Faculty Center Initiatives in Support of Blackboard Instruction

To facilitate this unprecedented conversion to remote learning, many things had to happen in the background.

The Faculty Center team, consisting of Kristen Lindtvedt, Fausto Canela, and Michael Castelli, has worked tirelessly to help you.

Their effort consists of a five-part plan of training that started on Friday, Mar. 13 with the following phases:

  1. Emergency Triage/Curriculum Transfer (classroom to fully online)
  2. Immersion in the Online Environment (fully online basics training and support)
  3. Higher-Level, Pedagogy-Focused Training (Asynchronous Strategies, Bb Tool focused)
  4. Finals – Required Functions and Tasks (Communication, Grading/Rubrics, Dealing w/ Student Work)
  5. Looking toward Summer and Beyond (Survey Results, Strategic Planning, and Training Implementation)

The team is currently in the middle of stage 4 and beginning the survey building for stage 5.

To give you an idea of the extent of the work, below are some numbers:

Phase 1: Emergency Triage/Curriculum Transfer (Mar. 13 – 27) – In this phase, the team worked/trained strictly to complete the shift, upload, and seat faculty course modalities into the fully online environment. During this phase:

  • 48 Total Workshops (5five per day)
  • 485 Total Faculty Participants

Phase 2: Immersion in the Online Environment (Mar. 28 – Apr. 3), In this phase, the team offered more formal training in the Blackboard environment, creating online course content, and transferring/creating grades in the fully online environment. The team also started offering synchronous chat and Q&A sessions. During this phase:

  • 25 Total Workshops (five per day)
  • 70 Total Faculty Participants, (this is the week there were sign-up problems)

Phase 3: Higher-Level, Pedagogy-Focused Training (Apr. 4 – 17), In this phase, the team shifted to intermediate and higher-level, pedagogy-focused training, focusing on asynchronous strategies/most effective methods, synchronous tool security/most effective methods , organization practices for online content, virtual communication strategies, and building/deploying tests online. The team also continued offering synchronous chat and Q&A sessions. During this phase:

  • 50 Total Workshops (five per day)
  • 244 Total Faculty Participants

Phase 4: Finals – Required Functions and Tasks (April 20 – May 1), In this phase, the team shifted to intermediate and higher-level, end of semester/finals-focused training that included topics such as, asynchronous communication strategies, synchronous presentation strategies/most effective methods, collecting/reviewing/grading student work, calculating grades both numerically and using weighted percentages, inputting rubrics online, and troubleshooting student issues when taking tests/quizzes. We also continued offering synchronous chat and Q&A sessions. As of Apr. 28:

  • 25 Workshops as of 4/28
  • 104 Faculty Participants as of 4/28

In addition to the formal workshops and assistance session, the team has completed thus far over the course of the training phases completed, as of 4/28 the team has:

  • Answered 3,731 individual assistance emails from teaching faculty and staff.
  • Completed 90 one-on-one virtual training sessions with teaching faculty.
  • Created 128 new Blackboard Organizations and seven new sandbox courses to support academic departments, administration, and tutors.
  • Completed the pilot testing for the Respondus lockdown browser and proctoring software in collaboration with CUNY Central.
  • Started coordinating the Online Teaching Effectiveness training with the Chancellor’s Office and the School of Professional Studies for all CSI faculty who will be teaching in the Summer 2020.

In these final days of the semester and beyond, Kristen, Fausto and Michael will continue to support you in all ways possible.

Please continue to use the resources available to you through the Faculty Center Hub in Blackboard – as an instructor, you have automatic access.

By Ralf Peetz and Michael Parrish