 2017, was a full house with over 225 new and returning graduate assistants and presenters. Faculty and staff from across the university presented on supporting students, teaching and teaching with technology, and managing teaching-related tasks. Although this is a general orientation, and many departments have their own specialized orientation for teaching assistants, over 35 different departments were represented at this large event. Graduate teaching assistants from across campus gathered to learn from the presenters, but also to learn from each other. This year, the majority of the participants were pursuing a master’s degree, however approximately 25% were pursuing a doctorate degree.

Each year new graduate teaching assistants are encouraged to attend the orientation by their departments. This year almost 30 GTAs returned to the orientation for a second time, with a broad range of experience levels. Some had only taught one or two semesters, while some had taught over 10. There were a lot of engaging conversations happening around the room.

Initial feedback from the participant survey suggests graduate teaching assistants wanted more! “I wish could attend more than one choice from Breakout Sessions A & B” said one participant and “Each topic should have its own specific program” said another. The good news is the orientation is just the start. Graduate teaching assistants can attend many of the monthly events offered by the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center. In the 2016-2017 academic year over 620 Graduate Teaching Assistant attended the center’s programs. To find out more about TA workshops, look for our monthly calendar of programs. All TAs receive the schedule via their NIU student email.

 

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

posted in: News, Newsletter, Resources | 0

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.

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