OFDIT Newsletter December 2022

December 2022

Dear Faculty,

As you work to wrap up the semester, OFDIT is here with support and resources for you! January is a great time for reflection on pedagogy and for learning new teaching practices. In this month’s newsletter, we feature opportunities for professional development coming up: CUNY Central OAA’s Innovative Pedagogy team is offering their very popular Growth Mindset workshop and we at OFDIT are offering our Open and Active Video workshop. In other news, we share an exciting announcement about Blackboard Ally at SPS. Finally, don’t miss a fabulous video introduction to the resources and faculty support available through OFDIT’s Media Studio! Sit back, press play, and enjoy the tour!

We wish you a wonderful break and all the best in the coming year!

Faculty Professional Development Opportunities

In January 2023, CUNY Central OAA’s Innovative Pedagogy Team will offer a learning mindset course for 100 CUNY faculty from all CUNY schools. This 2-week, 15-hour asynchronous course will be online and run January 12-27, 2023. In this course, designed and led by the University of Virginia’s Motivate Lab, full and part-time faculty are invited to further explore evidence-supported tools and techniques that can help students succeed. The discussion portion of the course will be facilitated by Motivate Lab experts and the CUNY Faculty Mindset Fellows who have been chosen based on their experience with learning mindsets.

If you are interested in participating in the course, submit the following form by the end of Friday, December 16: Motivating Learners Course (MLC): Starting Strong — Mindset Course

Selected participants will be notified by Thursday, December 22. For any questions, email CUNY Central OAA’s Mari Watanabe-Rose and Dominique DiTommaso at CUNYMindset@cuny.edu

Blackboard Ally

We’re excited to announce that starting with courses in the Winter/Spring 2023 semester, Ally for LMS, an accessibility tool, will be available for CUNY SPS courses in Blackboard. Ally will be launched in all course sites on January 3rd, 2023.

Ally provides instructors with guidance on how to correct accessibility issues with digital course content. For students, the tool provides access to alternative content formats for a variety of devices and assistive technologies.

See Blackboard’s Ally support page for more details and links to helpful resources for instructors, or watch the recording of the Ally instructor training from November 2022.

Questions regarding Ally can be directed to

Open and Active Video Workshop   Null

Looking to increase student engagement and lesson effectiveness? Don’t miss the hands-on SPS Open & Active Video Workshop, Monday, January 9 to Monday, January 23, 2023.

This workshop combines the pedagogical why and the practical how to help you generate an interactive video to use in your courses. We start by identifying a course need that can be addressed by the addition of multimedia content presented in an active learning context. Then we’ll train you on how to script, record, and edit your video, adding interactive elements. In the second week, you’ll work independently (with our support) to create the video and accompanying activity.

Thanks to the SPS OER Initiative, eligible faculty participants will be paid for 7 Non-Teaching Adjunct hours upon successful completion of the workshop. To be eligible, faculty must be first-time participants in the workshop, be within their workload restrictions with an additional 7 NTA hours in the semester they complete the workshop, and have approval from their Academic Director.

See the full workshop description including learning objectives and workshop requirements on our Advanced Workshops page.

Registration is open through Wednesday, January 4: https://forms.gle/nBWwT62HLYge3doB8

OFDIT Media Studio

As most of us are teaching online, it may not surprise you to learn that student engagement and satisfaction increase when students feel a sense of connection, or ‘human touch,’ in an online environment. Using instructor-created video has a particular strength in conveying social connections across vast distances. For this reason, at SPS we encourage faculty to add video elements to their courses to build a stronger community of learners. The OFDIT Media Team is here to support you by helping with all aspects of video production, especially time-consuming technical aspects, so that you can focus on creating content and connection.

To learn more, watch our studio orientation to see how we help:

Media Studio









Faculty Corner: Grade Center Tip

The Blackboard Grade Center has several tools that help manage your course grades. In my BUS 325, Principles of MIS course, I use the Grade Center’s color coding feature to get a “birds-eye” view of my assignments and the entire class.  With just a glance at the Grade Center, this feature lets me see if a student needs additional help with a topic, is struggling in the course, or if the class is struggling with a particular assignment. I’ve set up color coding to display high or low scores and the status of a grade. To get started with Color Coding in the Grade Center, I’ve prepared this brief tutorial. – Curtis Izen, Online Business Programs

Faculty corner image

Call for Faculty Corner Submissions

If you have a useful or interesting pedagogical or technical tip (in 200 words or less!) that you are excited about, we would love to hear from you and add your submission to our next Faculty Newsletter. Please use our Faculty Corner Submission Form to submit your pitch. Your submission can be in text or video format – whatever you prefer!





Faculty Support Drop-In Hour

Need live faculty support? Stop by during our Faculty Support Drop-In Hour every Tuesday 3-4pm to speak to an OFDIT team member who can help.

You can access the drop-in hour session via the Zoom link.


As always, OFDIT is here to help with any questions you may have. We are available for one-on-one support and would be happy to schedule a Zoom call to discuss any questions you may have. You can contact us at facultysupport@sps.cuny.edu.

All the best,

Your OFDIT Team