Faculty Corner

Humanizing Online Learning with Curtis Izen

Click to play videoMatt Lewis talks to Curtis Izen, a full-time Senior Computer Information Associate at Baruch College and Adjunct Faculty with the CUNY SPS Online Business Program, about humanizing online learning. They define this topic as strategies that make the virtual learning experience more personal, interactive, and engaging for students. Humanizing online learning is a vast topic, Curtis and Matt focus their discussion on one tool that can help build a sense of community and connection among students. Watch the interview to learn how Curtis converted traditional threaded discussions into asynchronous video discussion boards using VoiceThread and, according to Curtis, “never looked back.”

Follow this link for more information on VoiceThread at SPS or email the OFDIT team at: Faculty.Support@sps.cuny.edu

Reflective Learning with Linda Paradiso

Reflective Learning with Linda ParadisoReflection is an essential part of the learning process. Some argue that achieving deep learning is enabled through the process of reflection. In this Faculty Corner discussion, CUNY SPS professor Dr. Linda Paradiso provides insight into the power of reflection and how Reflective Learning deepens learning for students in the Nursing Organizational Leadership program.

Previous Faculty Corner Submissions

The Faculty Corner offers teaching strategies and tips collected from CUNY SPS faculty. Do you have a great teaching tip?  Please submit your ideas to the form below.  On this page you’ll find:

Notifying Your Students Outside Of Blackboard

The archetypal method to send announcements or email to your entire class is through Blackboard. How would you contact your students if Blackboard was down or you are traveling and don’t want to use the Blackboard app to inform your class of important information?

I create an Outlook distribution list of my student’s SPS emails each semester by downloading the roster from CUNY First. Follow this link to learn how to Notify Students Outside Blackboard.

– Curtis Izen

Using VoiceThread to Break the Ice

One of the challenges with online pedagogy is students and instructors going through the entire course without knowing their classmates. In my BUS 325 Principles of MIS course, everyone has an opportunity to see, hear and learn from their peers. An effective way to accomplish this is through VoiceThread, an asynchronous video discussion tool.

In week one I ask students to make a video comment and introduce themselves via their webcam. It also allows those who may not be comfortable speaking in front of a camera to break out of their comfort zone. Since VoiceThread integrates with BlackBoard and uses a web platform, no download is required and it works on Windows and Apple platforms.

Next, students watch and listen to their classmate’s video comments. They are required to reply to one or more video comments using either audio or video. I appreciate how this creates relationships among students. I’ve seen them make connections from prior classes, working in the same company, living in the same town, and more.

Using VoiceThread for this initial assignment generates implausible enthusiasm among the students. They have a sense of belonging and are ultimately more engaged throughout the course.

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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Color Coding your Grade Center

“The Blackboard Grade Center has several tools that help manage your course grades. In my BUS 325, Principles of MIS course, I use the Grade Center’s color coding feature to get a “birds-eye” view of my assignments and the entire class. With just a glance at the Grade Center, this feature lets me see if a student needs additional help with a topic, is struggling in the course, or if the class is struggling with a particular assignment. I’ve set up color coding to display high or low scores and the status of a grade. To get started with Color Coding in Grade C
enter, OFDIT has prepared this brief tutorial.
– Curtis Izen
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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)

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Using the “Send Reminder” Feature in Blackboard

“In my BUS 325 Principles of MIS, I send email reminders through the Grade Center instead of sending emails through Blackboard or from my college email to remind students of missing work. Using the Send Reminders feature in the Grade Center automatically sends a system-generated email to all students missing work for that assignment. This feature eliminates the time spent searching the Grade Center for students that have not yet submitted. It also helps the entire class avoid notifications (or reminders) about work they already completed.”
-Curtis Izen

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Faculty Corner Submission Form

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! 


Submit your idea here:
Faculty Corner Submission Form