Accessible Classroom: Faculty and Staff Toolkit
The Accessible Classroom: Faculty and Staff Toolkit is a resource community on Blackboard. This community contains information on creating and using accessible content in your courses, as well as remediating inaccessible content. All faculty and staff have access to this community on Blackboard. You can open the “Accessible Classroom: Faculty and Staff Toolkit” from here if you are logged into Blackboard.
Adobe Acrobat Pro
Adobe Acrobat Pro is a PDF reader and editor that can be used to check and correct the accessibility of a PDF Document. Adobe Acrobat Pro should already be installed on all campus office computers; if it is not currently installed on your office computer or if you are using on a personal computer while working remotely due to the pandemic, Adobe Acrobat Pro can be installed by request.
Course Planner Template
For faculty planning courses with online asynchronous components AND synchronous components, either online or seated, it is important to plan for those segments of the class to intersect for greatest effectiveness. “Training: Developing a Blended Learning Course” covers course planning and provides a downloadable Course Planner Template. You can open Module 1, Lesson 2: Planning Your Curriculum from here if you are already logged into Blackboard.
An Accessible Syllabus Template is provided for faculty use though the collaboration of the Provost’s Office and the Office of Instructional Technology. This syllabus template provides the information and notices required by the Provost’s Office and other campus departments and is structured in an accessible way to meet the needs of students with disabilities.
After you have created folders in Blackboard, you can begin adding content to the proper folder. There are many different types of content that can be added to Blackboard including documents, audio and video (linked from an external video platform like Knowmia), links, and images. Additionally, you can also create some content in Blackboard through tools like “items.”
Module 5 of “Training: Developing a Blended Learning Course” discusses the main ways of adding content to Blackboard through four lessons. You can open Module 5 from here if you are already logged into Blackboard.
Learn more about creating accessible content [link to Accessible Classroom: Faculty and Staff Toolkit]
Adobe Creative Cloud License
Temporary Adobe Creative Cloud Licenses can be requested by students on a per-semester basis based on eligibility. To learn more about the requirements for qualifying for a temporary license, visit the Adobe Creative Cloud License Request page for information and to submit a request.
Best Practices for Recording Lectures
Learn best practices for recording lectures. This includes pedagogical best practices for planning the lecture, as well as technical tips and suggestions for producing high-quality, accessible content.
From: “Training: Developing a Blended Learning Course” You can open Module 4, Lesson 3 from here if you are already logged into Blackboard.
Best Practices for Written Content
There are many types of written content that can enhance your course. Read through suggestions of different types of written content and learn how to make this content accessible so it is available and useful to all learners.
From: “Training: Developing a Blended Learning Course” You can open Module 4, Lesson 2 from here if you are already logged into Blackboard.
Blackboard Ally is an accessibility checking tool that is integrated into Blackboard. As documents and images are posted, Ally checks the accessibility of the content and gives it a score. If accessibility issues are detected, Ally will provide information on how the content can be remediated to improve accessibility. To learn more about Blackboard Ally, you can open the “Accessible Classroom: Faculty and Staff Toolkit” from here if you are already logged into Blackboard.
Blackboard Assignments (Bb Annotate) and Turnitin
Blackboard offers two ways to create assignments: Blackboard Assignments and Turnitin, which is a plagiarism detection tool.
Learn more in Module 7 of “Training: Developing a Blended Learning Course.” You can open Module 7: Creating Assessments from here if you are already logged into Blackboard.
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is a web-conferencing platform that is integrated within the Blackboard Learning Management system. Users who have either an “instructor” or “leader” role in Blackboard can initiate Collaborate Ultra sessions, which can then be used by all “students” or “participants” in the course. If a session is recorded, the recording will also be stored in the Collaborate Ultra area of the Blackboard Course.
Blackboard Content Editor (or Text Editor)
Many parts of Blackboard contain the Content Editor, also known as the Text Editor. This editor can be used to add content directly to Blackboard or to provide contextual information when attaching a file, creating a weblink, or adding documents.
Learn more about the Content/Text Editor in “Training: Developing a Blended Learning Course.” You can open Module 5, Lesson 1 from here if you are already logged into Blackboard.
Blended Learning Training
The course “Training: Developing a Blended Learning Course” is an eight module, asynchronous training course for faculty who want to learn more about developing courses with online modalities. It covers the planning, design, and building phases of the course development process. Faculty who are new to online teaching are encouraged to go through the course in its entirety, but it can also be used as a reference guide for more experienced faculty looking to build or improve certain skills.
Staying in regular contact with students throughout the semester is an important way to engage them and to ensure that they feel connected to the class, as well as to you, as the faculty member. Learn more about using various means of communication in online classes to improve the sense of community in your classes in “Training: Developing a Blended Learning Course.” You can open Module 3: Communicating Effectively from here if you are already logged into Blackboard.
Creating a folder structure for the content, assignments, and assessments in your course provides your students with a clear framework for the course. If students know that everything they need for a unit or module of the course is in one folder, it greatly reduces their need to look in other parts of the course or to fear they are missing something.
You can learn more about Adding Content Folders and how to create them in Module 2, Lesson 2 of “Training: Developing a Blended Learning Course.” You can open Module 2, Lesson 2 from here if you are already logged into Blackboard.
When linking to articles in the library databases from Blackboard, it is important to make sure the link will bring your user directly to the resource without having to login again. You can ensure this is the case by checking for the Library Proxy script at the beginning of the link. To learn more about creating effective links to library resources, see the “Permalink” article on the Library website.
Information about library Permalinks is also included in “Training: Developing a Blended Learning Course.” You can open Module 4, Lesson 4: Library Resources from here if you are already logged into Blackboard.
Default Main Menu (Blackboard)
One of the critical elements of maintaining consistent course design is using the default main menu in Blackboard. This sets the structure for the rest of the class and reduces the amount of time students need to take relearning the course environment of every individual course. The Default Main Menu is covered in Module 2, Lesson 1 of “Training: Developing a Blended Learning course,” including why a consistent menu is important; a layout of the default structure; and a video orientation showing the purpose of each section. You can open Module 2, Lesson 1 from here if you are already logged into Blackboard.
Employee Assistance Program
The Employee Assistance Program is “a comprehensive worksite-based program to assist faculty and staff in the prevention, early intervention and resolution of problems that may impact job performance. These include but are not limited to: emotional, family, work stress, legal, financial, grief, change, marital/relationship, alcohol/drug or domestic violence.” Learn more on the Employee Assistance Program website.
Ensemble is our legacy multimedia storage platform. It has been utilized for a number of years to house faculty and staff audio and video content. Though Ensemble is still available, any faculty or staff member looking to store their multimedia content is encouraged to make use of Knowmia [insert link to Knowmia entry], instead. Ensemble is not as robust as Knowmia and does not offer any recording functionality. Ensemble also lacks the automated closed captioning feature, which is an essential first step in creating accessible content.
Faculty Contemplative Group
The SUNY New Paltz Faculty/Staff Contemplative Group (FSCG) invites employees to semi-monthly gatherings to explore and discuss contemplative approaches to education. For over nine years, the FSCG has created a safe, supportive and mindful space for the college’s community to learn, share and grow both professionally and personally.
Using materials developed in the group, the FSCG has hosted faculty retreats, co-facilitated several campus departmental staff trainings, and presented at conferences. If you’re interested in a contemplative workshop or attending the group, you’re welcome to contact us at email@example.com
Faculty Guide to the Remote Library
The Sojourner Truth Library has provided information on how to easily navigate the library remotely. To learn more about these resources, please check the Faculty Guide to Remote Library on the library website. Updated information will be posted here, as it becomes available.
The faculty mentor program piloted in Fall 2020 and will continue into Spring 2021. Faculty mentors are experienced online instructors who have gotten additional training in available instructional technologies and who will hold office hours and schedule appointments to assist other faculty. Each school has at least one mentor, though it is fine to reach out to mentors in other schools, as well, for new perspectives.
Grades and Grade Center
Planning for, building, and maintaining an up-to-date Grade Center provides transparency in any course, but is especially useful in online modalities because it allows students to be more self-sufficient in monitoring their grades. Once you have built your courses, including all assignments and assessments, it is not difficult to put together a grade center that will be easy to maintain throughout the semester.
From “Training: Developing a Blended Learning Course.” You can open Module 8 from here if you are already logged into Blackboard.
View Grade Center articles for Faculty on support.newpaltz.edu
“Hawksites” is the New Paltz branding for our campus WordPress integration (through an educational platform called CampusPress). All faculty, staff, and students can create their own Hawksites for course or professional purposes. To get started with Hawksites, go to hawksites.newpaltz.edu and login with your New Paltz username and password.
Knowmia is a multimedia platform that offers webcam and screen capture; recording via a mobile app for smartphones and tablets; a video storage library; basic video editing tools; and engagement tools like quizzes and conversations. This service is available to all current faculty, staff, and students and can be accessed by going to newpaltz.knowmia.com and logging in with your New Paltz username and password.
In Blackboard, the term “learning tools” refers to the four primary asynchronous tools that can be used in any course: Discussion Board, Blogs, Journals, and Wikis. One or more of these tools can be used in a course and it is important to understand their applications, benefits, and potential drawbacks as they relate to different assignments. A tool which works well for one type of assignment, may not be ideal for another.
Learn more in Module 6 of “Training: Developing a Blended Learning Course.” You can open Module 6 from here if you are already logged into Blackboard.
LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) is a video tutorial platform with thousands of videos on topics ranging from technology to business to customer service to health and wellness. This service is available to all current faculty, staff, and students and can be accessed by logging in to my.newpaltz.edu.
Manage Main Menu
Though we strongly recommend not editing the default main menu in your Blackboard course, in some instances it is appropriate to make specific and judicious changes. For example, if you are running a synchronous online course, it is beneficial to put the link to the web-conference service on the main menu since that is something students will need to access regularly throughout the semester.
If you would like to add a tool link, you can learn how through the article How to Add a Tool Link to the Main Menu. You do, however, want to make sure the new menu item is added to the right section [see the Default Main Menu section] to keep the menu as consistent as possible.
Microsoft Teams is available through the campus Office 365 license, however this product is not currently fully supported by IT Support. If you have a specific need for this product (i.e. web-conferencing with enhanced security (ex. HIPPA compliance)) you can request a Teams site through support.newpaltz.edu.
Tutorials for Teams are available through LinkedIn Learning.
New Paltz Default Blackboard Shell
The New Paltz Default Shell is a course template in Blackboard that is pre-built with features that take into consideration course design best practices and also follow the SUNY Course Quality Rubric (OSCQR)
Office of Instructional Technology (OIT) Events
View upcoming workshops and training offerings on the OIT Events Calendar.
Online or Hybrid Development
To learn more about becoming fully certified to teach online or hybrid courses you can review the procedure document or application document [Link Needed], which are both also available in my.newpaltz.edu.
Application for full certification is only appropriate for faculty who are planning on continuing to teach online or hybrid modalities beyond the period of the transition to remote learning due to COVID-19. Be sure to check application deadlines to ensure that you are considered for the desired semester.
An archive of recorded training and workshop webinars offered by the Office of Instructional Technology can be found on the ITS Support Site. These recordings cover most major aspects of Blackboard, as well as other instructional technology tools offered by the campus.
Support Your Mental Health During Challenging Times
In this learning path from LinkedIn Learning, learn science-based skills to support your mental health during challenging times. These courses cover topics such as building resilience, minding your mind while working from home, avoiding burnout, managing difficult feelings, and managing your emotions.
Go to the learning path: “Support your Mental Health During Challenging Times”
Tests and Surveys
Blackboard provides faculty with the ability to create and deploy tests and surveys. Tests and surveys can use many different question types and these types can be blended together into one assessment.
Learn more in Module 7 of “Training: Developing a Blended Learning Course.” You can open Module 7: Creating Assessments from here if you are already logged into Blackboard.
It is also possible to create video content with embedded quiz questions in Knowmia, which is a great way to assess student engagement with video content. If you import a Knowmia video into Blackboard the quiz grade will sync with the Blackboard grade center.
Time on Task
Understanding Time on Task will help faculty figure out how much time students should be spending on the course each week and, if the course is not fully asynchronous, how to distribute these hours between the synchronous or in-person portions of the course and the asynchronous environment.
Learn more in “Training: Developing a Blended Learning Course.” You can open Module 1, Lesson 1: Time on Task from here if you are already logged into Blackboard.
Webex is a web-conferencing platform that is available to all current faculty, staff, and students. There are two versions of Webex available: Webex Meetings is the most commonly used version for meetings and class sessions, while Webex Events can be an option for large-scale events, especially if registration is required. Faculty using Webex for class sessions can use the Webex integration in Blackboard to schedule meetings and automatically have recordings sent to the Blackboard course.
In this learning path the Office of Instructional Technology has curated a number of videos and courses that may help users successfully find a Work/Life Balance.
Go to the learning path: “Work Life Balance”
Working from Home
Optimize working remotely in this set of online courses from LinkedIn Learning—whether you’re new to remote work or not, and whether you’re leading a team or part of a team involving distributed team members. Discover how to be productive and stay connected when working from home or other remote environments.
Go to the learning path: “Remote Working: Setting Yourself and Your Teams Up for Success”