High-Impact Practices (HIPs) are specific learning experiences that can have a high impact on students’ engagement and retention. These practices have been researched and tested in the field of higher education (Kuh, 2008). Successful HIPs engage students in a range of activities in which they interact with faculty and peers, experience diversity, focus on reflection and feedback, and participate in real-world applications. In addition, high-impact practices are closely tied to higher order learning opportunities in which students are fully engaged in their learning by analyzing, synthesizing, and creating new ideas and concepts of what they learn in and out of the classroom (Stephen F. Austin State University, 2014).
Student retention has been an important topic around campus recently. There are many factors that impact student retention, such as financial needs, family issues, and personal adjustment to university life, as well as curriculum, teaching methods, and academic advising. While many of these require campus-wide cooperation, there are also small changes you can make in your teaching to help students stay engaged and be successful in your courses. The way you use technology, like Blackboard, can help, but it is important to remember that reaching students really requires a personal touch. The most important way you can impact student retention is by making sure that students feel connected and know that you care about their success.
A useful new tool is now available to the NIU community, the Helix Media Library (HML). The HML is an on-campus streaming media server that allows faculty, students and staff to store media content (audio and video). Even more intriguing is that the HML is integrated with the Blackboard Learn course management system, making it easier to incorporate media into Blackboard courses by encoding and converting media so that it is optimized for streaming and able to play on most devices, including computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
It has never been easier to apply for the Faculty Development & Instructional Design Center Graduate Teaching Certificate! The application form is now available online at facdev.niu.edu/tacertapp. The certificate recognizes the participation of graduate teaching assistants (GA/RA/TAs) in the development programs offered by the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center. The certificate acknowledges these individuals' commitment to effective teaching and can enhance their academic credentials.
Over 200 graduate teaching assistants and presenters gathered in the Duke Ellington Ballroom on the morning of August 19, 2014 for a full day of learning and preparing for their role as teaching assistants. The annual Teaching Assistant Orientation provides an opportunity for new and returning teaching assistants to learn more about teaching and supporting students while networking with their fellow TAs. In the welcome, Dr. Bradley Bond, Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate School, summed up the value of graduate teaching assistants by saying, “All of your contributions are important to NIU’s teaching mission and can have a profound impact on our students.”
TA Connections is a newsletter for teaching assistants published every fall and spring semester by Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, Adams Hall 319, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois 60115. Phone: (815) 753-0595, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Fax: (815) 753-2595, Web site: www.niu.edu/facdev. For more information about featured articles or upcoming faculty development programs, please contact the Center at (815) 753-0595 or email@example.com
Last Updated: 11/20/2014