Universal Design for Learning **New 3-Part Online Series**

MP90043953621st Century college students bring a diverse set of preferences, skills and expectations to the classroom. Engaging and motivating students in the dynamic age in which we live can be a challenge. The Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center is pleased to announce a series of 3 new online workshops on the topic of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). To address the diverse needs and preferences of students in 21st century classrooms, we will explore how UDL concepts can be applied in both traditional and online courses.

During the first online session hosted on February 23, 2016, an overview of Universal Design for Learning was discussed. The three areas of Universal Design for Learning: Multiple Means of Engagement, Multiple Means of Representation and Multiple Means of Action/Expression, were introduced to provide the foundation for the series of workshops. Additionally, the first workshop provided a more in depth focus on Multiple Means of Engagement. Participants from a wide range of disciplines and departments shared many different perspectives as well as tips and strategies for incorporating UDL principles in courses they are designing and teaching. We enjoyed collaborating with NIU participants and colleagues from other institutions in this online workshop. View the workshop recording below.

The series of workshops will be fully online to allow participants to connect from the comfort of their home, office or other location using an Internet connection. The newly released Blackboard Collaborate Ultra platform will be used to conduct all of the online workshops.

All of the workshops will be held from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. CST. The second workshop Universal Design for Learning: Multiple Means of Representation will be hosted on March 24th. NIU faculty, teaching assistants, and staff can register here. Those who are interested from other institutions can register here. The final workshop Universal Design for Learning: Multiple Means of Action/Expression will be scheduled for April 2016. We look forward to engaging with you during the series of workshops.

Free Online Workshop on “Quality Online Courses: Getting Students Started”

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Woman with laptop
Source: Pixabay CCO Public Domain

Northern Illinois University’s Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center is opening its virtual doors with an online workshop entitled “Quality Online Course Series: Getting Students Started“, offered on December 14, 2015, from 12 – 1:00 pm CT. This one hour, fully online session is part of a series of workshops focused on quality online course design and best practices in online teaching and learning. The series has been well received by the NIU community, but now we’d like to invite more of our colleagues in higher education.  There is no charge for participating in this workshop, but you will need to register in advance.

As you prepare your online course for next semester, or even next year, you might be wondering how to set the right tone and support student success by helping them to 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 beginning to build community.

Learn more and register.

Blackboard Open Labs, August 24-28

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Blackboard Open LabEvery day next week, from 11am-1pm, August 24 – 28, 2015, the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center will host a Blackboard Open Lab. This is an excellent opportunity for NIU faculty, staff, and TAs to ask specific questions about how to set up their courses in Blackboard. Whether you want to know how to communicative effectively with students to increase retention, add videos that stream flawlessly, set up your weighted grading formula in the Grade Center, or establish Groups to simplify collaboration, the staff from Faculty Development will be on hand to answer your questions individually.

The Open Lab is available Monday, August 24 through Friday, August 28, from 11 am to 1 pm every day in Adams Hall, Room 323. Feel free to drop in – no registration required! Unfortunately, we cannot provide a general overview of Blackboard at this session, but we will be happy to answer specific questions about using Blackboard.

If you can’t attend an Open Lab session, please complete the Ask a Question form at http://facdev.niu.edu/bbq, and one of our staff will respond within 2 working days (though we strive to respond the same day).

Four Great Sessions for the Upcoming Spring 2015 Teaching Effectiveness Institute

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january calendar with 8 and 9 circledPlans are underway for the Spring 2015 Teaching Effectiveness Institute.

You are invited to attend the two-day Spring 2015 Teaching Effectiveness Institute which will be held on Thursday, January 8 and Friday, January 9, 2015.

Day one of the institute will be offered completely online by Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center staff and invited faculty who will share some of the high-impact practices they have implemented in their courses. From the comfort of your home, office, or other location, you can attend either or both of the workshops: High-Impact Practices: Fostering Student Engagement, Success, and Retention, 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and Portfolios for Student Career Success, 12:30-4:00 p.m.

On the second day of the institute, Dr. Laurie Richlin, Professor and Chair of the Department of Medical Education at Western Michigan University, comes to NIU to present two workshops: Getting Credit for What You Do: Designing an Evidence-Based Course, 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and Getting Credit for What You Do: Creating the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 12:30-4:00 p.m., both offered on Friday, January 9 in the Sky Room of Holmes Student Center.

Both days of the institute are for NIU faculty, instructors, and SPS & civil service staff. Learn more and register for each of the four sessions of the Spring 2015 Teaching Effectiveness Institute by clicking on the title of the session or by going to the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center website: www.niu.edu/facdev

2014 Teaching Assistant Orientation – A Great Day of Learning

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Over 200 graduate teaching assistants and presenters gathered in the Duke Ellington Ballroom on the morning of August 19, 2014 for a full day of learning and preparing for their role as teaching assistants. The annual Teaching Assistant Orientation provides an opportunity for new and returning teaching assistants to learn more about teaching and supporting students while networking with their fellow TAs. In the welcome, Dr. Bradley Bond, Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate School, summed up the value of graduate teaching assistants by saying, “All of your contributions are important to NIU’s teaching mission and can have a profound impact on our students.”

Matt Streb speaking
Dr. Matthew Streb, Associate Profesor and Chair of the Department of Political Science, providing the keynote for the 2014 Teaching Assistant Orientation

The Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center coordinated with not only the Graduate School to facilitate this event, but many other departments and support units to provide a valuable experience for new graduate teaching assistants. The annual event is always well attended and attendees consistently agree or strongly agree that this event will potentially benefit their students. If you weren’t able to attend, you can access any of the handouts and resources here.

three experienced teaching assistants on a panel
Teaching Across the Disciplines – Experienced TA panelists share valuable lessons learned

One of the highlights of the orientation each year is the Teaching Across the Disciplines panel of experienced teaching assistants. This year was no exception, and the five members of the panel shared helpful tips and strategies for being a teaching assistant. On the evaluation, one participant commented, “I really enjoyed the orientation, especially the panel discussion with current TAs. I was not required to come to the orientation by my department, but I am glad I did!”

Dr. David Changnon presenting
Providing Teaching-Related Support breakout session, presented by Dr. David Changnon, Department of Geography

The Teaching Assistant Orientation is offered, each year, to new teaching assistants to begin to develop their skills as TAs, along with introducing them to university resources that will support their work. The general session was followed by 5 breakout sessions in which participants were able to select which to attend. The breakout sessions included Providing Teaching-Related Support, by Dr. David Changnon, Using Grading Strategies to Promote Student Learning, by Dr. Stephen Wallace, Presenting / Communicating Effectively, by Dr. Joseph Scudder, and Teaching Strategies for Engaging Student, by Dr. Jenny Parker. Finally, for experienced TAs who attended the orientation, Dr. Janet Giesen offered Finding Your Teaching Style.


Thank you to all of our presenters and collaborators for their commitment to providing inspiration and direction to the graduate teaching assistants.

Matthew Streb (Department of Political Science) Sarah Klaper (Office of Ombudsperson)
Tim Paquette (Counseling and Student Development Center) Leanne VandeCreek and Larissa Garcia (University Libraries)
Jennifer Pippen (Disability Resource Center) Jason Rhode (Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center)
Brian Glick (Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct) Tyler Mitchell (Department of Mathematical Sciences)
AnDrea James (School of Music) Steven Battaglia (Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences)
Rayanne Nguyen (School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences) Jeff Paris (Department of Kinesiology & Physical Education)
David Changnon (Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences) Stephen Wallace (Assessment Services)
Joseph Scudder (Department of Communication) Jenny Parker (Educator Licensure and Preparation)
Janet Giesen (Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center)


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