Academy News - June 9, 2021
Blackboard Ally: Help Improve the Learning Experience for All Students

We’re excited to announce a new tool that will be available starting August 9 in Blackboard called Ally. Ally provides you guidance on how to correct accessibility issues within your digital course content, which means your learning materials will work better with assistive technologies as well as on mobile phones and tablets.

Ally helps support Harper’s commitment to a more inclusive campus by improving the learning experience for all students. The main functions of Ally are also timesavers for instructors. These functions include:
  • Generating alternative formats of content so students can choose to download the format that meets their needs. The alternative formats don’t affect your original files and allow students to access formats such as an HTML version for their phone, an ePub version for their tablet, an MP3 version for audio, and electronic braille for braille readers.
  • Providing feedback and leading the instructor through the steps needed to improve the accessibility of content.

A pilot of Ally was recently completed by a group of faculty who signed on to try Ally in their courses this past school year. Instructors who used the Ally tool shared overwhelmingly positive feedback on Ally’s ease of use and the instructors also noted the knowledge they gained about course accessibility.

View an infographic for more insight and learn more.
Swivl: Video Option for the Classroom

In preparation for the Fall 2021 semester, we are offering an opportunity for instructors to learn more about the Swivl, which is a video recording option for the classroom. The Swivl is a robotic mount that works with a mobile device to easily capture presentations, lectures, and more. The Swivl offers one touch recording and is designed to track the presenter, record audio, and even screen-share. The Swivl can also connect with web-conferencing tools to give students a view of the classroom, the board, and instructor, while maintaining audio quality. Recordings are instantly uploaded to the Swivl cloud, where the videos can be easily shared. Here’s is a brief overview video of how the Swivl works.

Learn More (& register for an online demo with the Academy!)
pascuala herrera
Summer Reading and Reflection: Not Always a Valley of Tears

Join us in reading and reflecting on Not Always a Valley of Tears: A Memoir of a Life Well Lived by Pascuala Herrera, Harper Professor Emeritus and long-time counselor and advocate in Access and Disability Services. Professor Herrera will read selected passages of her book and provide some insight into issues of race, ethnicity, immigration, language, disability, and education and labor opportunities relevant to understanding our students’ needs. The program includes breakout discussions and reflections with the author. The first 50 people to register can request a free copy of the e-book.

library instruction
Request Summer & Fall Library Instruction

Submitted by Jennifer Lau-Bond, Library Services

Did you know the Library offers instruction services during summer? Get in touch today to discuss your 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. For the fall, we’ll continue offering our full line up of online instruction as well as some face-to-face options. Send in your request early to save your spot. (No need to have all your assignment details in place! Just let us know you'd like to work with a librarian so we can add you to our schedule.) For a full explanation of our instruction offerings and a link to our request form, visit our Library and Information Literacy Instruction page.
Exploring Multilingualism and Multiculturalism in the Community College Classroom in the U.S. Socio-Political Context (new GEC!)

This course explores the relationship between language, culture, and the socio-political context and their relevance to community college students. This course focuses on culture and belonging, language and identity, illiteracy in the USA, “non-standard” Englishes, bilingualism/multilingualism, and communication between cultures through the lens of respect and a social justice framework.

escape room
Shivering Spines: An Escape Room Challenge for Harper Faculty

At the Faculty Retreat, several brave faculty took on Shivering Spines: A Haunted House Escape Room. The faculty who participated in the challenge at the retreat “escaped” in 10 minutes! Do you think you can beat them? Take a quick break and try your hand at the Faculty Retreat Escape Room! If you need help, here is the answer key.

Want to see a faculty’s digital escape room in action? Check out Health Careers faculty Jeanne Leifheit’s 2021 Tech Expo presentation The Great Escape! Creating a Virtual Escape Room. Interested in building a digital escape room for your students? Complete an Academy Support Form request. 
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!
We’ve curated a list of workshops from this past academic year that you may have missed or didn’t have time to attend. For most of the workshops, you can watch the recording and submit an action plan by July 23 to receive CEUs, but please see each workshop description for specific details. Watch for weekly emails from the Academy this summer that highlight each workshop and provide links.

Need a Harper ID? Whether you need a new ID or want to replace an old one, you will be able to get one on campus beginning June 7. 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. Shared Governance at Harper offers roles for every constituent group on campus. See vacancies for FY 2021-2022 and learn more about participating in Shared Governance and who to contact using the link above.

The Kenneth Young Center, presented a session at Harper’s March 2021 Professional Development Day on the topic of pronouns and were blown away by the enthusiasm of the attendees. Watch the recording of the session, learn about the connection between mental health and pronouns, modeling pronoun sharing, how to recover from misgendering someone, and more using the link above.

Are you interested in doing anti-racist work on Harper’s campus and/or community, but know you need to do some learning and self-reflective processing before getting started? Have you explored issues of White privilege but aren’t sure what to do next? Then join us for a unique experience that will provide an opportunity to take this conversation to the next level. Learn more about how to participate using the link above. Deadline for applications is August 6.

Learn more about updates and things happening around Enrollment Services (including Admissions Outreach, Center for New Students, International Student Office, Testing Center, and Women's Program) using the link above.

The college is offering Employee Bystander Intervention Training designed to help us create a more respectful and inclusive educational and work environment. This workshop will provide you with the tools to help prevent or safely intervene when bias, harassment or other forms of problematic behaviors occur. Registration required; information and the link to the virtual training will be emailed.
Student Learning
Become a Panelist!

The Learning Assessment Committee is looking for faculty to participate in a panel discussion at the 13th Annual Assessment Conference and Share Fair on September 24.

The idea for the panel is to engage in a discussion with faculty and students on the effects of online instruction with a focus on teaching and learning. The session will include a moderator who will ask pre-determined questions of the panel. The panelists will meet prior to the conference to discuss the format of the panel discussion.

Faculty Experience
Meet Martinez E-B, Adjunct Faculty, Art

Like many of our students, Martinez E-B joined the workforce after high school. After a couple of years working at a factory, he realized he didn’t see himself as a “lifer”, working in the same job at the same company for the next 30 years like many of the people he was working alongside. “I was unsure what I wanted to do, so I took a few classes at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) in Cleveland, Ohio,” said E-B. One of those classes was a drawing class. “I always created things but had little knowledge of academic art as practice and discourse.”

Online Learning
Looking for tools to enhance your online or blended course to encourage student engagement?

Are you teaching an online or blended course for the first time? Looking for tools and techniques to enhance your online or blended course to encourage student engagement? Register now for Teaching Online Successfully: Facilitate or Enhance. Each course is fully online, free, two weeks, and 1 GEC.

June Online Teaching Tip - Interacting with Students

One aspect of online teaching that is very different than traditional teaching is the type and frequency of interactions with students. One good practice for online teaching is to ask students what they need early and often. You might check in with them during one-on-one calls, via email, or through virtual sessions. Try to interact with students during every lesson, comment on discussion board posts, and provide feedback often instead of just one in depth comment throughout the course.

From ION Professional eLearning Programs - learn more.
Upcoming Professional Development Credit Opportunities
July 6 - July 19 (GECs: 1) registration deadline: June 22

July 19 - August 1 (GECs: 1) registration deadline: July 6

July 20, 1 p.m. (CEUs: 0.2)
July 23, 10 a.m. (CEUs: 0.2)
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.