OFDIT Newsletter April 2023

Dear Faculty,

We hope that the break allowed for rest, productivity, or just time to recharge in some way!

In this edition of the newsletter, you’ll find an announcement about CUNY’s system-wide transition to a new LMS, Grade Center tips for final grade calculations, and a request for participation in FAB’s faculty development needs survey. We also invite you to join an upcoming SPS conversation about ChatGPT and other generative AI in the classroom. Finally, we share information about and registration links for OFDIT trainings and CUNY-wide professional learning sessions scheduled in April and May.

We’re excited to support your teaching, course design, and professional growth this spring!. Looking forward to seeing you at some of the events!

LMS Transition News!

Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost, Wendy Hensel, announced on April 3rd that after an extensive needs assessment and RFP process, CUNY will be transitioning to a new Learning Management System (LMS), D2L “Brightspace.” The transition will be phased over two years, and by Fall 2025, all courses will be delivered in Brightspace.

Preparatory work for the transition from Blackboard to Brightspace has begun, and information about the full governance framework, committee descriptions, an overview of the transition process, and a detailed timeline can be found on CUNY’s transition website.

OFDIT will be actively involved in the planning and transition, and will keep the CUNY SPS community informed as more information becomes available. We look forward to working with CUNY Office of Academic Affairs and Evan Silberman, CUNY Online University Executive Director, who is leading the transition. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to facultysupport@sps.cuny.edu or lmstransition@cuny.edu with questions, and keep an eye out for regular updates in our OFDIT newsletters.

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Survey from the OFDIT Faculty Advisory Board

The OFDIT Faculty Advisory Board invites your feedback about faculty development needs through this short survey.

The purpose of the survey is also to better understand your teaching experiences at our school. We realize that in the wake of the pandemic, there have been a lot of changes at our institution, and we want to be sure that programs and processes continue to meet your needs.

If you haven’t yet, please take a few minutes to make your voice heard!

Thank you!

Interested in serving on the Faculty Advisory Board in the next academic year? Please fill out our nomination form.

Teaching with Intelligence: Navigating AI in the Classroom

Friday, April 28, 12:00-1:00pm (Virtual Event)

All SPS faculty are invited to a discussion on ChatGPT and other generative AI in our classes. How do we gauge our students’ temperature and talk to them about it? What approach can we take if students do use it? What might we want to adjust in our course design and assessments?

Carolee Ramsay, Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards
Ruru Rusmin, Assistant Dean, Faculty Development and Instructional Technology

Register Here

Engagement Opportunities for SPS Faculty

Spring 2023 CITA Events

CUNY’s Innovative Teaching Academy will be offering the following opportunities:

Tuesday/Thursdays in April, 12:00 -1:00 PM (Partner Virtual Event)

Hunter College ACERT Presents: Lunchtime Seminars

“ChatGPT, what’s happening? Examples from the classroom (4/18)
“ChatGPT, what’s happening? An open conversation (4/20)”

Thursday, April 27: 4:00 – 6:00 PM (In-Person Event)

Transformative Learning in the Humanities, CUNY Graduate Center
“Transformative Power of Meaning: Poetics and Pedagogy with Tracie Morris”

Friday, April 28, 10:00 – 11:00 AM (Virtual Event)

CITA Teaching Matters presents:
“Environmental Justice Across Spaces”

Friday, May 12, 2:00-3:00 PM (Virtual Event)

Karin Beck, Mila Burns, Alyshia Gálvez, and Julie Maybee, Lehman College
“Teaching and Learning with Transformative Texts”

Special CITA Sessions: Learning Disruption

CITA is hosting cross-institutional conversations about learning disruption and other experiences resulting from the pandemic. There will be two sessions in the Spring 2023 Learning Disruption and Recovery Discussion Series (Virtual Event)

Session 1: Student Perspectives on Learning Disruption (Register Here)

  • Friday, April 21, 12-1pm
  • Welcome Remarks: Wendy F. Hensel, Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost
  • Discussion Moderated by: Salimatou Doumbouya, Chairperson of the University Student Senate and Student Trustee

Session 2: Faculty/Staff Perspectives on Learning Disruption (Register Here)

  • Friday, May 5, 12-1pm
  • Opening Presentations: Andrea Soonachan, University Dean for K-16 Initiatives; Sarah Truelsch, University Assistant Dean for Policy Research
  • Discussion Moderated by: Laura Baecher, Professor, School of Education, Hunter College

Please email innovative.pedagogy@cuny.edu if you have any questions.

Calculating Final Grades using Total Points/Weighted Total

As you prepare for the end of the Spring semester, a reminder that in Blackboard you can use Total Points or Weighted Total to calculate your final grades.

The Total Points column, created by default in Grade Center, calculates final grades by adding up all the points a student earned. If you select “Calculate as Running Total” and “percentage” as the Primary Display for the column settings, the total points the student earns is divided by the total points possible for their graded work, yielding the percentage.

Tip: Total Points will display the student’s grade based on the points earned on the work they have submitted out of the points possible for those submitted assignments. If a student has missed submitting an assignment, this Total Points calculation won’t be accurate unless you enter a manual grade of zero for the student in the related column. 

The Weighted Total column calculates final grades based on respective percentages assigned to categories or to individual columns. The final grade is calculated using the total of the student’s earned points on submitted work weighted according to the respective category or column percentage weights assigned.

Tip: While the Weighted Total column is also created by default in Blackboard, it will not calculate a final grade based on the courses’s grade percentage breakdown unless you assign weights to all graded items or categories. See our linked guide below to learn how to do this!

Please visit our quick guides for further Grade Center help, or contact us with any questions!

OFDIT Spring 2023 Trainings

Don’t forget to sign up for OFDIT’s trainings this spring! Our sessions are designed to encourage all faculty to add skills and get inspired about the tools available for your teaching!

Making Your Course Content Accessible with Ally 

Want to make your documents and Blackboard course content accessible but don’t know where to start? Join us for a training session to learn how! We will cover accessibility principles and provide practical tips on how to use Blackboard Ally to make your course files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and Blackboard content (such as font, headers, images, charts, graphs, hyperlinks) more accessible to all your students.

ePortfolio for SPS Faculty: An Introduction

If this is the first time you are using Digication’s ePortfolio in your course or if you need a quick refresher, this workshop will help both new and existing faculty get acquainted with ePortfolio. We will discuss the current practice of using ePortfolio at CUNY SPS, navigate through the tool in a course site, review the responsibilities of instructors when using ePortfolio, and showcase the various support resources available for both students and instructors. There will also be time to answer any questions you might have about ePortfolios at CUNY SPS.

VoiceThread for SPS Faculty

This training will introduce VoiceThread, an asynchronous video discussion board. VoiceThread allows faculty and students to create multimedia presentations that creates a classroom community through threaded audio and video discussions. You and your students can add commentary to a presentation by means of microphone, webcam, keyboard, or phone. The ensuing conversation feels like a live classroom, but in an online environment. In this session, SPS faculty will learn how to create a VoiceThread and integrate it into their Blackboard course.

Personalizing Your Panopto Video

As many of us have learned, using Panopto to create a video is a simple process. But many instructors have yet to unlock the powerful features inside Panopto that can transform video to maximize its impact. In this session, participants will look inside the Panopto video editor to discover tools for trimming or cutting video, adding additional content (ex. YouTube videos), or challenging students with in-video quizzes. Finally, we’ll review Panopto’s robust viewer analytics that tells us who has watched the video and for how long. Join us to make your next video go from good to great!

As always, OFDIT is here to help! We are available for one-on-one support and are also happy to schedule a Zoom call to discuss any questions you may have. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at facultysupport@sps.cuny.edu.

All the best,
Your OFDIT Team

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