These guides offer information for new faculty as well as tips for equity in teaching, effective teaching and technology integration.

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Equity in Teaching Guides

New Faculty Guides

  • New Employee Welcome
    This site will provide you with the information and resources you need to help you be successful and productive in your new position.

  • Syllabus Toolkit
    This toolkit includes guides, checklists and syllabus statements for designing an effective, student-centered syllabus with NIU syllabus policy.

  • Faculty Mentoring Program
    The faculty mentoring program seeks to support new and junior faculty members; familiarize them with university expectations, practices and resources; maximize satisfaction, productivity and retention; and increase inclusiveness, collegiality and morale across campus.

  • Support Units for NIU Faculty
    This guide provides a quick overview and contact information to the support units that new faculty often connect with for support for their teaching, research, scholarship and artistry.

Teaching Effectiveness Guides

  • Active Learning Activities
    Here you will find several activities that can be used in any classroom to engage students as well as to monitor student learning / understanding.

  • Assessing Student Learning
    An overview of learning assessment is provided, with several goals: 1) to define student learning assessment and why it is important, 2) to discuss several approaches that may help to guide and refine student assessment, 3) to address various methods of student assessment, including the test and the essay, and 4) to offer several resources for further research.

  • Communicating with Students in Times of Uncertainty
    Practical suggestions for how to communicate with students about challenges they may be facing during an individual or collective crisis, including example language and talking points for responding to concerns that many students are facing.

  • Course Transformation Support and Resources
    Resources and support available in support of course transformation at NIU.

  • Direct Versus Indirect Assessment of Student Learning
    It is important to understand the distinction between direct and indirect evidence of student learning. A few considerations, examples, and answers to frequently asked questions are provided.

  • Examples of Classroom Assessment Techniques
    There are hundreds of variations of classroom assessment techniques. These are some of the more commonly known techniques.

  • Flexible Teaching
    Flexible Teaching is an approach to course design and delivery that helps students learn and succeed in any mode: face-to-face, online, or hybrid. It starts with the principles of course design to create a flexible, resilient course that can withstand any change in modality or delivery.

  • Fostering Engagement and Students' Sense of Belonging
    Resources and efforts to promote engagement and students' sense of belonging at NIU.

  • How to Teach a Good First Day of Class
    The first day of class is crucial both for your students and for you. This guide will help you make opening day as effective as possible.

  • Increase Student Engagement in Online Courses
    This guide is a compilation of recommendations shared by NIU faculty and staff for promoting increased engagement in online courses.

  • Instructional Guide for University Faculty and Teaching Assistants
    This guide is a brief compilation of teaching-related information from several sources, including instructional guidebooks from other institutions, journals, and contributions from master teachers and academic support units at Northern Illinois University.

  • Interactive Techniques
    Compendium of interactive instructional techniques categorized by instructional context.

  • Mid-term Check-in Reflection Questions
    Sample reflection questions for survey or discussion with students as well as faculty to reflect on their teaching practices and make adjustments mid-term .

  • Navigate Resources and Job Aids
    NIU Navigate connects students, advisors and services to promote academic planning and success. It has uses for both students and faculty/staff members, aimed at improving student success, retention and graduation rates. See the available training and support resources to assist you with using the Navigate platform.

  • Online Teaching Principles
    Derived from research-based best practices, these principles are intended to supplement the QM Higher Education course design rubric and the NIU Online Course Essentials to guide effective facilitation of online and hybrid courses at Northern Illinois University.

  • Options for Delivering Exams via Virtual Instruction
    As you consider your options for delivering exams while teaching virtually, remember to exhibit equity, kindness, generosity and patience with your students. There are several options for you to rethink or deliver your exams via virtual instruction. You may want to consider one or multiple of these recommendations.

  • Preparing to Teach for the First Time
    Have you been invited to teach a course for the very first time and wondering where to begin? This guide provides tips and resources for getting started.

  • Starting Off Right with the Syllabus
    We can create more engaging and inspiring ways to begin a clas. Here are some concrete ideas for how to do so.

  • Strategies for Starting the Semester Well
    Whether you have been teaching for several years or are beginning to teach your very first semester, being prepared for the start of the semester will help make the transition successful for you and your students. These strategies you can use the first day and into the first weeks of the semester that will help you create an engaging, motivating, and organized classroom environment.

  • Student Success Resources
    You are encouraged to incorporate these academic support resources into your teaching and to refer students to utilize the services available for their academic success.

  • Student Success Tips and Tools
    These tips and practical strategies for student success, geared for a student audience, can be shared with your students.

  • Supporting Disappearing Students
    Every semester there are a number of students who receive failing grades not because they performed poorly on assessments, but because they stopped attending class and submitting assignments, or because they never attended. How do we reach these disappearing and missing students?

  • Syllabus Checklist
    Design a course syllabus to best meet your teaching style, course content, activities, and departmental requirements. Consider creating a learner-centered syllabus that targets student learning and success!

  • Learner-Centered Syllabus Design Guide
    Effective syllabi are learner-centered, meaning they move beyond the mechanics of a course (i.e. office hours, deadlines, and textbooks) to outline how students can be successful in a course.

  • Teaching at NIU for the First Time
    Teaching for the first time at a new university can be enjoyable and daunting at the same time. Whether you are an experienced teacher or new to the profession, being prepared to teach at a new institution will help you transition and succeed in your new environment. This guide contains information on course policies, teaching policies, and teaching-related resources to help you start your teaching career at NIU successfully!

  • Teaching a Course on Short Notice
    This guide addresses two situations: being asked to teach a course that begins very soon, and being asked to take over a course that someone else was teaching, sometime after the semester has begun.

  • Tense Times in the Classroom Activities and Handouts
    Handouts, activities and strategies for managing tense topics and difficult moments in the classroom and to foster dialogue, discussion and empathy.

  • Transparent Assignment Checklist
    In-depth checklist for designing course assignments that clearly articulate to students the purpose, task, and criteria for success.

  • Transparent Assignment Template
    Template for designing course assignments that clearly articulate to students the purpose, task, and criteria for success.

  • Workload Estimator
    Tool for estimating the course workload for the courses you teach.
  • Writing Content Notices for Sensitive Content NEW
    Content notices give people the forewarning necessary for them to make use of the strategies that will decrease the harmfulness of encountering triggering material. Content notices are not intended to permit students to skip class or censor your material.

Technology Integration Guides

Miscellaneous Guides

  • Brainstorming
    Guide discussing techniques that will help you start writing a paper and continue writing through the challenges of the revising process.

  • Effective Email Communications
    Guide to help students, faculty, and University professionals learn to use email more effectively. It can help you determine whether email is the best mode of communication in a particular situation and write messages that successfully convey your meaning to your intended audience.

  • Tips for Graduate Students Seeking Assistantships
    Tips recommended by several units on campus that offer excellent advice for those seeking graduate employment

Contact Us

Center for Innovative
Teaching and Learning

Phone: 815-753-0595

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