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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 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

Welcome to the fall semester at CUNY SPS!

Dear SPS faculty,

 We hope your fall semester is off to a smooth start. During the month of September and October, OFDIT is offering a different online training almost every day of the week to help you put new skills in your online teaching toolbox. There is something for everyone, whatever your schedule so please review our training calendar and read more about some of the sessions below.

We are excited to be running trainings on Turnitin, a new CUNY-wide writing assignment tool with a plagiarism checker, an easy-to-use grading interface, and a user-friendly peer-review function that students can use to review their own and their peers’ writing.

We have also added two new training topics to our growing list of one-hour online sessions: Facilitating Group Work and Monitoring Student Progress in Blackboard. Student group work encourages active engagement with course material and develops interpersonal skills that will be vital on the job market. Our group work training covers the technical details of Blackboard’s Groups tool as well as strategies for how to facilitate group work in an online environment. Monitoring student progress can be difficult in an online class. Our training on this topic introduces the tools that Blackboard provides to help you keep abreast of who is doing well in your course, who needs a little encouragement, and who might need more support.

In addition to these new topics, we have several sessions of oldies-but-goodies on offer, such as creating videos for your courses, using VoiceThread as a multimedia discussion tool, and using Blackboard to its fullest potential to make your course more effective and your life easier. Last but not least, Creating Accessible Documents for Your Course covers how to create Word, Excel and PDF files that are accessible to screen reader users and more easily understood by everyone. One of the biggest advances of the online education revolution is the potential for higher ed to be inclusive of all students; this training gives you a couple tools for following through on that promise.

To read about all of our upcoming training sessions, click here. To sign up for scheduled training sessions, fill out this form.

Wishing you a wonderful fall, and looking forward to working with you,
Antonia, Krystyna, and Sarah

Join us for Summer 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?

This 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, July 11 to Sunday, July 17. There will be some activity required every day during that week, and by the end of it 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 July,

Sarah & Krystyna

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