Academy News - February 10, 2021
Tech Week
Tech Week 2021: February 24-26

Harper’s 3rd Annual Tech Week is going online! This year we will be connecting and engaging virtually in three days of drop-in events, captivating talks, and workshops. Download the full Tech Week & Tech Expo schedule.

Highlights include:
  • Tech Expo - February 26 (view schedule)
  • Keynote with Carl Hooker - February 25 (learn more)
  • Discover the streaming media platforms available through the Harper library.
  • Learn more about the various Harper systems with an Employee Technical Skills Trainer.
  • Attend a special pre-event Captioning Method workshop (registration required).
  • … and much more.

Win prizes! Each session you attend during Tech Week will give you an entry into the prize drawing!

The 5 Ws of Group Work

In a recent Harper survey, students reported experiencing some challenges while participating in group work. Due to the continued online format of most courses this term, as well as the true value of student collaboration, let’s discover ways to best plan our group work activities to eliminate some of our students’ challenges. After the workshop, faculty members will have the option to create a complete plan for a group activity in one of their academic courses.

faculty retreat
Faculty Retreat: Register by February 15

All Harper faculty (full-time & adjunct) are invited to attend this year's virtual Faculty Retreat, Simpler Times: An Afternoon of Reflection and Connection, on April 9.

Please join us for a relaxed program with activities that include a motivational opening about how to engage students amidst chaos, story time with a popular podcaster in higher education, rest time for restoration and contemplation in the style of your choice, and play time in which you can join in one of several activities designed to leave you with ideas for your own virtual classroom. View the full agenda.

Learn More & Register (Register by February 15 to have a box of retreat materials sent to your home)
Partnering for Student Success

The first set of Spring 2021 Starfish Progress Surveys launched on February 8, and are due by February 28. Completing your Progress Surveys continues to be the easiest and quickest way to provide student feedback and referrals. However, you may raise a flag or kudo at any point in the semester through Starfish. Once you raise a flag for one of your students, their assigned advisor will reach out to the student and offer support.

As this semester gets underway, partnering with Advising Services and the Academic Support Centers for proactive support of students is more important than ever.

Professional Development Day: Share Your Expertise

The inaugural Professional Development Day is March 18. There will be no scheduled classes, and the college will be closed to students. Closing the college to students creates a day for every Harper faculty and staff member to fully commit themselves to professional development. By collectively releasing us from our regular work commitments on a common day, we can come together as a community to learn and grow. To support this effort, the college is developing a full day of professional development programming – we would love for you to share your expertise with your colleagues. If you are interested in presenting a professional development session, please review the call for proposals summary and submit your application by February 19.

Academy & Blackboard Support: How to Get Help

The Academy is here to help all full-time and adjunct faculty at Harper. Here are the ways to get instructional and Blackboard support through the Academy:

Check out this fun video we made to remind you of the three ways to give us a shout!
Online Instruction Support & Resources

Here are important resources to help you this semester:

Please review the resources above and let us know how we can continue to support you. For additional support, please reach out to us.
There are a variety of upcoming programs focusing on equity pedagogies and practices, accessibility, and connecting with students. Learn more and register using the link above. You can also access recordings of some recent workshops in the "On-Demand Programs" section of this webpage.

The application cycle for the Level II Adjunct Faculty Engagement Program 2021 is now open. Use the link above to learn more and watch the recording of the virtual info session held on February 3.

Join us for our seventh Town Hall, 1:30 p.m. on February 23. Dr. Jacqueline Korpics, attending physician, COVID-19 lead and pediatrician, Cook County Department of Public Health, will be our guest speaker.

Streamline your remote work processes by learning best practices for using Teams, VPN, Remote Desktop and more. The Employee Technical Skills Training team has sessions to help you save time, energy, and frustration by working smarter not harder. View training topics and session dates/times using the link above.

The Resource for Excellence Grant application period is open until March 8. Up to $100,000 will be available for projects that are innovative and creative, and support one or more of the college's strategic goals. Anyone interested in learning more about the RFE program or how to write a grant proposal should attend a grant application workshop. The last workshop is on February 16 - register now.

Tenured, full-time faculty who have attained a minimum of one promotion as a Harper faculty member are invited to apply for the Faculty Director position. Please use the link above to review the position terms and duties/responsibilities, ensure you meet the minimum qualifications, and discuss the opportunity with your Dean before applying. Applications are due by February 19.

From 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on February 25, join your colleagues, family, friends, and even pets for a home-based scavenger hunt. Do you still own anything from your childhood? What item could you not leave behind if you had to evacuate your home due to a zombie apocalypse? Join the fun and find out! Prizes will be awarded. Register by February 22.

With monthly updates and weekly patches/fixes on our Blackboard Server, we want to keep you up to date on all that is happening in real time with Blackboard. We’ve created a “Blackboard Known Issues/Updates” page that we will update weekly. You can toggle between the Known Issues/Updates pages in the top right corner of the page. We suggest you check this page for the latest updates and fixes. Please bookmark the link above.
Student Learning
Help Students Learn the Difference Between "Real" and "Fake" Information

Submitted by Jim Edstrom, Resources for Learning

Do you want to help students across campus know the difference between “real” and “fake” information? Join the newly formed Information Literacy Community of Practice!

The Information Literacy Community of Practice seeks to explore the concept of information literacy—how to teach and incorporate it across departments at Harper College. The issue has assumed particular importance in an era in which students are confronted with the problem of clearly distinguishing between substantive, objective information, and “fake news.”

Professional Development Opportunity

Submitted by the Learning Assessment Committee

Would you like to learn how other community colleges are improving student learning? Are you seeking new ways to infuse assessment techniques? Are you exploring professional development opportunities to improve student success? Attend the 25th Annual Illinois Community College Assessment Fair: Assessment Work is Equity Work!

  • Date: Friday, February 26
  • Time: 8 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
  • Location: Held Virtually at the College of DuPage – Glen Ellyn, IL

If interested, please contact Deann Surdo at for more information.
Faculty Experience
Teaching During a Pandemic

This classroom looks a bit different than the one Dr. Monica Edwards would run in Building J, when she is able to offer in-person classes. Switching to online learning has given Monica the opportunity to rethink her approach to teaching.

One strategy that Monica has employed is journaling because it gives her a good glimpse into her students’ online learning lives. “I reach out to my students 5 to 6 times per week (via announcements that are also emailed),” noted Monica. “I hear from them that this really makes them feel connected and cared for.” She also makes her own captioned videos and uses Padlet to make Blackboard more colorful. “I have optional live review sessions (that are also recorded for those who can’t attend)."

Online Learning
Blackboard Assist - New Feature!

Blackboard has introduced a new feature this semester called Blackboard Assist. Blackboard Assist is a student success hub for campus and online resources, available on the desktop version or from anywhere with the Blackboard mobile app.

This tool provides an opportunity to build awareness of and highlight Harper resources including academic and student support, health and wellness, and student life so students can find the help they need.

Upcoming Professional Development Credit Opportunities
February 11, 10 a.m. (CEUs: 0.05)

February 15 - February 28 (GECs: 1) registration closed

February 16, 12 p.m. (CEUs: 0.1)

February 16, 3 p.m. (CEUs: 0.15)

February 17, 2 p.m. (CEUs: 0.3)

February 23, 4 p.m. (CEUs: 0.1)
March 5, 11 a.m. (CEUs: 0.1)

March 8 - March 21 (GECs: 1) register by: February 22
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.
Harper College enriches its diverse communities by providing quality, affordable, and accessible education. Harper College, in collaboration with its partners, inspires the transformation of individual lives, the workforce, and society.