OFDIT Newsletter March 2024

Dear Faculty,

We are looking forward to the Summer semester launch of course delivery in Brightspace, and excited to share information about upcoming trainings and workshops for you to get ready to do your best teaching in our new LMS. We also want to announce the SPS Brightspace Day event, remind you of a Friday lunchtime Open Spring discussion session, and highlight a Faculty Forum on Generative AI in the SPS classroom.

We welcome you to spring ahead into a great month of growth opportunity!

Brightspace Update 

Brightspace Day is April 15th – Save the Date! 

Mark your calendar, Monday, April 15th – it’s Brightspace Day! The OFDIT Team is busy preparing a day of activities to ready SPS faculty and staff for a smooth transition to our new learning management system, Brightspace, where all classes will be delivered starting Summer 2024. You can expect both in-person and virtual support sessions with interactive demonstrations, a showcase of best practices and strategies, and hands-on work with your dev site or course site. It will be a good opportunity to log in, explore the environment, and ask us anything!

Brightspace Evening Training Sessions

Feeling ready to prep and teach your courses this summer and fall? CUNY Central will be running their cycle of Brightspace trainings on the following dates and times. Register using the links below:

Other training opportunities, both self-paced and facilitated, can be found on the training page of our CUNY SPS Brightspace Transition site. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at brightspace@sps.cuny.edu

Upcoming SPS Events

March is Open Spring at CUNY SPS!

The OER Initiative is sponsoring the Open for All Workshop & Discussion Series (March 1-28), a hybrid online (sync/async) workshop on best practices at the intersection of Open Education and Inclusive Pedagogy. There is still time to catch the last synchronous online discussion on the theme of representation, accessibility and inclusion, and student agency. Open to the whole SPS community!

      • Friday, March 22 (12:00-1:30pm ET) Meeting 3: Student Voice and Choice: How are students invited to represent themselves within the course? Within the field? How can they be given the chance to contribute to the knowledge community of the classroom and of the field at large?

For more information and registration, see the link below.

More Information

Faculty Forum on Generative AI
in the CUNY SPS Classroom 

Thursday, March 28, 2024 from 12:00-1:00pm ET (Virtual)
Facilitators: Richard Schumaker and Kate Moss

Organized and sponsored by the OFDIT Faculty Advisory Board, this discussion will focus on your experiences as faculty with generative AI (such as ChatGPT, Bard, and DALL-E2) in CUNY SPS classrooms. There have already been a number of informational and how-to sessions both CUNY-wide and at SPS about generative AI, so our focus in this session will be on the AI policies, experiences, questions, and needs of our faculty.

In this one-hour interactive session, we would like to acknowledge the wide range of approaches faculty are already taking with generative AI. You will be invited to share your class AI policies (if any), to share your experiences with using generative AI in your 2023-24 classes, and to share your questions and support needs with generative AI going forward.

Depending on the number of participants, this forum may include participation in discipline-specific breakout rooms where faculty can articulate their questions, concerns, and suggestions.

Register Here

Humanizing Online Learning with VoiceThread

Tuesday, April 2, 2024 from 2:00-3:00pm ET (Virtual)
Facilitators: Curtis Izen and Matthew Lewis

Join us to see how VoiceThread can transform the virtual classroom through fostering human connections. For over eight years, Curtis Izen, Senior Computer Information Associate at Baruch College and Adjunct Faculty with the CUNY SPS Online Business Program, has taught with VoiceThread, a tool that makes asynchronous conversations feel live and in-person. By incorporating VoiceThread into various course components, Curtis has seen distant boundaries between students eliminated, a strong community element built, relationships among students both academically and professionally flourish, and an increased self-confidence in presentation skills among his students. And in the age of generative AI, VoiceThread interactions help to ensure authentic student work through the spoken word. Assessing students is pedagogically thorough.

Register Here

Engagement Events for SPS Faculty

15th Annual CUNY Accessibility Conference

Theme: Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges: Creating a Culture of Accessibility and Inclusion
One-day, in-person event at John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Monday, May 13th, 2024 from 10:00am to 4:00pm ET

Featured speakers this year include CUNY SPS’ own Andrew Marcum, Academic Director of Disability Studies!

See the conference website for the Call for Proposals (due: March 25th) and to register for the event.

Disability and Accessibility Training by CUNY Office of Faculty Affairs

March 19, 2024 from 4:00-5:30pm ET
March 21, 2024 from 12:00-1:30pm ET

In partnership with the CUNY Office of Student Inclusion Initiatives and Disability Programs, the CUNY Office of Faculty Affairs is offering faculty training and development on Disability & Accessibility this semester, including three sessions on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles (see their website for more details, session dates, and links to register), as well as several faculty drop-in office hours for hands-on support and feedback. Upcoming drop-in hours will focus on the following:

Audit your course materials and make your syllabi more accessible.

CUNY Learning Mindset Modules

The CUNY Central Office of Faculty Affairs (FA) and the CUNY Innovative Teaching Academy (CITA) are very happy to share with you the CUNY Learning Mindset Modules for Student Success, newly created in the CUNY Academic Commons. The modules are self-paced, asynchronous professional development resources for faculty that cover three learning mindsets (Growth mindset, Purpose and relevance, and Sense of belonging: collectively called Mindset GPS) that promote student motivation and success. Currently, the modules are set up in a way that they are available for anyone at CUNY with an Academic Commons account. If you do not have an Academic Commons account, please follow these instructions.

Introduction to Manifold (Two-Part Series)

This workshop series presented by the GC Manifold @CUNY team will begin with an overview of the Manifold digital publishing platform, including the new authoring feature, and explore how it is being used at CUNY to create beautiful, dynamic, multimedia-rich digital projects and Open Educational Resources (OERs) such as custom versions of public domain texts, multi-text course readers, class projects, and journals.

Part II is the hands-on portion where participants will create their own Manifold project, learn how to customize the layout and add texts and resources. Facilitators will provide all the digital materials needed but participants are welcome to use their own epubs, Word .docx files, Google docs, images, YouTube videos, etc. See this post for more information on this series and related Manifold events.


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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