NIU Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center Releases 2013-2014 Annual Report

It’s my pleasure to announce the completion of the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center annual report for the 2013-14 academic year. This year, we created a new digital annual report that is available at Below are a few highlights.

During 2013-2014, the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center contributed to Northern Illinois University's mission "…to promote excellence and engagement in teaching and learning, research and scholarship, creativity and artistry, and outreach and service" by collaborating with various academic and support units to meet the ongoing and emerging needs of NIU faculty, staff, administrators, and graduate teaching assistants in their teaching, technology integration, professional development, and related needs. This marked the fifteenth full academic year of operation for the Center since we were reorganized in August 1998. Some of our significant accomplishments this year include:

  • Offering 143 programs for 1,663 participants, which totaled 5,421 hours of professional development
  • Conducting 1,018 consultations with 367 unique faculty, instructors, staff, and graduate teaching assistants from 80 academic and support units
  • Serving on 26 committees, councils, and organizations within NIU and the broader Faculty Development community
  • Being recognized with 8 awards, both as a unit and as individuals, for commitment and contributions to NIU, teaching effectiveness, technology integration, and the broader Faculty Development community.

2013-2014 Annual Report Infographic

Feel free to explore and learn more about our activities and accomplishments from the past year.


Jason Rhode, Ph.D.

EDUCAUSE 2014 Study of Students and Information Technology

Since 2004, EDUCAUSE has partnered with higher education institutions to investigate the technologies that matter most to undergraduate students. In 2014, the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research technology survey was sent to approximately 1.5 million students at 213 institutions, yielding 75,306 responses across 15 countries. This year’s findings are based on a stratified random sample of 10,000 U.S. respondents and shed light on a number of topics.

Study 2014 Infographic

General student technology experiences and expectations

  • Technology is embedded into students’ lives, and students are generally inclined to use and to have favorable attitudes toward technology. However, technology has only a moderate influence on students’ active involvement in particular courses or as a connector with other students and faculty.
  • Students’ academic use of technology is widespread but not deep. They are particularly interested in expanding the use of a few specific technologies.
  • Most students look online or to family or friends for technology support. The minority who use institutional help desks report positive experiences.

Anytime, anywhere access to learning that is enabled by device proliferation

  • More students own mobile devices now than ever. Although students rate network performance as generally good, projected increases in connected devices could soon challenge even the most robust campus networks.
  • Many students use mobile devices for academic purposes. Their in-class use is more likely when instructors encourage such use; however, both faculty and students are concerned about their potential for distraction.

Learning environments

  • More students than ever have experienced a digital learning environment. The majority say they learn best with a blend of online and face-to-face work.
  • Undergraduates value the learning management system (LMS) as critical to their student experience but rarely make full use of it. Today’s undergraduates want a mobile-friendly, highly personalized, and engaging LMS experience.
  • Most students support institutional use of their data to advise them on academic progress in courses and programs. Many of the analytic functions students seek already exist in contemporary LMSs.
  • Few undergraduates have taken a massive open online course (MOOC). Students still view traditional college degrees as the gold standard for résumés. Few students would include digital badges, e-portfolios, or competency creden- tials on their résumés.

Although technology is omnipresent in the lives of students, leveraging technology as a tool to engage students is still evolving. We know from looking at longitudinal data from past student studies that students still have a complex relationship with tech- nology; they recognize its value, but they still need guidance when it comes to using technology in meaningful and engaging ways for academics. Students are still ready to use their mobile devices more for academics, but we haven’t yet seen widespread application of this. Students also still prefer blended learning environments, and their expectations are increasing for these hybrid online/face-to-face experiences.

The following study materials and resources are available:

Designing Competency-Based Self-Paced Online Workshops for Introducing Faculty to Online Teaching Technologies

ALN14 Presentation Header

Wed, 10/28/14, 12:00-12:35pm
Southern Hemisphere I

During this session at the 20th Annual Online Learning Consortium International Conference, learn about Northern Illinois University’s innovative faculty development initiative to offer introductory online technology training via self-paced online workshops as a component of comprehensive online faculty certification. An overview of the process identifying technology competencies for online teaching was shared as well as the design, development, and implementation phases of the project, highlighting lessons learned and tips for other institutions interested in pursuing a similar self-paced model for scaling their faculty development efforts. Accompanying slides are available here and links included in slides shared below.

Resource Links

Designing Exemplary Online Courses in Blackboard

Bb Exemplary Course RubricDuring this presentation by Jason Rhode at the 12th annual SLATE Conference on 10/23/14, we explored suggested best practices included in the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Rubric for designing engaging online courses. Jason shared practical tips from his experience building a course in Blackboard that meets the established ECP quality benchmarks. We also covered the steps and associated deadlines for faculty interested in submitting their course for consideration as a Blackboard Exemplary Course. This session was geared toward an audience already familiar with the basic online teaching tools available in Blackboard Learn. While the examples shared were specifically of courses in Blackboard, the principles can be applied to developing quality online courses in any learning management system.

Resource Links

My Presentation Schedule at 12th Annual SLATE Conference, Oct. 22-24, 2014

SLATE14On October 22-24, 2014, I’ll be attending and presenting at the 12th Annual SLATE (Supporting Learning And Technology in Education) Conference, hosted at Northern Illinois University, Naperville. This conference invites all faculty, system administrators, CIO’s, Web developers, instructional designers, librarians, students, and user support staff from institutions that are deploying and/or currently using any Web-based tools, applications or programs, in their teaching and learning. Presentations offer a wide variety of best practices for incorporating and supporting technology in teaching and learning.

I’ll be involved in giving three different presentations during the conference. For those who will be attending the conference, I hope you’ll join me for any of these topics that may be of interest to you:

Designing Exemplary Online Courses in Blackboard

Presenter: Jason Rhode, Northern Illinois University
Thu, 10/23, 11:00-11:50am, Auditorium
Join us to explore suggested best practices included in the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Rubric for designing engaging online courses. The presenter will share practical tips from his experience building a course in Blackboard that meets the estab- lished ECP quality benchmarks. We’ll also cover the steps and associated deadlines for faculty interested in submitting their course for consideration as a Blackboard Exemplary Course. This session is geared toward an audience already familiar with the basic online teaching tools available in Blackboard Learn.

Contemporary Issues in Higher Education and Online Learning

Presenters: Carol Scheidenhelm, Loyola University Chicago; Jason Rhode, Northern Illinois University
Thu, 10/23, 2:00-2:50pm, Room 162
At a recent meeting of the University Professional & Continuing Education Association Center for Online Leadership & Strategy, the presenters participated in a roundtable discussion of issues relevant to online teaching and learning in higher education. Participants had the opportunity to share their experiences with issues, policies and road blocks to educating “contemporary” students, resulting in a recently-released federal policy brief. We thought it would be productive to bring this type of discussion to our SLATE Conference participants and provide them an opportunity to come up with a listing of the most pressing issues in higher education today. The list will be shared with the SLATE leadership and may help guide topics for discussion in the 2014-15 SLATE meetings.

Where eLearning Meets Faculty Development: Providing Seamless Online Program Development Support Services

Presenters: Aline Click, Northern Illinois University; Jason Rhode, Northern Illinois University
Thu, 10/23, 4:00-4:50pm, Room 162
While there is no single strategy for effectively supporting online teaching and learning, common faculty support needs related to online teaching practices and online course development exist at every institution. Join us for this panel presentation to learn about one institution’s collaborative approach to providing comprehensive support for new online program development. The conversation will focus on the specific online course development services as well as online teaching support programs, resources, and services offered for faculty.

For those in the Chicago area, there is still time to register to attend the conference in person, details at There is even a single-day option available for those who want to just come for 1 day. For those who can’t attend in person, feel free to follow the conference @slateconference and hashtag #slate14