Many faculty and staff members have received training for Canvas, Northwestern University’s learning management system, through two regularly offered core workshops: Introduction to Canvas and Grading & Assignments in Canvas. As Canvas has increasingly become a familiar presence in the faculty and student experience at Northwestern, Teaching & Learning Technologies (TLT) has sought to increase training opportunities for instructors pursuing digital learning initiatives in their teaching. Through a new series of workshops, TLT seeks to provide instructors with relevant and current digital learning strategies, while offering a new Advanced Digital Learning Instructor Certificate to participants who complete the series.
Through partnerships with Northwestern University Libraries, Media & Technology Innovation, and the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, Teaching & Learning Technologies is offering three workshops for instructors who have already completed the two Canvas introductory trainings. The new workshops include Reducing Course Costs with Open Educational Resources, Creating Pedagogically Sound Videos, and Course Mapping. Instructors who complete all three workshops will receive an Advanced Digital Learning Instructor Certificate from Teaching & Learning Technologies. Workshops will be offered at least once every quarter, and the workshops are also open to all instructors and staff, including those who do not intend to complete the series.
Advanced Digital Learning Instructor Certificate Series
Reducing Course Costs with Open Educational Resources
Open Educational Resources (OER) are free teaching and learning materials that allow instructors to modify, adapt, and reuse content for academic purposes. Traditional copyright and licensing practices for commercial textbooks introduce access barriers for students and limit the ways in which instructors can distribute and use the material.
“Studies have shown that as high as 60% of students report being unable to purchase a required textbook because of the cost, limiting their ability to fully participate in the course,” according to University Librarians Lauren McKeen and Chris Diaz, who co-created this workshop. “Using OER guarantees that students have access to their required readings on the first day of class.”
In this workshop, attendees will gain fluency in defining Open Educational Resources, identify recommended resources for finding and using OER within their disciplines, and connect with librarians who can partner with them to explore alternative course materials using OER and library materials.
Creating Pedagogically Sound Videos
This hands-on workshop includes a brief discussion about basic video production principles and both why and when to create video content for courses. Attendees will then have the opportunity to practice with easy-to-use recording and editing tools. According to Anna Luce, learning engineer and co-creator of this workshop, including videos in courses can be a great way to capture fundamental evergreen content that is easier for students to review than an in-person lecture. “It’s multisensory, engaging, and often the best way to portray visual explanations or demonstrations, and for online or blended courses, video can create a sense of teacher presence that may be difficult to achieve otherwise,” Luce said.
“Course mapping is a helpful process that allows instructors to thoroughly flesh out the components of a course,” said Reginald Jackson, senior learning engineer, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. This workshop guides faculty through the process of aligning course objectives with activities and assessments for a course. As Jackson described it, “The process of designing a course is like building a house; the course map serves as the blueprint used for construction.”
Register for an upcoming workshop session on Eventbrite. Find more detailed descriptions of each workshop by visiting the Canvas Workshops page. Instructors who complete all three sessions in this series will receive an Advanced Digital Learning Instructor Certificate from Teaching & Learning Technologies.
Workshops in Accessibility
TLT is also providing a workshop series in the incredibly important area of accessibility. Through a partnership with the Media and Design Studio and AccessibleNU, Teaching & Learning Technologies is offering a series of four workshops that guide instructors toward making their courses and course materials accessible to all students. “The accessibility series helps guide instructors through common student accommodations they may encounter, such as extra time for an exam or extended due dates,” according to Jonathan Diehl, senior learning engineer, who co-created the series. “We also offer tips on how to improve the accessibility and readability of course documents, presentations, and videos for students of all learning abilities,“ said Diehl.
The Accessibility Workshop Series includes the following sessions:
Accessibility 1: Accommodating Common Accommodations
Accessibility 2: Accessible Course Documents
Accessibility 3: Making Accessible Word Documents and PowerPoint Presentations
Accessibility 4: Video Captioning