SPS Faculty Real-Time Training

The Office of Faculty Development at SPS offers ongoing scheduled training sessions and one-on-one consultations taught by our Instructional Technology staff, both online and face-to-face (if requested). All SPS faculty are welcome to register for any session.

Scheduled Online Training Sessions

In April/May 2017 we are offering the following scheduled online training sessions for SPS faculty.

To register for one of the scheduled training sessions, please fill out this form.

Creating Engaging Videos for Your Course
This training will cover how to create video content that will engage and help orient students to your course. You will learn about the different approaches to making such a video, easy to use tools for video creation and captioning, and placement in your Blackboard course site.  We will also provide practical tips and best practices for effective short videos.
Wednesday, April 12 from 3-4pm
Thursday, April 13 from 12.30-1.30pm
Tuesday, April 25 from 6-7pm

Optimizing Your Grade Center to Calculate Final Grades
In this session, we will cover the steps needed to ensure that your Grade Center is correctly set up to calculate final grades before you enter them into CUNYFirst. We’ll explain how to check that all of your assignments are listed and properly categorized for computing students’ final scores. Whether you choose to calculate final grades using Total Points or a Weighted Total, this session will cover how to make grading fast, accurate, and effortless.
Wednesday, April 19 from 3-4pm
Thursday, April 27 from 6-7pm
Tuesday, May 2 from 12.30-1.30pm

Introduction to Turnitin
This training will introduce you to Turnitin, a new anti-plagiarism tool that has just been integrated into all course sites in CUNY Blackboard. In addition to providing anti-plagiarism checking for submitted work, Turnitin also gives instructors powerful teaching tools through their Revision Assignment and Feedback Studio functions.
Tuesday, April 18 from 6-7pm
Thursday, April 20 from 12.30-1.30pm

Monitoring Student Progress in Blackboard
This training will introduce two tools for easily keeping track of student progress in your course site: the Retention Center as well as using color schemes in the Grade Center. Blackboard’s Retention Center helps you monitor students who are in danger of falling behind by indicating missed deadlines or course activities, low grades, as well as attendance records.In the training, we will cover how to customize notification rules in the Retention Center and how to monitor individual students and their grades.
Thursday, April 27 from 3-4pm
Thursday, May 4 from 12.30-1.30pm

Preparing Your Dev Site for Course Copy
In this training we will explain how to prepare your dev site for successful course copy. We will cover how to update your course site to reflect any changes you have made, how to personalize an inherited site, and how to use the Date Management tool in Blackboard to update due and availability dates. We will also outline the course copy process.
Thursday, May 4 from 3-4pm
Tuesday, May 9 from 10-11am
Thursday, May 11 from 12.30-1.30pm
Tuesday, May 16 from 6-7pm
Thursday, May 18 from 6-7pm

To register for one of the scheduled training sessions, please fill out this form.
We will send you an email reminder with a link to access the session in the days leading up to the training.


One-on-One Training Sessions (Online or Face-to-Face)

SPS faculty may sign up using this form for one-on-one training sessions, offered weekdays from 9am to 7pm, covering the following topics:

Blackboard Essentials. This training provides you with an overview of the features of CUNY’s Blackboard learning management system, including the fundamentals of how to post announcements, content and assignments, as well as how to create discussion board forums, blogs, and wikis.

Making Efficient Use of Blackboard. This training will discuss how to use Blackboard’s tools to more efficiently manage a number of different teaching tasks. In addition to covering the calendar, the Retention Center, and the discussion board’s Subscribe feature, we will also discuss best practices for using blogs, wikis or the discussion board, and time-saving features in the Grade Center such as inline grading, rubrics, and color coding.

Setting up the Grade Center in Blackboard. In this session, you will learn how to set up your Grade Center for maximum efficiency and ease of use. We will explain how to check that all of your assignments are listed and properly categorized for computing students’ final scores, whether you choose to use Total Points or a Weighted Total. We will also introduce a few advanced features such as color coding and using “Smart Views.”

Facilitating Group Work in Blackboard. This training covers how to set up and manage group activities in Blackboard. From a pedagogical perspective, we will discuss how facilitating online group work differs from the classroom context, and what types of collaborative activities can be implemented in a course. On the technical side, we will demonstrate how use the Groups tool in Blackboard, including setting up groups in your course site, enrolling students in groups, and assigning various group tools.

Monitoring Student Progress in Blackboard. This training will introduce two tools for easily keeping track of student progress in your course site: the Retention Center as well as using color schemes in the Grade Center. Blackboard’s Retention Center helps you monitor students who are in danger of falling behind by indicating missed deadlines or course activities, low grades, as well as attendance records.In the training, we will cover how to customize notification rules in the Retention Center and how to monitor individual students and their grades.

Blogs, Wikis & Journals in Blackboard. During this session, we will review the purpose of each of these interactive tools, how to create them and best practices related to each. We will also cover how to distinguish among them to determine which functions are most appropriate for particular learning objectives.

Tests and Surveys in Blackboard. In this session you will learn how to use the Tests, Surveys and Pools tool in Blackboard effectively, how to deploy tests and surveys, as well as how to modify test pools provided by publishers. We will also take a look at item analysis, a new feature in Blackboard Enhanced.

Introduction to Turnitin. This training will introduce you to Turnitin, a new anti-plagiarism tool that has just been integrated into all course sites in CUNY Blackboard. In addition to providing anti-plagiarism checking for submitted work, Turnitin also gives instructors powerful teaching tools through their Revision Assignment and Feedback Studio functions.

Introduction to Collaborate. Collaborate is a Blackboard tool that allows you to set up real-time online sessions with your students, including audio and video, an interactive whiteboard and desktop sharing. This training will cover some of the basic features of Collaborate, ways to use Collaborate in your courses, as well as the steps to create your own session.

Creating Video Content for Your Course. This training will cover how to create video content that will engage and help orient students to your course. You will learn about the different approaches to making such a video, easy to use tools for video creation and captioning, and placement in your Blackboard course site.  We will also provide practical tips and best practices for effective short videos.

Screencastomatic Level I. This session will cover the basics of how to create and edit audio/video lectures (screencasts) for your course using Screencastomatic Pro, an online tool offered by SPS. We will also go over the steps of how to add captions to your videos on your YouTube account.

Screencastomatic Level II. Building on Screencastomatic Level I, in this session we will refine and improve your Screencastomatic editing skills and look at some of the best practices for creating screencasts for online learning.

Introduction to VoiceThread. This training will introduce VoiceThread, a web-based program which allows you to upload various media and have you or your students add commentary to it by means of microphone, webcam, keyboard, or phone. We will cover how to create your first VoiceThread, and how to integrate it into your Blackboard course site.

VoiceThread, Level II: Teaching with VoiceThread. This training is for faculty who have some experience teaching with VoiceThread. It will be an opportunity to ask questions about VoiceThread’s features, discuss any issues you’ve had using VoiceThread in your courses, and exchange teaching ideas and best practices. We will also address questions such as how/why to use course view, re-use Voicethreads in future classes, and create scaffolded VoiceThread assignments to be used over the course of a semester.

Preparing Your Dev Site for Course Copy. In this training we will explain how to prepare your dev site for successful course copy. We will cover how to update your course site to reflect any changes you have made, how to personalize an inherited site, and how to use the Date Management tool in Blackboard to update due and availability dates. We will also outline the course copy process.

Making Your Course Accessible to All. This training will provide an overview of how to apply the principles of Universal Design in Learning (UDL) to course design and formatting of course materials to make your classes accessible to all students. We’ll cover how to create accessible Word and PDF documents, caption course videos, and facilitate learning through different modalities.

To register for one-on-one training, please fill in this form.

One-on-One training may be conducted online or face-to-face, based on your preference. Once your request has been received, your training appointment will be scheduled and verified by email. Please note: If there are other faculty with similar requests, we may suggest a session with you and one or two others.


If you have any questions please contact Antonia Levy.