Category: Announcements

css.php

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

 

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

 

Join Us for Faculty Trainings in July

We hope you’re already enjoying your summer! The first set of our summer training sessions is already in full swing so check out our offerings below and sign up before they’re full!

Image Source: https://static.pexels.com/photos/

This July we’re focusing on how multimedia approaches enhance teaching and learning which we hope will inspire your teaching with online trainings featuring VoiceThreadScreencastomatic Pro, and Collaborate Ultra. We’ll show you how these tools allow you to use a range of audio and media options to address different learning styles as well as proposing new approaches to critical thinking.

For the first time we’ll be offering sessions comparing SafeAssign and Turnitin, the anti-plagiarism tools available to you in Blackboard at CUNY. Learn about enhanced feedback options and new approaches to teaching academic integrity as well as proper citation.

And we’ll also hold sessions on Using Blackboard Efficiently. We’ll cover best practices for managing discussions, due dates, grading, and saving yourself some time with Blackboard’s many tools and features you might not yet know about.

See the whole schedule of trainings for July here and sign up using this form!

We’ll also be offering additional trainings in August so keep an eye out for our next announcement and the schedule for August!

We are looking forward to working with you,
Anick, Antonia & Krystyna

Join Us for Faculty Trainings in April & May

Happy Spring! Warmer weather is on its way and so is our spring training series.

For April and May, we will continue to offer sessions on Turnitin and making engaging videos for your course. But wait, there’s more…

As the semester’s end begins to sneak up on you, we’re here to help! Before you know it, it will be time to enter grades into CUNYFirst for your spring courses. Get your Grade Center ready to go; calculating final grades will be easier and faster, without compromising accuracy, when you format the Grade Center to do the calculating for you. Attend a session of our upcoming trainings on “Optimizing Your Grade Center to Calculate Final Grades” to learn how to make Grade Center work for you, whether you use weighted totals or total points. 

We’ve also got summer faculty covered. Dev sites will soon need to be updated for course copy and we’ll have sessions devoted to how it’s done. Fall faculty who’d like to get started on this can also attend one of our sessions to get a sense of what this will entail. “Preparing Your Dev Site for Course Copy” training sessions will begin in May and you can sign up here to secure your spot.

See the whole schedule of trainings for April/May here and sign up using this form!

We are looking forward to working with you,
Anick & Antonia

A few spots left: SafeAssign & Turnitin Workshop

Don’t miss out on our brand-new workshop “SafeAssign and TurnItIn: Which Is Best For My Course?” from March 27-30, 2017.

We only have a few spots remaining, so if you are interested sign up today! Registration closes tomorrow, March 21 at 5pm.

This asynchronous workshop is designed to inform faculty on which plagiarism tool offered in CUNY Blackboard may be best suited for their course and the subject area they teach.  

In the workshop, participants will:

  • Gain first-hand experience in designing and grading assignments using both SafeAssign and TurnItIn.
  • Become familiar with the databases queried and the plagiarism reports for both SafeAssign and TurnItIn.
  • Reflect on past teaching approaches and begin to devise likely strategies for effective assignments and assessments using both SafeAssign and TurnItIn.
  • Share ideas concerning how best to use the capacities of both SafeAssign and TurnItIn to enhance student learning.

Please use this form to sign up for the workshop. We will send out confirmation of your registration and a more detailed schedule by Thursday this week.

Looking forward to working with you!
Antonia & Sylvie

Happy New Year with SPS Faculty Trainings


cup-coffe-laptop-
Happy New Year to SPS faculty from all of us at OFDIT!

We’d like to invite you to spend part of your winter break with us — brushing up your technology skills, preparing your courses for the spring, and learning about new multimedia tools for teaching and learning.

We just announced our trainings for this month, including sessions on how to create engaging course videos or interactive VoiceThread discussions for your students.

date managementIn “Getting Ready for Spring: Preparing Your Dev Site for Course Copy,” we will walk you through the steps of how to get your course ready for a seamless course copy. As part of this training, we will also introduce Blackboard’s Date Management tool which can greatly speed up one of the most time consuming steps in preparing a course for the next semester. The tool allows to change all due or availability dates for items like assignments, tests, and discussion boards in your course at once either by setting the start date of the semester or by changing all the dates at once by a certain number of days. Join us for one of the trainings by registering here.

collaborate ultraCUNY Blackboard’s upgrade in December also included a new version of Blackboard Collaborate, a tool to set up real-time online sessions with your students. Now called Collaborate Ultra, the upgraded version offers all the same functionality but in a sleeker, more intuitive interface. For example, users can now focus on the action in the session by tucking unnecessary features away into hidden menus. Also, it now uses less bandwidth, which will mean fewer disruptions and technical problems for you and your students. Register for one of our Collaborate Ultra trainings this month where we will introduce the streamlined tool, go over the basic features of Collaborate Ultra as well as the steps to create your own session.

 

See all the trainings scheduled for this month and links to register on our Training Site.

We are looking forward to working with you!
Antonia & Krystyna

Retiring Learning Object Tools in CUNY Blackboard

Icons of Campus Pack tools in BlackboardAs you may have heard, CUNY will retire Learning Objects tools — i.e. Campus Pack blogs, wikis, journals, and podcasts — in Blackboard at the end of the Fall 2016 semester. If you have been using these tools, which have characteristic orange icons, you’ll want to save copies of student-created content for your records and recreate course activities using Blackboard-native tools.

We have created a short video tutorial that shows how to do this plus how to create Blackboard blogs and wikis in your course site to replace the ones that will be retired.

Here are the basic steps for saving your Campus Pack (CP) content:

  1. Go to your Blackboard course site.
  2. Navigate to the Campus Pack blog, wiki, or journal assignment.
  3. Click View.
  4. Click “Export”, or “Export Site” (in CP blogs and wikis, on the bottom-right of the menu; in CP journals at the top of the screen with the other menu options).
  5. Save the .zip file to your computer.

This process creates a compressed folder with an .html file for each page of the site (whether journal, blog, or wiki), which can be opened in any web browser. Please note, comments in blogs or wikis will not be retained. When saving journals, you can select an option to include comments.

To save blogs or wikis with comments, unfortunately the only way is to print each page with comments to a .pdf file:

  1. On the blog/wiki page, click on Print with Comments near the top of the menu to the right of the screen.
  2. For printer, select “.pdf” and then save the resulting PDF file to your computer.
  3. Repeat these steps for every page with comments that you wish to have a record of.

To save media from a CP podcast, open the podcast, right-click on the media in the player and select “Save Video/Audio As.”

Please email us with any questions you might have, or if you’d like any support with this transition.

Join us for a Fall Bootcamp Adventure!

We are offering another Video & VoiceThread Bootcamp in which you can either gain new skills or sharpen old ones when creating engaging media for your teaching. If you’ve previously created course videos, maybe you’d like to integrate VoiceThread into your teaching as well? Or you let us help you sharpen your video editing skills in Screencastomatic Pro?

voicethread-logoThis bootcamp is learner-focused and we will tailor instruction to your skill level, so novices and masters alike are welcome. Whether you are a perennial or budding video-creator and VoiceThread user, this week-long workshop will plant the essentials of creating dynamic videos and cultivating vibrant content.

The bootcamp will run from Monday, November 7 – Sunday, November 13. There will be some activity required every day during that week, and by the end you will have:

  • The technical skills to create multimedia artifacts for your courses.
  • Knowledge of what makes a pedagogically effective multimedia artifact.
  • A multimedia creation ready to include in your current or future courses.
  • A plan for a second multimedia artifact to create for your courses.

Here is what previous bootcamp participants have said about their experience:

Course Video Bootcamp is well worth the time I spent doing it. I learned so much and I know that it will help me assist my students by giving them visual aids that work much better than reading a book or powerpoint. I also learned where to go should I have questions about what I learned. Great class.

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.

Video Bootcamp was a great experience! Within a week, they took me from technically-inexperienced to being able to produce my own video for use in my course! The support from the staff was great and really enabled me to learn a lot in a short period of time!

If you’d like to join us for this summer adventure, please use this form to sign up for the bootcamp.

We are looking forward to working with you in November,
Sarah & Krystyna

Turnitin available in Blackboard! And: Join us for a training.

With both Turnitin as well as SafeAssign available now, SPS faculty have more options for creating and checking writing assignments for originality within your Blackboard sites.

SafeAssign was recently integrated into the Blackboard Assignments interface. To use SafeAssign, simply tick the box in the “Submission Details” section of a regular Blackboard assignment.screenshot Safeassign in Blackboard

You may already know Turnitin from using it outside of Blackboard. It is now available CUNY-wide through Blackboard, as a separate assignment type in the Assessments dropdown menu.

screenshotA Turnitin assignment is fully integrated with Blackboard: students access it like any other assignment in your course, and you can view and grade assignments directly in your course site. Turnitin differs from SafeAssign primarily in that it has a much larger database, including billions of web pages and hundreds of millions of journals, periodicals, books, and student papers against which it compares students’ submissions for plagiarism.

Turnitin offers a user-friendly inline grading function, called Feedback Studio, where you can leave voice and text comments, markup papers with comments or “QuickMarks” (i.e. preset comments with explanations that you can customize to fit your needs and insert into students’ assignments), as well as Turnitin-specific rubrics or checklists for grading.

Also included are functions such as Revision Assignment, which allows you to create assignments with multiple drafts; and PeerMark Assignments, which give students an opportunity to participate in peer review, with Turnitin managing the distribution of papers for review according to settings you choose.

Here are the steps to replacing existing Blackboard assignments with Turnitin:

  1. Copy the assignment’s instructions and take note of its settings (e.g., in a Word document).
  2. Delete the existing assignment from your course site.
  3. Recreate it as a Turnitin Paper Assignment by hovering over Assessments > Turnitin Assignment. Paste the assignment instructions you had copied, and check all Optional Settings for accuracy.
  4. Remember to make these changes in both your dev and live site.

Note: Turnitin assignments are automatically created in a grading category called Turnitin Assignment. If you use a Weighted Total column to calculate the final grade, be sure to change it to include the Turnitin Assignment category, or change the category of your Turnitin Assignment in the Grade Center.

Some useful resources for learning more about Turnitin:

There is still time to sign up for our upcoming online Turnitin training sessions. Please join us on one of the following dates:
Tuesday, September 27 at 6pm
Thursday, October 6 at 3pm
Tuesday, October 18 at 12pm

Looking forward to working with you!

Antonia, Sarah, and Krystyna