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Teaching Effectiveness Institute

Teaching in the Digital Classroom: Tools, Tips, and Strategies

Friday, January 11, 2013
8:30 am to 4:00 pm


Contemporary instructional approaches continue to evolve to meet the expectations of today’s students while also being shaped by the latest affordances of instructional technology. Faculty have an ever-increasing selection of tools to choose from in their quest to offer the highest quality learning experience possible for students. Increasingly, the "digital classroom" extends far beyond the walls of a physical classroom and encompasses a wide array of traditional and emerging teaching and learning methods. The result can be a truly rigorous yet flexible learning environment that engages students both in and outside the classroom.

During this interactive institute, NIU faculty and teaching staff will learn how to actively engage students in the learning process through the use of best practices and readily-available technologies. Faculty Development staff will lead the sessions and facilitate conversations to provide an opportunity for participants to network and share ideas before, during, and after the institute.

Fast Facts & Figures

The following figures illustrate the potential savings of the online format:

  • 2,598 total miles driven
  • 109 gallons of gasoline
  • $360 saved in gasoline cost
  • 2,120 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions

For the very first time, this institute will take place completely online! You can participate from the comfort and convenience of your own home, office, or other location. All that is needed to participate is a computer and an Internet connection, as all live sessions will be conducted using Blackboard Collaborate. Additionally, those with an iOS mobile device will have the option to download and install the Blackboard Collaborate mobile app to participate from their iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.

Complete details for participating online will be provided to registered participants, one week before the institute. Advance registration is required and a computer with Internet access is needed in order to participate during the live sessions. The tentative schedule for the institute is as follows:


8:30 am - 8:45 am: Log-in to Blackboard Collaborate online session

8:45 am - 9:00 am: Opening remarks and logistics for remaining online live sessions and follow-up discussions

9:00 am - 10:00 am: Understanding Today's Active Learner
Before selecting specific pedagogical approaches or technologies to integrate into the digital classroom, it's helpful to better grasp the expectations and preferences of postsecondary students today as well as consider how their perspectives may differ from our own. In this session, we will kick-off the institute by exploring the characteristics of today's active learners and discussing tenets for engaging them in the learning process.

10:00 am - 10:30 am: Break

10:30 am - 12:00 pm: Integrating Online Tools in Your Classroom
Online teaching tools are among the most flexible instructional tools available at the fingertips of faculty today. However, teaching a fully online course is certainly not a requirement in order to reap the benefits of integrating select online approaches in the face-to-face classroom. With the advent of Google Apps here at NIU boasting a host of exciting features, and with a multitude of other tools like discussion forums, blogs, wikis, and web conferencing systems, your technology toolbox will never be empty. During this session, we will share some examples and best practices for effectively incorporating online tools into the classroom.

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Lunch Break

1:00 pm - 2:30 pm: Using Mobile Learning to Extend Your Classroom
With mobile technologies like smartphones and tablets, students can access course materials from anywhere and faculty can update materials or communicate with students without sitting down to a computer. Mobile devices can create a second layer within the classroom or can extend learning outside of the classroom and into the “real world.” In addition, mobile devices are familiar tools that can create multimedia content like audio, photos, and video. During this session, we will explore strategies and tools to leverage the power of mobile devices.

2:30 pm - 3:00 pm: Break

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm: Adding a Social Layer to Your Classroom
A growing number of online and mobile technologies enable new channels for social collaboration in teaching and learning. These include social networks and web conferencing tools that facilitate communication, plus tools that support collaborative writing, like blogs, wikis, Google Drive, and more. Using these tools to create a social layer can foster a sense of community, promote engagement between faculty and students, and provide opportunities for a variety of 21st century learning activities. During this session, we will consider the pedagogical implications for implementing social tools and discuss best practices for using some of the more popular social learning technologies.

Registration Information

This institute is for NIU faculty, instructors, teaching assistants, and teaching SPS & Civil Service staff only. Registered participants will receive institute materials and a certificate of participation. Please register by the deadline and plan to attend the entire day. After you register, if you are unable to attend, please inform the Center at by Friday, January 4, 2013 so that those on the waiting list can be given the opportunity to attend the institute and/or institute costs can be reduced.

Registration Deadline: Friday, December 14, 2012

Registration is closed.

Mobile Experience

Catch a glimpse of the experience participating from a mobile device in NIU's first fully-online Teaching Effectiveness Institute!

Participating on iPad

Participating on iPhone

Last Updated: 07/14/2014