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OFDIT Newsletter May 2021

The below newsletter was originally sent out in May 2021 and was not posted to the blog at that time.

OFDIT newsletter banner

May 2021

Dear CUNY SPS Faculty,
We want to thank everyone who attended our Faculty Development Day and made it such a success. In particular, we would like to thank all our speakers for their thoughtful, engaging, and fun presentations! Please feel free to check out the recordings which are now available on the Faculty Development Day page, as well as the vision board created collaboratively over the two days of the event. We encourage you to provide feedback and comments about our latest Faculty Development Day in our survey. Thank you!
In this month’s newsletter, we share information about calculating final grades, details about Blackboard Academy’s Instructor Webinar series, VoiceThread’s new assignments feature, and the CUNY Central OAA’s Innovative Pedagogy Team’s Mindset mini course. We also provide information on the new Food Access Initiative at CUNY SPS and our last training sessions of the semester. Last but not least, please check out OFDIT’s summer reading recommendations!

Final Grades using Blackboard’s Grade Center

As the Spring semester draws to a close, we wanted to share some helpful information about calculating the final grades for your classes. Blackboard allows you to use Total Points or Weighted Total to calculate your final grades.
The Total Points column is created by default in Blackboard. The Total points column will calculate final grades by simply adding up all the points a student earned and dividing it by the total points possible  (if you have selected “Calculate as Running Total”).
The Weighted Total column calculates a final grade based on the respective percentages assigned to categories or individual columns. The final grade is calculated independently of the points assigned to each graded item. It is important to note that the Weighted Total column is created by default in Blackboard, but it is empty unless you set it up.
Please keep in mind that you can change the format in which grades are displayed in both the Total and Weighted Total columns. When you change the Primary Display, this is the format that appears in the Grade Center and My Grades area for students. When you change the Secondary Display, this is only visible to you as the instructor in the Grade Center. Students do not see a secondary display. We recommend changing your Secondary Display to either SPS Undergrad Letter or SPS Grad Letter, whichever is appropriate, as this converts the final grade into the appropriate letter grade which you’ll have to enter into CunyFirst.
Please visit our Quick Guides for further Grade Center help, or contact us for any questions!

Blackboard Academy’s Instructor Webinars

Blackboard Academy has designed webinars on topics such as Collaborate Ultra, the Grade Center, Building Mobile Content, Using Groups, and much more. For further details, please visit Blackboard’s Instructor Webinar Series page.
Please note that we use Blackboard Learn Original at CUNY SPS, so Blackboard Ultra sessions would not be applicable to our faculty.

A New VoiceThread Interface Coming Soon!

VoiceThread (VT) has a major update to the assignment feature coming June 2021. The update includes a major overhaul and redesign of the assignment experience for both students and instructors. They have added new features, tightened the integration with Blackboard, and streamlined workflows to better guide everyone through the process.
Starting June 30, 2021, all courses at SPS will be upgraded to the new assignment. More information can be found on SPS Faculty Commons VT Page.
The New Voicethread Assignment Workshop
Join a live training session on how to begin using the new features with your students. In the sessions below, we will review all of the workflows, new features, and options for VoiceThread assessments. The workshops are led by VT instructional designer and online educator George Haines. George will share his expertise to help you get the most from VoiceThread.
For other workshops titles visit the VT Workshop page.

Mindset Mini-Course

CUNY Central OAA’s Innovative Pedagogy Team will be offering a 3-hour mindset mini course which will provide an introduction to the Mindset GPS (Growth mindset, Purpose & Relevance & Sense of Belonging) model originally developed by the Motivate Lab at The University of Virginia. The course will be asynchronous; however there is a live kick-off meeting on Friday, June 11th, from 11am-12pm.
For further information, please visit this mini course flyer. If you are interested in applying, please complete the application form by Friday, May 14.

CUNY SPS Food Access Initiative

The CUNY School of Professional Studies’ Food Access Initiative aims to provide support to eligible students experiencing food insecurity. Students can submit a registration form every 30 days for a food assistance micro-grant of $50 which can be used to purchase groceries. We encourage you to share this information with your students. For additional information and eligibility requirements, please visit the Food Access Initiative website.


Spring 2021 Trainings

Grade Center in Blackboard: Beyond the Basics
We will cover how to manage your Grade Center including helpful tools such as color coding, the column organization view, and Smart Views. We will also cover useful tips and tricks which can increase the efficiency and ease of use of your Grade Center.

OFDIT Corner

OFDIT Corner

Summer Reading List

With the summer weather shortly upon us, may we suggest these summer reads to enjoy while at the beach or relaxing in your hammock?
Michelle is currently reading “UDL in the Cloud: How to Design and Deliver Online Education Using Universal Design for Learning” by Katie Novak and Tom Thibodeau. The book introduces the Universal Design for Learning guidelines and provides practical tips on how a UDL approach can be incorporated into online classes. Some of the topics covered in the book include creating a UDL syllabus, cultivating instructor presence, and time management.
UDL in the cloud book title
Antonia recommends Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education by Thomas Tobin and Kirsten Behling for your summer reading list. The book is a great resource for how UDL can be a useful framework for enhancing access and engagement for all students, including those with disabilities. It includes real-world case studies, active-learning techniques, UDL-adoption guidance, and use-them-now resources.
Perk: Save 25% off the paperback list price on the WVU site by entering code “REACHTEACH”!

Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone book title


Finally, we would like to say a heartfelt congratulations on bringing another successful semester to a close in this extraordinary time. It’s been quite a year together, and we look forward to seeing you back in summer or fall!
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

OFDIT Newsletter April 2021

The below newsletter was originally sent out in April 2021 and was not posted to the blog at that time.

April 2021 newsletter banner

 

April 2021

Dear CUNY SPS Faculty,
Spring is here and so is our annual Faculty Development Day– please join us this Thursday and Friday, April 22-23!
In this month’s newsletter, we announce the program and registration information for Faculty Development Day 2021: Looking Back, Moving Forward. We also reveal the new look of our Faculty Community Site, and highlight a unique idea involving Ensemble shared by Curtis Izen. Lastly, we invite you to join our Grade Center training sessions taking place at the end of May.

Faculty Development Day 2021: Looking Back, Moving Forward (Thursday, April 22 and Friday, April 23)

The theme of Faculty Development Day this year is synthesis and renewal–moving out of crisis and into a renewed commitment to our students, our research and writing, and our school’s mission. On Thursday, April 22nd, SPS faculty will share – a teaching practice, technology tip, scholarly accomplishment, or other positive experience from the past unprecedented year. On Friday, April 23rd, speakers from Kean University and BMCC will present about the world of gamification and how elements of play can be incorporated into online classrooms. Both sessions will be hands-on and lots of fun!
In addition to the live sessions, and after such an extraordinary year, we invite you to share your experiences and reflections on a Vision Board in Padlet. Please post thoughts, images, or links that reflect some of your experiences from the last year, and/or what you are looking forward to in the year ahead. To add a new post, click the + button in the lower right, or simply double-click the screen. Feel free to post more than once, and to interact with your colleagues. We are looking forward to creating a collective vision for 2021-2022 with you!

Faculty Development Day Program:
Thursday, April 22, 2021, 2pm-5pm
  • Decolonizing Curriculum through Empathy and Representation, Niberca Polo
  • Inclusion of LGBTQ+ Health Disparities Across Courseworks at CUNY SPS, Jan Oosting Kaminsky
  • Ensemble Video: A novel way for faculty and students to use multimedia content within their course, Curtis Izen
  • Giving Video Feedback on Blackboard, Sarah Ruth Jacobs
  • Using Active Learning Techniques with Adult Learners in Online Courses, Vicki Caruana
  • Inheritance Problems: Considerations when Adopting a Course, Dino Sossi
  • Reimagining ‘data-driven’ through professional development: Unlocking social learning in online environments, Bradley Gardner
Friday, April 23, 2021, 12pm-3pm
  • How to Create an Academic Escape Room, Vanessa Leonardo, Kean University
  • What’s Your Game Plan? Designing for a Creative Classroom, Joe Bisz, Borough of Manhattan Community College
All in the SPS community are welcome! Please view program details and registration info here.

Disability Awareness Month

As many of you may know, April is Disability Awareness Month. In order to honor Disability Culture, the Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, in partnership across CUNY campuses, has organized many free virtual events for CUNY faculty and staff. For the full list of events, please visit the CUNY Disability Awareness Month Events page.


Our Faculty Community Site’s New Look

SPS faculty community site (1)

 

 

The SPS Faculty Community Site has a fresh new look! Leveraging the power of CUNY’s Academic Commons, the Community Site has a long history serving as a resource for CUNY SPS faculty. You can still find information relating to upcoming training and workshops, resources for accessibility and Universal Design for Learning (UDL), as well as quick guides and tutorials. But we’ve integrated some new features. There is a public calendar with a connection to our live training registrations, we’ve revamped the home page to include a grid of the most helpful resources and updated content throughout the site. OFDIT has further plans to update and revise the Site, so please check back regularly.


Faculty Corner

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Using Ensemble for Course Videos
Curtis Izen, who teaches BUS 325: Principles of Management Information Systems, shares this tip for organizing videos within his online course using the Ensemble Video Platform. He writes: “In each of my weekly BlackBoard folders, I include multimedia to provide my students multiple means of engagement. Screencasts that I create or YouTube videos are inside the folder that accompanies that week’s topic. I enrolled in a workshop hosted by Matthew Lewis, Instructional Design and Multimedia Manager, on Ensemble; in essence, an “educational YouTube for SPS.” Rather than putting the media in different locations within BlackBoard, I can now host them in Ensemble. Not only does this create a “one-stop-shop” for all media, but I can arrange them by playlist, sort them, perform trim and cut, give in-video quizzes, have ads removed and, upon request, have 3PlayMedia provide professional closed captions. Students can now find any of the entire course videos in one location (including a search feature) rather than sort through weekly folders trying to locate them. As an instructor, this allows me the flexibility to update video content seamlessly from one location. Students can access my video library from my BlackBoard menu and via a Course Link in each folder, providing them direct access.”
Screenshot of the course video gallery in Ensemble in Prof. Izen’s Spring 2021 Principles of Management Information Systems course.

Ensemble course videos

Please note that Curtis Izen and OFDIT’s Matt Lewis will be presenting about this faculty tip during Faculty Development Day.
If you have a useful or interesting pedagogical tip (in 200 words or less!) that has worked well in your online classes, we would love to hear from you! Please use our Faculty Corner Submission Form to submit your pitch.

Spring 2021 Trainings

Grade Center in Blackboard: Beyond the Basics
We will cover how to manage your Grade Center including helpful tools such as color coding, the column organization view, and Smart Views. We will also cover useful tips and tricks which can increase the efficiency and ease of use of your Grade Center.

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

 

OFDIT Newsletter March 2021

March 2021 newsletter banner

March 2021

Dear CUNY SPS Faculty,

Spring is on its way! We hope you and yours are staying safe, and that your classes are going smoothly.

In this month’s newsletter, we invite you to join us for our Accessibility & UDL workshop in April and any of our upcoming training sessions. In addition, we share information about the new Reflective Reading Pedagogy Group, events hosted by CUNY’s Transformative Learning in the Humanities, and highlights of our CUNY SPS ePortfolio work. We also debut our new “Faculty Corner” segment where faculty share a useful or interesting pedagogical tip (in 200 words or less!) that has worked well in their online classes. If you have an idea, we would love to hear from you! Please use our Newsletter Suggestion/Faculty Corner Submission Form to submit your pitch.

Last but not least, we are pleased to announce the dates for our next Faculty Development Day which will take place over two half days, April 15th and 16th — save the dates!


Accessibility & UDL Workshop (April 5th – April 18th, 2021)

There are still seats available for our Accessibility & UDL Workshop offered in April! This two-week, online workshop provides an in-depth introduction to accessibility and Universal Design in Learning (UDL) for online and hybrid education. Participants will review the principles of UDL, learn about best accessibility practices in Blackboard, and get hands-on practice creating accessible documents and multimedia. In applying the skills acquired in this workshop to course design and your teaching, you will create an online experience that is welcoming to all learners, including those with disabilities. Please join us by registering here.


Reflective Pedagogy Reading Group

Below is an invitation to join the Reflective Pedagogy Reading Group:

“We’re excited to announce the Reflective Pedagogy Reading Group, which offers members of the CUNY SPS community a space to regularly meet and reflect on issues related to their teaching practice. We welcome all faculty—full- and part-time—and any staff who would like to engage in critical discussions about teaching and learning. Our focus for the current semester is on Anti-Racist and Inclusive Pedagogy. Please join us for our first meeting on Tuesday, March 23, at 2 p.m., for a discussion of Chapter 10 of bell hook’s Teaching to Transgress (“Building a Teaching Community”) facilitated by Melanie Lorek, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Human Relations. For more information or to join our mailing list, please email elizabeth.alsop@cuny.edu.”


Upcoming TLH Events

CUNY has created the Transformative Learning in the Humanities (TLH) Initiative to reimagine ways to make the humanities more accessible, engaging and imperative to students. The effort, funded with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is part of the University’s renewed focus on pedagogy.

TLH is co-sponsoring a series of events in the spring, organized by CUNY faculty, which covers an exciting range of topics including how to foster play in the classroom, facilitating difficult classroom conversations, and universal design. To see the full lineup of upcoming workshops and to register, please visit here.


ePortfolio Showcase

Karen Gonzalez, ePortfolio Program Assistant in OFDIT, is the featured educator in Episode 13 of Digication’s podcast series. In her episode titled “Meeting Students Where They Are: Building Community in an Online World,” Karen discusses the use of ePortfolios to integrate learning, describes how SPS meets support needs in an online environment, and shares examples of work by students across multiple programs including Rokshana Ali in Disability Services in Higher Education and Richard Shot in Communication and Media.

Coming up soon, we will be honoring excellent student work in our ePortfolio Student Showcase. The ePortfolio Student Showcase gives students an opportunity to share their academic journey at SPS. Winners receive a $100 cash prize, a digital badge, are featured on the SPS website, and shared through social media feeds. Please help us by nominating outstanding student ePortfolios! Faculty can make nominations by May 4, 2021 via this link: https://bit.ly/ePFacultyApplication.


Faculty Corner

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Walter Wang, who teaches Math 102: Math in Contemporary Society, shares this tip for helping students keep track of due dates and work coming up. He includes a list of all the due dates in his course via a direct link in the course menu (see the screenshot). He writes:

“When I taught face to face classes at Baruch College it was easy to remind students of their next assignment at the end of each class. Students could also easily ask me about upcoming assignments so that they could better manage their time. At SPS this is not possible since we meet asynchronously, on line with little direct communication. Most of the SPS students are wearing multiple hats as employees, parents, students and other responsibilities so I thought reminders would be a good idea. My first couple of semesters at SPS I would post an announcement reminding students of the upcoming assignment. I found this strategy to be less effective as we all have too many emails and sites to review on the internet each day. I thought the Summary of Assignment Due Dates would be easily available to students and they would be able to manage their time better each week. Anecdotally, students have told me it is helpful but I have no data supporting its effectiveness. […] I think the ease of access and succinctness are the keys to having it used by students.”

Screenshot - Walter Wang Screenshot of the Summary of Assignment Due Dates course menu link in Prof. Walter Wang’s Spring 2021 section of SPS Math 102: Math in Contemporary Society


Spring 2021 Trainings

Setting up the Grade Center in Blackboard

In this session, you will learn the basics of how to set up your Grade Center. We will cover the different parts of the grade center, the grade center icons, and how to ensure that your assignments are listed and properly categorized for computing students’ final scores, whether you choose to use Total Points or a Weighted Total.

Grade Center in Blackboard: Beyond the Basics

We will cover how to manage your Grade Center including helpful tools such as color coding, the column organization view, and Smart Views. We will also cover useful tips and tricks which can increase the efficiency and ease of use of your Grade Center.

Blackboard on a Mobile Device

Over half of participants in SPS’ New Student Orientation plan to use mobile devices as a part of their online learning experience – will your online courses transfer well into this interface? In this session, we will explore the Blackboard Mobile application and gain an understanding of how students experience learning on the go. We will also discuss the major interface differences between Blackboard Mobile and Blackboard for Desktops and best practices for online course design for mobile devices.

Student Engagement in Online Learning

Join us for a discussion of best practices for generating and sustaining student engagement in the virtual classroom. This training will review approaches to enhance student engagement and instructor feedback in online courses, including different ways to present content and provide feedback, activities to promote student interaction, active learning approaches, and connecting your course content to the real world. You’ll have an opportunity to discuss challenges and successes you’ve experienced and share strategies with colleagues.

Ensemble Video: an Information Session

SPS instructors have access to a robust video hosting platform called Ensemble Video. Think of Ensemble as an SPS-owned platform like YouTube, but designed with education rather than social media in mind. When compared to YouTube, Ensemble Video has several advantages for faculty in terms of streamlining, securing, and engaging students with video. In this session, we will introduce the tool’s most salient features, including student viewing data, the Blackboard integration, and streamlined professional captioning. Auto-publishing, in-video quizzes, and student video submissions will also be discussed. You can learn more here: Ensemble Video for SPS Faculty

Screencast-o-matic Pro: Level 1

This session will cover the basics of how to create and edit audio/video screencasts for your course using Screencast-o-matic Pro, an online tool offered by SPS. The session will demonstrate a production workflow including set up, recording, and post-production (editing). Finally, we will discuss options for captioning and sharing your newly created video.

A Cut Above: Making Your Videos More Professional

Learn simple steps to create engaging media for your class. Many of us are finding ourselves in front of a camera for synchronous virtual meetings or recording content for our online courses. Having your students see and hear you can create a sense of connection, build rapport and spark excitement for learning through seeing your passion for the discipline. No matter if you’re trying this for the first time or have been creating media for a while, this session we’ll give you tools to make your videos look more professional.

Zoom Meetings for Student Hours

All CUNY faculty are now able to claim a Zoom account. Similar to Blackboard Collaborate, Zoom is a synchronous virtual meeting space that offers features unavailable in Collaborate. You may choose to conduct your Student Hours in Zoom not just for the audio and video communication, interactive whiteboard and desktop sharing, but for additional features found in Zoom, like a waiting room, enhanced video and annotation tools. This training will present a Zoom workflow for Student Hours/Office Hours and discuss general best practices for conducting student hours virtually.

VoiceThread for SPS Faculty

This training will introduce VoiceThread, a collaborative, multimedia program that allows faculty (or students) to upload various media like slides, images, or video and engage the class in an enhanced discussion. You and your students can add commentary by means of microphone, webcam, keyboard, or phone. In this session, SPS faculty will learn how to create a VoiceThread and how to integrate it into their Blackboard course.


You can always find our calendar of trainings here. We are also 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

 

OFDIT Newsletter February 2021

February 2021

Dear CUNY SPS Faculty,

We hope that the Spring semester is off to a great start for you and your students!

In this month’s newsletter, we invite you to join our Accessibility & UDL Workshop in April, share information about the new CUNY IT Help Customer Service Portal, and list the dates and times for our upcoming training sessions.


Live Virtual Training Sessions

This semester we will offer the following live virtual training sessions:

  • Student Engagement in Online Learning
  • VoiceThread for SPS Faculty
  • VoiceThread: The New Assignment
  • Screencast-o-matic Pro: Level 1
  • Introducing SnagIt – Screen Capture from Simple to Advanced
  • Ensemble Video: an Information Session
  • A Cut Above: Making Your Videos More Professional
  • Zoom Meetings for Student Hours
  • Blackboard on a Mobile Device
  • Setting up the Grade Center in Blackboard
  • Grade Center in Blackboard: Beyond the Basics

See below for details. All times are Eastern Standard.


Accessibility & UDL Workshop (April 5th – April 18th, 2021)

This two-week, online workshop provides an in-depth introduction to accessibility and Universal Design in Learning (UDL) for online and hybrid education. Participants will review the principles of UDL, learn about best accessibility practices in Blackboard, and get hands-on practice creating accessible documents and multimedia. In applying the skills acquired in this workshop to course design and your teaching, you will create an online experience that is welcoming to all learners, including those with disabilities. Please join us!

This online, facilitated workshop will be offered from April 5th-18th, 2021. Please register here.


CUNY IT Help Customer Service Portal

CUNY IT Help is now live and contains over 1500 articles in an easily searchable repository of essential how-to instructions, FAQs, policies, forms, and reference material for CUNY-wide applications and services. Some topics of interest to CUNY SPS faculty may include:

  • Accessibility
  • Dropbox
  • CUNYfirst
  • Zoom

CUNY IT Help is managed by the Central Office. To provide feedback, please email: ITHelpFeedback@cuny.edu.


Spring 2021 Trainings

Student Engagement in Online Learning

Join us for a discussion of best practices for generating and sustaining student engagement in the virtual classroom. This training will review approaches to enhance student engagement and instructor feedback in online courses, including different ways to present content and provide feedback, activities to promote student interaction, active learning approaches, and connecting your course content to the real world. You’ll have an opportunity to discuss challenges and successes you’ve experienced and share strategies with colleagues.

VoiceThread for SPS Faculty

This training will introduce VoiceThread, a collaborative, multimedia program that allows faculty (or students) to upload various media like slides, images, or video and engage the class in an enhanced discussion. You and your students can add commentary by means of microphone, webcam, keyboard, or phone. In this session, SPS faculty will learn how to create a VoiceThread and how to integrate it into their Blackboard course.

VoiceThread: The New Assignment

In this workshop, you will learn how to turn new assignments on for your courses and begin using them with your students. We will review all of the workflows, new features, and options for your VoiceThread assessments. This session is facilitated by VoiceThread. For more free workshops see the VoiceThread tutorial site.

Screencast-o-matic Pro: Level 1

This session will cover the basics of how to create and edit audio/video screencasts for your course using Screencast-o-matic Pro, an online tool offered by SPS. The session will demonstrate a production workflow including set up, recording, and post-production (editing). Finally, we will discuss options for captioning and sharing your newly created video.

Introducing SnagIt – Screen Capture from Simple to Advanced

Join us for an overview of the latest tool available to all current CUNY faculty. TechSmith’s Snagit is a powerful screen capture program with a wide array of options to create, edit and annotate screen captures. It has robust features that include panoramic and vertical scrolling and the ability to blur personal or unneeded information. Several publishing methods make it easy to send professional looking screen captures in a few clicks. If you are currently teaching at SPS you can contact the SPS Help Desk to claim your SnagIt license.

Ensemble Video: an Information Session

SPS instructors have access to a robust video hosting platform called Ensemble Video. Think of Ensemble as an SPS-owned platform like YouTube, but designed with education rather than social media in mind. When compared to YouTube, Ensemble Video has several advantages for faculty in terms of streamlining, securing, and engaging students with video. In this session, we will introduce the tool’s most salient features, including student viewing data, the Blackboard integration, and streamlined professional captioning. Auto-publishing, in-video quizzes, and student video submissions will also be discussed. You can learn more here: Ensemble Video for SPS Faculty

A Cut Above: Making Your Videos More Professional

Learn simple steps to create engaging media for your class. Many of us are finding ourselves in front of a camera for synchronous virtual meetings or recording content for our online courses. Having your students see and hear you can create a sense of connection, build rapport and spark excitement for learning through seeing your passion for the discipline. No matter if you’re trying this for the first time or have been creating media for a while, this session we’ll give you tools to make your videos look more professional.

Zoom Meetings for Student Hours

All CUNY faculty are now able to claim a Zoom account. Similar to Blackboard Collaborate, Zoom is a synchronous virtual meeting space that offers features unavailable in Collaborate. You may choose to conduct your Student Hours in Zoom not just for the audio and video communication, interactive whiteboard and desktop sharing, but for additional features found in Zoom, like a waiting room, enhanced video and annotation tools. This training will present a Zoom workflow for Student Hours/Office Hours and discuss general best practices for conducting student hours virtually.

Blackboard on a Mobile Device

Over half of participants in SPS’ New Student Orientation plan to use mobile devices as a part of their online learning experience – will your online courses transfer well into this interface? In this session, we will explore the Blackboard Mobile application and gain an understanding of how students experience learning on the go. We will also discuss the major interface differences between Blackboard Mobile and Blackboard for Desktops and best practices for online course design for mobile devices.

Setting up the Grade Center in Blackboard

In this session, you will learn the basics of how to set up your Grade Center. We will cover the different parts of the grade center, the grade center icons, and how to ensure that your assignments are listed and properly categorized for computing students’ final scores, whether you choose to use Total Points or a Weighted Total.

Grade Center in Blackboard: Beyond the Basics

We will cover how to manage your Grade Center including helpful tools such as color coding, the column organization view, and Smart Views. We will also cover useful tips and tricks which can increase the efficiency and ease of use of your Grade Center.


We would love to see you at one or many of our trainings and workshops! We are also 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 for a successful spring semester,

Your OFDIT Team

OFDIT Newsletter January 2021


January 2021

Dear CUNY SPS Faculty,

Happy New Year from the OFDIT Team! We’re hoping that you had a relaxing holiday break, and — if you are teaching during the Winter — a successful start of the term.

Preparing for the Next Semester

Many of you are preparing your course for the Spring right now and might find our checklist “Getting Your Course Site Ready for a New Semester” a useful reference when making these course adjustments.

Ensuring that all due dates for your course are accurate for the new semester is especially important; this includes dates mentioned in text items as well as Blackboard availability and due dates for assignments.

Though you will need to manually update any dates mentioned in any text, Blackboard availability and due dates can be reviewed and updated via Blackboard’s Date Management tool, either individually, as a group of items, or all of the dates at once. You can also use Date Management to see a list of all these dates in your course for review. This is a great option if you are using content from a previous semester and would like to adjust your dates for the new semester. To learn more about how to use this tool, please see our quick guide, or contact our team for assistance.


CUNY Acquires New Screen Capture Tools    

CUNY has secured licenses for TechSmith’s Snagit, a powerful screen capture software. Licenses are available for all current faculty. With Snagit, faculty will have a wide array of options to create, edit and annotate screen captures, including panoramic scrolling when the content is larger than one screen, as well as the ability to blur personal or unneeded information. In the spring semester, OFDIT will offer sessions to demonstrate SnagIt’s most common and useful functions.

Along with Snagit, CUNY has secured licenses for another TechSmith tool called Camtasia. Camtasia offers tools to create professional-looking instructional videos. It’s a powerful video editor focused on creating educational content. At SPS faculty have been using Screencast-O-Matic Pro for features covered by both SnagIt and Camtasia. The OFDIT Media Team will continue to support Screencast-O-Matic.

If you are interested in obtaining a license for Snagit or Camtasia, please contact the SPS Help Desk.


For support on any of the above or other questions, please contact our team at: facultysupport@sps.cuny.edu. We are happy to support you via email, phone or a live Zoom session.

All best for the upcoming year,

Your OFDIT Team

 

 


OFDIT Newsletter banner

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

Welcome to the Fall Semester! – September 2020 Faculty Newsletter

September 2020

We hope everyone is having a smooth transition into Fall semester! The Office of Faculty Development and Instructional Design (OFDIT) will be sending out a newsletter a few times each semester with updates on tools and resources from individual teams within OFDIT, and professional development events to assist with your online teaching needs.

We are pleased to present our first newsletter here!

Ensemble Video
Have you heard of Ensemble Video? If you’re using video in your SPS course, then Ensemble is something to consider. It’s features match, and in some cases, exceed those found in video hosting platforms like YouTube or Vimeo. Think of Ensemble like you own SPS YouTube channel but with significant advantages for educators, like no social media interruptions, no advertisements, no suggested videos. Furthermore, it’s integrated into Blackboard and tied to the SPS captioning service. More details on our Ensemble Video SPS Faculty page.

If you’d like to learn more, please consider registering for one our information sessions coming up. In the session, we will introduce the tool’s more salient features, including student viewing data, the Blackboard integration, and streamlined professional captioning. Auto-publishing, in-video quizzes, and student video submissions will also be discussed.

Annotate Tool in Blackboard
We would like to introduce everyone to Annotate, a new integrated grading tool in Blackboard, replacing Box View. Annotate allows instructors to provide customizable feedback to students’ assignments when they are submitted as any of the supported file types (not when entered as text directly). Annotate is integrated directly in the Grade Center; i.e. submitted files will open right in your browser so you can readily use available grading tools, such as free-hand drawing and erasing, or highlighting and underlining. Another option is to use images from your computer as well as ready-made or customized stamps (e.g. “approved” stamp or “draft” stamp). Annotate also features options for both in-line commenting and written comments, which appear in a side panel. Finally, Annotate allows you to download a student’s submission with your annotations, and to search for specific text within a submission.

To learn more about Annotate, please watch this video and review the Annotate support site by Blackboard (which includes a list of accepted file types when using Annotate). Reach out to our team at facultysupport@sps.cuny.edu for any questions you might have.

Important Note on Grading: CUNY Blackboard times out after 60 minutes. Be sure to save any grading comments before the 60-minute time limit or else you might lose your work.

Before you go, please remember our fall trainings and events! We are continuing our regular informal meetups on Oct. 21 and November 18. We also hope to see you at our upcoming faculty discussion on Trauma-Informed Pedagogy on October 2 from 12.45-2 EST. Please register using this link. Our fall trainings include sessions on Zoom Meeting for Student Hours, A Cut Above: Making Your Videos More Professional, VoiceThread: Humanize Your Online Course, Student Engagement in Online Learning, and more. Find more information and registration links on our SPS Faculty Community Site.

Thank you for reading! As always, please contact us at facultysupport@sps.cuny.edu with any questions or support requests. See you at one of our upcoming events, or for our next newsletter in October!

Your OFDIT Team

 

Faculty Exchange, Learning Labs, and Making Knowledge Visible (ePortfolios)

Faculty Development Day 2020 will take place virtually on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, 12-3:30. We are looking forward to seeing new and familiar faces!

This event will be held via Zoom (please click on the link or check the call-in details section of this page). Here are some tips on attending a zoom event, as well as a test meeting you can join to check your connection and equipment.

Schedule

  • Sip ‘n Chat: 12:00pm
  • Welcome: 12:30pm
  • Faculty exchange: 12:45-1:30pm
  • Student panel: 1:30-2:00pm
  • Faculty exchange: 2:00-2:45pm 
  • Learning labs: 2:50-3:20pm
  • Closing: 3:20pm

Sip ‘n Chat (12-12:30)

Grab your coffee, tea, or drink of choice and join us for an informal gathering in the half hour before scheduled events begin. Let’s check in and see how you’re doing, how your students are doing, how things are going.

Faculty Exchange (12:45-1:30)

Faculty share activities, course features, and other projects related to teaching or research at SPS. 

  • Joseph Foy – An Experiential Learning Field Study in Accounting: Using Nonprofit and For-profit Businesses as Experiential Learning Venues
  • Melanie Lorek – Helping Students to Avoid Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty
  • Kate Moss – Late Work Policies:  Now and during “normal” teaching times

Student Panel: Making Knowledge Visible (1:30-2)

Join us as CUNY SPS students share their stories of transformation through ePortfolios.  In this session, panelists will show how their learning became visible through the high-impact practice of learning portfolios.  They will discuss highlights, lessons learned, and challenges in the production of their curricular (and extra-curricular) websites. Faculty, administrators, and students are welcome to attend to see how ePortfolios impact learning.

Student Panelists

  • Ms. Enriqueta Au Muñoz, Bachelor of Arts in Disability Studies ePortfolio
  • Ms. Jade Powell, Master of Science in Disability Services in Higher Education

Faculty Exchange (2-2:45)

Faculty share activities, course features, and other projects related to teaching or research at SPS. 

  • Curtis Izen – VoiceThread: Transforming from Text to VoiceThreads and Not Looking Back
  • Euny Lee – Video and Communication Tools for Student Engagement & Instruction
  • Elizabeth Alsop – Teaching with Slack: Ideas for Online Instructors

Learning Labs (2:50-3:20)

Join a breakout room to learn more about and/or ask specific questions on the following applications:

  • VoiceThread – Matt Lewis
  • Digication – Karen Gonzalez
  • Screencastomatic – Sharon Jorrin
  • Blackboard / Grade Center – Sylvie Richards
  • Blackboard Mobile – Michelle Gastulo
  • Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning – Antonia Levy

Zoom Meeting Information

https://zoom.us/j/272610433

Meeting ID: 272 610 433

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Meeting ID: 272 610 433
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Presentation Materials

Copies of presentations are available in the Blackboard course SPS Faculty Development Day 2020, in which participants are invited to self enroll.

Join Us for VoiceThread Bootcamp with Lehman College Faculty!

We are excited to announce our next VoiceThread Bootcamp, offered from November 1-10, 2017 collaboratively to faculty from CUNY SPS and Lehman College teaching online and hybrid classes. Join us by registering here.

VoiceThread is a web-based tool that allows faculty and students to have conversations using any mix of text, audio or webcam comments. VoiceThread can be used to record a course topic introduction, create interactive online lectures, extend classroom conversations, enable students to create digital portfolios, or support language practice. Find out more about the tool on Lehman’s edtech page.

This bootcamp is learner-centered: whether you are an experienced multimedia user or new to VoiceThread, this will plant the essentials of cultivating dynamic discussions and creating vibrant content.

Here is what previous participants have said about their experience:

I had heard of Voice Thread (VT) but did not know how to take it and “work it” into my course. Guided by experienced facilitators, the group quickly formed a bond, sharing strategies and barriers with implementing VT in a wide variety of disciplines. Awesome experience!

This experience provided me with the tools that I needed to work with VoiceThread without being intimidated by it. It was a challenging experience but there was a great amount of support and guidance.

The 10-day bootcamp will run online from November 1 – 10, 2017.

There will be some activity required on most days, and during the workshop you will:

  • Acquire the skills to create VoiceThread presentations for your course.
  • Design a learner-centered VoiceThread assignment ready to be used in your course.
  • Develop a technical skill set to create engaging and interactive online learning experiences for your students.

If you’d like to join us for the bootcamp, please use this form to register.

We are looking forward to going on this adventure with you!

Antonia, Krystyna, Anick, and Olena (Lehman College)

Faculty Trainings in September & October 2017

Welcome to a new academic year!

We hope you’ve had a good start to the semester and would like to invite you to register for our fall trainings.

Our trainings this semester are designed to help you make your course student-centered and efficient. For example, Facilitating Group Work Online and Introduction to Collaborate Ultra will showcase tools helping you to design interactive activities that will increase student engagement with course material.

We’ll also offer sessions on Blackboard assessments—Making Sense of Blackboard Test Options and TurnItIn vs SafeAssign – which allow you to tailor graded activities to your needs, and will help you choose the best options for assessing plagiarism.

Finally, the Monitoring Student Progress and Mastering Blackboard’s Discussion Board trainings will showcase how to streamline your Blackboard teaching experience.

See a complete list of trainings we’re offering below and use this form to sign up!

One-on-One Training Sessions. If our trainings don’t fit your calendar, you can request one at your convenience. Sign up using this form by sharing your availability (Monday- Friday, 9am-7pm) and selecting any of our training topics. Sessions can be conducted online or in-person at our office at 119 W 31st Street.

Finally, our Sunday coverage is back up and running! Send your questions to facultysupport@sps.cuny.edu, or join us for a live GoToMeeting session at the same time. Find more details and the link to the session on our website.

We are looking forward to working with you,

Antonia, Krystyna, and Anick