OFDIT Newsletter November 2021

November 2021

Dear CUNY SPS Faculty,

It is the home stretch for Fall 2021 classes! We hope your classes are going well.

In this edition, we share information about the upcoming CUNY IT Conference in early December. We also announce exciting news: the first OFDIT Faculty Advisory Board (FAB) has convened, and our SPS media studio is back and ready to help with your multimedia needs. Speaking of exciting, please join us as we welcome our new OER Assistant, Kelly Hammond, to the OFDIT team. Please also see the important information about the upcoming Winter 2022 courses and the Blackboard Migration which will take place at the end of December.

Additionally, you will find information on the Reflective Pedagogy Reading Group and a quick note on helpful support email addresses. With special thanks to Clemente I Diaz, we also share our latest Faculty Corner submission.

At the end of our newsletter, we share the last few training sessions of the semester. As always, we look forward to seeing you there. Thank you for reading!

CUNY IT Conference December 2-3, 2021

The 20th Anniversary CUNY IT Conference, “Technologies for Teaching, Learning and Working at the Future CUNY – Utopias and Dystopias,” is co-organized this year by Bronwen Stine (IT), and features two presentations by CUNY SPS faculty and staff:

  • Arthur O’Connor, Jason Bryer, and Ana Machado of Information Systems and Data Science will be presenting “Online Diagnostics and Curated Content to Prep Non-STEM Majors for Data Science” on Thursday, December 2 at 2:30 pm.
  • Ruru Rusmin of OFDIT will moderate the panel on “Building Flex Abilities through the CUNY HyFlex Initiative and Seminar” on Friday, December 3 at 10:10 am.

For more information and to register for this free conference, please visit the conference registration site.

OFDIT Faculty Advisory Board (FAB)

The first OFDIT Faculty Advisory Board (FAB) has been selected. We thank everyone who stepped forward and offered to serve, and are looking forward to working together with FAB members! Please see our CUNY SPS OFDIT Faculty Advisory Board page for more details.

OFDIT Advisory Board 2021-22

  • John Bouma (ISDS)
  • Bradley Gardener (General Education/Communication and Media/ISDS)
  • Kenya Harris (Nursing)
  • Sarah Ruth Jacobs (Liberal Studies/Communication and Media/General Education)
  • Linda Paradiso (Nursing)
  • Jeanneth Sangurima-Quiles (General Education)
  • Chris Kchao (ex officio) (Office of Accessibility)
  • Bronwen Stine (ex officio) (IT)

The SPS Media Studio is Open!

A high quality video recording studio is available to faculty teaching at SPS! With the campus opened, OFDIT welcomes faculty back to the SPS Media Studio, located at 119 W. 31st Street. You may recall that our Media Studio has professional lights, microphones, and cameras. You can film in front of a green screen or projected slides. Try it out by recording a lecture, a faculty introduction, or even explain a difficult assignment. Make a high-quality video to use in your class. Furthermore, OFDIT staff are here to support you. We have a team to help with editing, post-processing, hosting, and captioning. If you’d like to use the Studio, it’s easy to book an appointment.

Contact us at: FacultySupport@sps.cuny.edu


The OER Initiative is happy to welcome our new OER Assistant, Kelly Hammond, who has a lot of experience and creativity to share with SPS faculty on Open Educational Resources, Open Pedagogy, and Digital Pedagogy.

Keep an eye on the OER@SPS page of the SPS Faculty Community Site for news on OER Initiative projects.

Winter 2022 Courses

The Winter semester is fast approaching! We recommend that you check your course sites to ensure they are ready for this upcoming Winter 2022 semester which starts on Monday, January 3rd, 2022. Our Course Site Checklist for Faculty, which contains links to our OFDIT quick guides, can be a helpful resource. As always, please feel free to reach out to facultysupport@sps.cuny.edu if you have any questions or need assistance.

Blackboard Migration and Unavailability 12/28 -12/30/2021

As many of you know, CUNY CIS upgrades Blackboard annually at the end of December. This Fall, CUNY will be migrating to Blackboard SaaS, a cloud computing environment. The change will have no pedagogical impact on CUNY faculty or students but Blackboard will be taken offline and remain inaccessible from Tuesday, December 28th through Thursday, December 30th, 2021.

Final grades are due the day before Blackboard becomes unavailable, but all faculty are encouraged to turn in grades as early as possible to avoid the risk of access issues.

  • Last day of regular classes: Monday, Dec. 13
  • Reading Day: Tuesday, Dec. 14
  • Final exams: Wednesday, Dec. 15 – Tuesday, Dec. 21
  • Grade rosters due: Monday, Dec. 27, 11:59
  • Blackboard migration: Tuesday, Dec. 28 through Thursday, Dec. 30
  • Start of Winter 2022 session: Monday, Jan. 3, 2022

Reflective Pedagogy Reading Group

The CUNY SPS Reflective Pedagogy Reading Group continues its fall meetings on Friday, November 19, noon-1 pm. We will discuss Vershawn Ashanti Young’s “2020 CCCC Chair’s Address: Say They Name in Black English: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Aura Rosser, Trayvon Martin, and the Need to Move Away from Writing to Literacies in CCCC and Rhetoric and Composition” (College composition and communication 72.4 (2020): 623–639. Print.) To RSVP, get a copy of the text, or ask any questions, please contact Melanie Lorek (Melanie.Lorek@cuny.edu). All are welcome!​

Need Help? Support Emails to Keep Handy

  1. Contact helpdesk@sps.cuny.edu for assistance with systems login, access and troubleshooting, use of CUNY SPS computing resources, or other technical issues.
  2. Faculty can contact facultysupport@sps.cuny.edu directly for assistance related to course materials, Blackboard, teaching tools and resources, training, or other teaching-related needs. Faculty support requests sent to HelpDesk are forwarded to us, so please email  facultysupport@sps.cuny.edu directly for fastest response.

Faculty Corner Submission: Curated and Free Resources on the Psychology of Work

“I add a link of helpful “Psychology of Work” resources to supplement my current course materials (podcasts, articles, videos, etc). The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP)’s Bridge Builders Committee has curated this extensive list of free educator and student resources. Some items you’ll find in the list include content summaries, PowerPoint slides, information on career paths, and a guest speaker directory. To see the full list visit this link: https://linktr.ee/SIOP_BB. I find students in my class utilize the resources for their own professional development (work psychology career paths, etc.). Please contact me with any questions at Clemente.Diaz@sps.cuny.edu.”

– Clemente I. Diaz, Adjunct Faculty, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, CUNY SPS, and Chair, Bridge Builders Committee,Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology (SIOP)

Thank you to Clemente for his submission! If you have a useful or interesting pedagogical or technical tip (in 200 words or less!) that you are excited about, we would love to hear from you and add your submission to our next Faculty Newsletter! Please use our Faculty Corner Submission Form to submit your pitch.

Fall Semester Training Sessions:

Student Engagement in Online Learning

Join us for a discussion of best practices for generating and sustaining student engagement in the virtual classroom. This training will review approaches to enhance student engagement, including different ways to present content, the role of feedback in sustaining engagement, activities to promote student interaction, active learning approaches, and connecting your course content to the real world. You’ll have an opportunity to discuss challenges and successes you’ve experienced and share strategies with colleagues.

Introduction to BB Mobile

Over half of participants in SPS’s New Student Orientation plan to use mobile devices as a part of their online learning experience – will your online courses transfer well into this interface? In this session, we will explore the Blackboard Mobile application and gain an understanding of how students experience learning on the go. We will also discuss the major interface differences between Blackboard Mobile and Blackboard for Desktop and best practices for online course design for mobile devices.

Trauma-Informed Pedagogy

Estimates of the percentage of the general population that had experienced trauma *before* the Covid-19 pandemic were in the 80% range. Since Spring 2020, the relevance of Trauma-Informed Pedagogy has become clearer, but what is trauma? How does it affect learning? What can educators do about it? Please join us for a discussion of the principles of Trauma-Informed Pedagogy and of strategies for implementing these in a practical way that supports both you and your students.

Blackboard Grading Tips

This training is all about grading! We will cover Grade Center basics, the Needs Grading area, Grade Center vs My Grades, how to create and use rubrics, and more!

As always, OFDIT is here to help with any questions you may have. We are available for one-on-one support and would be happy to schedule a Zoom call to discuss any questions you may have. You can contact us at facultysupport@sps.cuny.edu.

All the best,

Your OFDIT Team

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