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October 2020

The fall semester is in full swing and we hope your classes are doing well! This newsletter by the Office of Faculty Development and Instructional Design (OFDIT) contains updates on tools and resources from individual teams within OFDIT, and information on professional development events to assist with your online teaching needs.

Follow-Up from Faculty Discussion on Trauma-Informed Pedagogy

Thank you to all who attended the Faculty Discussion on October 2, on Trauma-Informed Pedagogy. Here are the slides and the document we worked in, which includes links to all materials and a page of Mental Health and Wellness resources for students, staff and faculty.

Trauma-Informed Pedagogy may be new to many of us, but its concepts and the pedagogical approaches it supports will surely be relevant going forward. Just like Universal Design for Learning supports all learners, Trauma-Informed Pedagogy is sound practice in general. If you are interested in joining or continuing the discussion of how to incorporate TIP in your courses, we have a Slack channel for faculty discussion that you are invited to join. First, join our SPS Faculty Slack Workspace, then click on Add Channel on the left menu, and join #faculty-discussion-meetup.

Designing Mobile-Friendly Course Sites

Many of our students access their courses via the Blackboard Mobile app on tablets or mobile devices — will your online courses display as well on these interfaces? For example, did you know that any content (text or images)  that is placed outside of a weekly folder or module is not visible when viewed through the mobile applications? See the screenshots below. To avoid loss of information, we suggest adding this content to the inside of the weekly folder or module instead. We’ll share more helpful tips for designing mobile-friendly courses during our upcoming Blackboard Mobile training sessions, where we’ll also review the two different BB apps for students and instructors. Please join us!

Screenshot of Blackboard on desktop and Blackboard on mobile

Or check out our Blackboard Mobile Apps page on our website.

Captioning for educational videos

This may not be a big surprise to the SPS community, but captioning a video benefits everyone. Multiple studies have documented improvements in “comprehension of, attention to, and memory for the video” with captions (NIH Policy Insight, 2015). At SPS, in our online course development, we design to be accessible to all.  To that end, SPS has contracted a professional captioning service, 3Play Media, to caption video content used in academic courses.  Faculty can request captions through OFDIT by completing a brief form.

No matter the location of the video (YouTube, Ensemble, Dropbox, etc.) you may submit your academic video used in SPS courses for professional captioning. You may also submit dual language videos (Spanish/English) for captioning.  Feel free to bookmark this link for your future captioning requests.

Caption Request form 

Links/Reference:

Gernsbacher M. A. (2015). Video Captions Benefit Everyone. Policy insights from the behavioral and brain sciences, 2(1), 195–202.

3Play Media

Presentations at CUNY CUE Conference/OER Showcase 2020

 Three of our SPS faculty, together with OFDIT colleagues, will be presenting “Working with Faculty Working with OER” at the CUNY CUE Conference/OER Showcase 2020 on Thursday 10/29 from 1-2 PM ET: Faime Moussavi (Business), Andrew Palladino (Communication & Media), Jeanneth Sangurima-Quiles (Gen Ed), Sarah Kresh and Ruru Rusmin (both OFDIT).

In addition, Angela Francis and Hannah Miller from GenEd will be presenting “Beyond Savings: ZTC Implementation in the General Education Program” on Friday 10/30 from 1-2PM ET.

For more information and to register for this free conference, please visit the conference registration site.


Thank you for reading! As always, please contact us at facultysupport@sps.cuny.edu with any questions or support requests. To find registrations links and more information on any of the above please visit our SPS Faculty Community Site.

See you at one of our upcoming events, or for our next newsletter in November!

Your OFDIT Team