Updated Academic Integrity Online Tutorials Available

Online tutorials on academic integrity, previously developed in 2005 and made available in part through the “Project for Improvement of Undergraduate Education” grant by the Northern Illinois University Committee for the Improvement of Undergraduate Education, have been updated and have been re-released at go.niu.edu/academic-integrity

Academic Integrity Tutorials

The purpose of these tutorials is to promote academic integrity at Northern Illinois University by increasing students’ awareness of the issues, offering strategies for students to protect themselves from academic dishonesty situations, and increasing faculty’s awareness of the issues and offering them strategies to address academic dishonesty incidents effectively. These tutorials are intended for self-paced learning by students and faculty and can be used as an educational resource to supplement classroom discussions on academic integrity. Over the past 12 months, the academic integrity tutorials have been view by more than 10,000 users and average over 1,300 hits each month.

Both a student tutorial and faculty tutorial are available. The tutorials are available to the public and can be accessed without any required login or password.

Faculty can use the tutorial as part of their classroom discussions on academic integrity and encourage students to review the content and complete the activities as part of a course activity. Students who complete the student tutorial successfully can print a certificate of completion which can by submitted as verification of their completion.

Special thanks to the staff of Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center for updating the tutorials and migrating them to NIU’s latest web templates.

Quality Online Teaching: Managing the Online Teaching Workload

We often tell students that they need to be organized to manage their workload when they take an online course. But, it is even more important for you to manage your own time when teaching an online course. The lack of pre-defined, scheduled class times, combined with navigating the tools for online grading and communication can make it feel overwhelming. This archived online workshop will introduce you to some strategies for keeping up with the course, techniques that can save you time, and best practices to manage student expectations of you, including some simple suggestions for saving time and increasing your efficiency.

Quality Online Course Series: 7 Online Workshops with Tips for Designing Quality Online Courses

Quality Online Course SeriesIn Spring 2015, Northern Illinois University Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center developed and offered for the first time a series of 7 online workshops sharing principles, best practices, and tips for designing and developing quality online courses. The workshops were archived and available for on-demand viewing below or directly within the series playlist on YouTube. Kudos to my NIU colleagues, Stephanie Richter and Tracy Miller, for developing and offering the series!

Ensuring Quality in Your Online Course

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How do you know if your online course is good? More importantly, how do you make it better? In this archived workshop offered 1/23/15, you will learn about why quality is important and how to create more student-centered online courses by using the Quality Matters rubric (a nationally-recognized benchmark for online course design based on research-supported best practices). After viewing this archived online workshop, you will be prepared to develop or improve an online course that is designed to promote student learning. View archived workshop »

Learning Objectives and Assessments

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Once you have established objectives and the assessments to measure them, the next step is to create and/or curate course content and instructional materials to support the learning objectives. It is also important to clearly explain the purpose, source, and alignment of instructional materials. In this archived online workshop offered 2/13/15, you will learn about creating and curating course content from quality sources as well as communicating them to your students. View archived workshop »

Course Content & Instructional Materials

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Once you have established objectives and the assessments to measure them, the next step is to create and/or curate course content and instructional materials to support the learning objectives. It is also important to clearly explain the purpose, source, and alignment of instructional materials. In this archived online workshop offered 2/27/15, you will learn about creating and curating course content from quality sources as well as communicating them to your students. View archived workshop »

Course Activities & Student Engagement

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How do you encourage students to be fully engaged in an online course? By designing engaging and active, which foster interaction with you, the other students, and the content. In this archived online workshop offered 1/27/16, you will be introduced to some strategies to build learning activities which connect to your course objectives, as well as engage students in their own learning. View archived workshop »

Promoting Learning with Technology

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In an online course, technology is necessary for connecting with students, engaging them in learning, and assessing their knowledge. It’s important to choose the right tools that support the learning objectives but are also obtainable and suitable for student use. In this online workshop offered 3/20/15, you will learn how to ensure technology in an online course supports learning and discover some tools you can incorporate into an online course. View archived workshop »

Accessibility, Usability, & Student Support

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Online students can feel isolated, but they don’t have to be. In this online workshop offered 4/10/2015, you will explore how usability and accessibility can set students up for success. You will also learn how to connect students with valuable support services. View archived workshop »

Getting Students Started

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Now that you have designed a high quality online course based on the other standards, you are ready to introduce it to your students. Set the right tone and support student success by helping them get started with a welcome message, a course tour, or a navigation guide. In this online workshop offered 4/24/2015 we will explore best practices for introducing course structure to your students and building community View archived workshop »

Blackboard Relaunches Exemplary Course Program


As a long-time proponent of Blackboard’s Exemplary Course Program, I was pleased to see a tweet from Deb Everhart last week announcing that Blackboard has relaunched its Exemplary Course Program, which had been on hiatus since this past year.

Bb Exemplary Course Program RubricFor those unfamiliar with the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program (ECP), it began in 2000 with the goal of identifying and disseminating best practices for designing high quality courses. The core of the program is the ECP Rubric, which defines key characteristics of high quality courses within the framework of Course Design, Interaction and Collaboration, Assessment, and Learner Support. Thousands of instructors, teachers, and designers have used the Exemplary Course Program to evaluate and improve their courses with recognized best practices.

For more information about the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program, visit blackboard.com/ecp. You can also tour an example course that received the exemplary course distinction.

Sample Blackboard Portfolio Layouts

Sample Portfolio Sarah JohnsonWith the recent upgrade to Blackboard Learn 9.1 April 2014 release at Northern Illinois University, we enabled the Blackboard Portfolio tool, designed to help students maintain documentation of their education, samples of their work, and evidence of their skills. ePortfolios, such as the Blackboard Portfolio, contain an organized collection of artifacts (for example, assignments, photos, video) as evidence of accomplishments.

To help students and faculty get a better feel for the layout options as well as media elements that can be included in a Blackboard Portfolio, I created the following sample Blackboard Portfolios to demonstrate the layout and organizational options available:

Sample Layout 1: Left Vertical Navigation

Sample Layout 1

View portfolio using layout 1

Sample Layout 2: Right Vertical Navigation

Sample Layout 2

View portfolio using layout 2

Sample Layout 3: Right Navigation Box

Sample Layout 3

View portfolio using layout 3

Sample Layout 4: Top Horizontal Navigation

Sample Layout 4

View portfolio using layout 4

The layouts shown above all use the same default color scheme, which can be customized in any layout to a wide variety of color palettes.

Here are a few additional screenshots shared by Blackboard showing a few additional sample portfolios.

More Blackboard Portfolio Resources

The NIU Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center is developing a comprehensive set of documentation, guides, and tutorials for faculty and students in their use of the Blackboard Portfolio tool. Visit niu.edu/blackboard/students/portfolios for more info.

Has your institutional implemented the Blackboard Portfolio tool? Leave a comment and let’s connect.