Spectrum Newsletter - Fall 2015
Service Learning in Higher Education
Service learning is an engaging teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful, real-world community service with instructional goals and objectives. The service experience involves students in essential reflection activities that enrich the mutually beneficial outcomes of students and the community.
New Blackboard Portfolio Tool: Upgraded Features are Easy to Use
Students can share their academic, co-curricular, and professional accomplishments in unique ways to tell their stories using the Blackboard Portfolio tool. As students build their portfolios, they can include photos and videos, as well as upload any file as an artifact. Students can also integrate files they have submitted as Blackboard Assignments in any course they have taken at NIU.
NIU Brings lynda.com to Campus
Northern Illinois University students, faculty, and staff are the beneficiaries of a campus-wide license agreement recently signed by NIU and lynda.com, a video learning service with a broad and varied video library of engaging, top-quality courses taught by recognized industry experts.
Faculty and instructors may use lynda.com videos to supplement and enhance their course design, or recommend individual courses or videos as enrichment resources for students.
Enhancing Live Online Sessions with the New Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
Blackboard recently released an updated version of Blackboard Collaborate, the web conferencing tool many have relied on to provide opportunities for live interaction and personal connection in online and blended courses. Named 'Collaborate Ultra', the updated version offers a modern and streamlined interface for participating in a session, improved audio and video quality, and launches quickly and easily directly in a web browser (no Java needed!).
Faculty Student Relationships Tutorial
The faculty student relationship can be one of the most gratifying experiences for college students. Faculty who have positive relationships with their students during those interactions can help them succeed academically and increase their overall satisfaction with their educational experience at the university (Pascarella,1980; Fusani, 1994). However this can be achieved only when faculty demonstrate professional conduct in their interactions with students and promote a culture of mutual trust and respect. NIU has a new online resource that can provide guidance, support, and recommendations to faculty to promote positive interaction, and help preserve the safety of students, faculty, and the institution. The 'Faculty-Student Relationships: Maintaining Roles and Responsibilities' online tutorial is now available for viewing by all teaching staff, including faculty, instructors, and graduate teaching assistants.
Results of the 2015 Teaching Assistant Campus-wide Survey
During the spring 2015 semester, the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center conducted a survey of all Teaching Assistants at NIU. We send a similar survey every four years to teaching assistants, and survey all faculty and instructors every four years on an alternating schedule. This year, 135 teaching assistants responded to the survey. Nearly 87% of TAs who had attended our programs found the programs to be applicable to their teaching. Over 75% felt that participation in our programs was beneficial to students.
Fall 2015 Teaching Effectiveness Institute focused on Fundamental Principles of Effective Instruction and Student Feedback & Classroom Observations
Every fall semester the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center presents a two-day Teaching Effectiveness Institute. During the first day, ten invited presenters introduced some of the basic principles of teaching, shared information about teaching-related support resources available at NIU, and discussed how faculty can address students’ learning needs. Registered participants were given opportunities to network with the presenters and each other.
2015 Teaching Assistant Orientation
The annual Teaching Assistant Orientation provides an opportunity for new teaching assistants (TAs) to learn more about teaching and support services at Northern Illinois University. On the morning of August 19, 2915, the Duke Ellington Ballroom was filled with over 225 TAS as they gathered for a day of learning, preparing for their role as teaching assistants, and networking with fellow TAs. Joining them were 17 university faculty and staff who presented 19 presentations and breakout sessions.
Last Updated: 11/12/2015