TA Connections Newsletter - Spring 2017

graduate teaching certificate

Congratulations to the 2016-2017 Recipients of the Graduate Teaching Certificate!

The Graduate Teaching Certificate acknowledges these individuals’ commitment to effective teaching and can enhance their academic credentials.


stop light with green light lit

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.


video with captions enabled

Video Captions: They are for Everyone

While one might assume that captions would be helpful primarily to students with a hearing impairment, in reality, all students with a range of abilities could also benefit.


blackboard course theme

Upgrade to Blackboard Coming in May

This year, Blackboard will be upgraded to the Q4 2016 Release, which consists of several exciting new features, including a new mobile-responsive theme, Assignment reminders and submission receipts, enhancements to Self and Peer Assessments, and more. Check them out!


courses listed in blackboard faculty tools and in my courses module

Course Request Process in Blackboard Now Faster with More Features

Thanks to a recent update by DoIT, course requests are now processed immediately, you receive an email notification when they are complete, and you have the option to make your course available automatically at a specified date. 


making a smart view a favorite

New Features for Combined Courses in Blackboard

When combining student enrollments from multiple course sections into a single Master Course, a Blackboard Group and Grade Center “Smart View” will automatically be created for each section, with students assigned to them according to the section they originally enrolled in. These will make assigning section-specific assignments, and grading section by section, easier.


88 percent of faculty and 95 percent of students at NIU use blackboard for at least one course

Trends in Blackboard Tool Usage at NIU – 2016

Blackboard Learn continues to be an important platform for facilitating teaching and learning at NIU with over 95% of students and 88% of teaching faculty using the system during fall 2016.


students raising paper stars at the cultural sensitivity panel

Recognizing and Embracing Cultural Communications and Sensitivity in the Classroom

The panel discussions were offered to help GTAs be sensitive in communicating with their students who represent a range of cultures who are potentially different than their own.


TA Connections is a newsletter for graduate teaching assistants published every fall and spring semester by Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center. For more information about featured articles or upcoming faculty development programs, please contact the Center at (815) 753-0595 or facdev@niu.edu

Last Updated: 04/13/2017

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