Academy News - August 16, 2021
Fall 2021 Opening Week: August 17-20

Fall 2021 Opening Week starts tomorrow! There are a variety of events to check out this week. View the Opening Week Schedule.

Take a special look at Thursday, August 19. The morning offers a quick succession of presentations by colleagues on a range of topics. There are two virtual rooms (Session A and Session B) featuring a different topic every 20 minutes. Stay in one session or move between them during the 5-minute breaks to learn about the topics that most interest you. The afternoon offers drop-in sessions, many of which allow for greater exploration of topics covered in the morning.
Academy & Blackboard Support: How to Get Help

The Academy is here to support all full-time and adjunct faculty. During the Fall 2021 semester, we will continue to be available remotely during our normal business hours. In addition, Academy staff will now be available (on a rotating basis) on campus Monday through Thursday for drop-in support.

Additional resources and links to assist you this semester:
Fall 2021 Syllabus Template

The Fall 2021 version of the of the Harper College syllabus template is available on the Harper Syllabus webpage. This version supports a variety of course modalities. It contains several important updates, including the Student Support Resources section to reflect the current student success, wellness, and safety resources available on campus and virtually for the fall semester. You can download the Fall 2021 syllabus template here or visit the Harper Syllabus webpage for more information.

Also check out the Fall 2021 Resources page for information about the Fall 2021 Blackboard Course Template as well as other resources to help you in your fall course preparations.
Blackboard Ally: Now Available in all Blackboard Courses

We’re excited to announce a new tool now available in Blackboard called Ally. Ally is a course content accessibility tool that integrates with Blackboard, allowing instructors to address accessibility issues. Ally also provides alternative formats for course files, which gives students the ability to download course content in a format that meets their needs. By improving the learning experience for all students, Ally helps to support Harper’s commitment to a more inclusive campus.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure, don’t worry – Ally is a tool to help start the conversation about how your materials can be made more accessible for all students. In fact, many accessibility practices make it easier to manage documents, which can be a timesaver for faculty. Remember, you are not alone! The Academy has resources, workshops, and staff to help and support the use of Ally.

View ways to learn more about Ally, examples of what appears for students and instructors, and more.

Don't miss the 15-minute Ally presentation and Ally drop-in session this week.
Equity Teaching Academy
Register Now for Fall GECs

Register now for a Fall 2021 Graduate Equivalency Course (GEC). All Harper College faculty (full-time and adjunct) can register for GECs at no cost.

  • Exploring Multilingualism and Multiculturalism in the Community College Classroom in the U.S. Socio-Political Context
  • Equity Teaching Academy: Examine for Equity and Reflect on Equity
  • Teaching Online Successfully: Create, Facilitate, and Enhance
  • Creating an Accessible Learning Environment for Students with Disabilities

This video provides an overview of Harper's completion model, Flight of the Hawks Prepare to SOAR. Learn about the Search, Onboard, Advance, and Realize components of the model and see how they positively impact the student experience at Harper. You will also receive some tips and suggestions for supporting students and contributing to this model.

Register now for Fall 2021 credit workshop (CEU) offerings. All Harper College faculty (full-time and adjunct) can register for any of these offerings at no cost. Learn more and register using the link above.

Register now for the 8th Annual Adjunct Faculty Teaching & Learning Conference on September 23. The conference features keynote speaker, Flower Darby, along with perspectives from Harper adjunct faculty, a fun and interactive Quiplash session, raffles, and more! Learn more and register using the link above.

Get in touch with the Library to discuss instruction service options, including an embedded librarian paired with your course in Blackboard, a synchronous learning session with a librarian, help selecting videos or other learning materials, and more. Use the link above for explanation of instruction offerings and the request form.

Need a Harper ID? Whether you need a new ID or want to replace an old one, you are able to get one on campus. View hours and learn more using the link above.

If you would like to be involved in Shared Governance - the process to gather input and develop recommendations that may result in institutional policy and/or address campus needs - here's your opportunity. See vacancies for FY 2021-2022 and learn more about participating in Shared Governance and who to contact using the link above.
Student Learning
flower darby
13th Annual Assessment Conference and Share Fair: September 24

Submitted by the Learning Assessment Committee

Save the date for the 13th Annual Assessment Conference and Share Fair! Featured speaker, Flower Darby will share her perspectives on exploring equitable and engaging evidence-based practices for online teaching and assessment. Additional sessions on assessment will be presented by Harper faculty and staff.

Faculty Experience
Welcome Messages Helpful to Students Trying to Navigate the Start of the Semester

Submitted by Stephanie Whalen, Academy Chair, English & Interdisciplinary Studies

Although we may believe that students have all the information they need when they register for classes, many still have questions such as what materials they need, where and when they need to engage with the course, and when they will be able to access Blackboard.

A classic example of student confusion involves a student realizing too late that TR on their schedule means a course meets on Tuesday AND Thursday; some students figure that out by the first week of classes, and others miss a Thursday or two before they realize that R means Thursday in our system. Given the increased variety of ways we are offering instruction and our pandemic-related class size limitations, there is additional start-up information that students may need to feel fully-prepared for the semester.

Continue reading... (sample pre-semester welcome message template included!)
Online Learning
Increasing Student Engagement During Synchronous Online Classes

Whether you are teaching a fully “Live” course this semester, or an “Anytime” or “Blended” course with some live sessions, this article, which provides simple ideas of how to keep students engaged, is for you.

Take a look and discover strategies for building relationships, giving participation cues, structuring break-out rooms, and checking for understanding during synchronous sessions.

Upcoming Professional Development Credit Opportunities
August 23 - October 3 (GECs: 3) registration deadline: August 19

August 31 - October 5 (GECs: 3) registration deadline: August 17

August 31, 10 a.m. (CEUs: 1.0)
September 1, 1 p.m. (CEUs: 1.0)
September 2, 4:30 p.m. (CEUs: 1.0)

September 13 - September 26 (GECs: 1) registration deadline: August 30
What's Happening @ Harper?
Academy for Teaching Excellence | 847.925.6174 | Building F, Room F317
Monday - Thursday, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
The mission of the Academy for Teaching Excellence is to create a vibrant teaching and learning culture for full-time and adjunct faculty that cultivates professional development in support of student success.
Accessibility: Individuals with disabilities who would like to request an accommodation or who have questions about physical access may contact the event host or Access and Disability Services at, 847.925.6266, at least two weeks in advance of the event date.
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