Using Twitter for Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development

Have you wondered what Twitter is and what if any practical applications there are for teaching and learning? Perhaps you are among the 30% of faculty who now use Twitter in some capacity and you would like to learn some tips and tricks for better utilizing Twitter in education context. During this online session offered 11/30/2012 we introduced the basics of Twitter and explored best practices for using Twitter in teaching, learning and professional development.

For archives of other online workshops offered by NIU Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, visit our YouTube channel

Introduction to Social Bookmarking

Do you struggle to keep track of all your favorite websites and other online resources? Have you ever lost your folder of Internet bookmarks from your Web browser or wished you could access them from ANY computer? Would you like to share the links to your favorite online resources with your colleagues or students? Social bookmarking is a technique of storing, classifying, sharing and searching links through the practice of folksonomic tagging using a cloud-based service. During this online session on 10/31/2012 I introduced several popular free social bookmarking tools (Diigo, CiteUlike, Pinterest) and explored practical applications for implementing social bookmarking activities in the classroom. | view slides

For archives of other online workshops offered by NIU Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, visit our YouTube channel

Upgrading is Not an Uphill Battle: How NIU Easily Transitioned to Blackboard Collaborate

In July 2011, Blackboard announced the release of Blackboard Collaborate™ 11 web conferencing, the first product that combined the best of both Elluminate Live! and Wimba Classroom. Drawing from the best elements of these two long-competing products, it boasted a new, modern interface that represented a tremendous leap forward. However, it also meant that schools using Wimba Classroom faced an upgrade process that was more significant than any upgrade before. Wimba Classroom customers not only had to learn the new user interface, they also had to learn a new administrative system as well. In this presentation at 2012 SLATE Conference, learn how the technology team at Northern Illinois University balanced other technology upgrade initiatives and staffing requirements in order to ensure a smooth-yet-quick upgrade to Blackboard Collaborate, and ultimately, enjoyed a much easier upgrade experience than they anticipated.

2012 Presidential Award for Excellence

Jason Rhode receiving Presidential Award for Excellence from NIU President John Peters

I was honored to have been nominated for, and having received, the 2012 NIU Supportive Professional Staff Presidential Award for Excellence in recognition of “excellent performance and significant contributions to Northern Illinois University.” Only four such awards are given each year to NIU staff and the award can only be received once…so it was quite a humbling experience to have been honored in this way.

The best part of receiving the award was that my family was able to be a part of the awards ceremony, even though I think my two little girls had the most fun climbing up and down the stage before the ceremony 🙂

Rhode Family with NIU President John Peters, April 17, 2012

I look forward to many more years of serving the faculty and staff of NIU…forward, together forward!

Timesaving Tips Using the Blackboard Grade Center

The Blackboard Grade Center not only provides an easy-to-use interface for posting grades and feedback for students but also numerous advanced features including smart views, grading periods, and calculated columns for more easily accessing, entering, sorting, and managing grades in Blackboard. During this online workshop offered 3/30/2012 I shared proven tips and best practices for configuring the Blackboard Grade Center that will save you time and make it easier than ever before to post grades and provide feedback to students. Handout accompanying this session is available at

For archives of other online workshops offered by NIU Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, visit our YouTube channel