Academy News - September 15, 2021
Evidence Based
Evidence-Based Teaching Across Disciplines (Friday)

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) involves the investigation of how students learn with the purpose of exploring practices that lead to a better understanding of your classroom that may lead to significant learning gains. Dr. Mary van Opstal, a founding member of the SoTL Community of Practice (2016), will be facilitating this workshop. Dr. van Opstal earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry with an emphasis in chemical education through studying the impact of guided inquiry approaches on student learning and metacognition. 

In this workshop, Dr. van Opstal will share a research guide that helps faculty explore ways to implement and assess evidence-based recommendations to enhance their teaching. A few experiences from faculty from various disciplines who participated in an evidence-based teaching course will be shared, and participants will have an opportunity to evaluate how their current approaches align with these methods, consider how they may adjust their practices based on research, and/or conduct their own investigations of how students learn in their subject areas. The workshop will conclude with sample classroom assessment techniques that faculty can adapt to evaluate the effects of their interventions on student learning.

Note: Please see the email sent from the Academy on 9/14 with details about a post-workshop project and stipend opportunity.
Using GoReact to Create Video Assignments in Blackboard (Today & Tomorrow)

GoReact is a tool that allows students to record or upload videos right into Blackboard, which you can then watch and give time-stamped text, audio, or video feedback. This is a fantastic tool for video/audio responses to prompts, student/group presentations, language/pronunciation practice, skills demonstration, and more. In this workshop, you will hear about a variety of ways Harper faculty are already using GoReact, and will learn how to easily set up, collect, and grade GoReact assignments within Blackboard. At the end of the workshop, you will get to try setting up, reviewing, and grading an assignment in a practice Blackboard shell.

Provide Students Early Feedback and Connect Them to Critical Campus Resources

Submitted by Student Development

Student success is at the heart of Harper’s mission. Our early alert tool, Starfish, is used to facilitate communication among students, faculty, and advisors regarding students’ academic achievements and areas for improvement. In addition to awarding kudos to acknowledge excellent performance, Starfish is also used by faculty to raise concerns and to direct students to free resources such as the Academic Support Center and Hawks Care Resource Center.

  • All credit students are in the Starfish system. This allows faculty to give a kudos or raise a flag for any of their students at any time of the semester.
  • In addition, many faculty members will receive requests during the semester to submit a Progress Survey for a subset of their students.

Learn more about Progress Surveys and the schedule for Fall 2021, descriptions of Starfish flag options, who to contact with questions, and more here.
janet woods swivl
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: View Schedule and Details.

Additional resources and links to assist you this semester:
Ally Advocate
Become an Ally Advocate

Ally is a new tool in Blackboard that provides easy to follow guidance on how to correct accessibility issues within your course. Ally also gives students the ability to download course content in a format that meets their needs. In just the first week of classes for the Fall 2021 semester, students downloaded 2,735 alternative formats in 664 courses!

With the launch of Ally, the Academy is introducing the chance to become an Ally Advocate! Ally Advocates are recognized for their ability to leverage the Blackboard Ally tool to improve the accessibility, quality, and usability of course content for all students. Ally Advocates will be awarded a badge and 1.0 CEUs for completing a chosen pathway in the Ally Checklist. This badge can then be shared through various platforms to show verification of completing training and criteria for course accessibility.

If you would like to become an Ally Advocate, here are the steps to get started...
This year's Diversity Symposium will be a virtual event, taking place over three days, October 4-6. The theme is Mental Health Awareness. Learn more and view details using the link above.

Use the link above to view Spring 2022 priority registration dates. Please share this information with students and encourage them to register early. The spring schedule of classes will be posted online October 15.  

Online or on campus, the Library has you covered! If your class meets on campus, a librarian can do an in-person session with you and your students. On campus capacity is limited, though, so if it doesn’t meet your needs or if your class is entirely online, the Library still has a wide variety of virtual options including an embedded librarian (personal librarian for your class in Blackboard), live online presentations in Webex or Collaborate, and asynchronous videos to meet student needs “on demand.” None of those work for you? Maybe you’d like to assign students to make research appointments with librarians to receive personal library instruction without sacrificing class time. Learn more about the possibilities and how to request library instruction.

The syllabus is one of our most important ways to communicate with students about our courses, so there are many elements to consider when working to improve this essential course document. Our faculty development colleagues at College of DuPage have put together a series on many aspects of the syllabus and have invited our faculty to attend their virtual syllabus series. There is no cost to attend the sessions, and they take place in September, October, and November starting tomorrow. Use the link above to learn more and register.

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.

Your Harper ID card can give you campus benefits such as borrowing items from the Library, utilizing employee copy machines, authorized access to specific rooms on campus, and obtaining discounts at the Box Office. The ID card office in Building J, Room J135 is open five days a week. See hours and more information using the link above.
Student Learning
13th Annual Assessment Conference and Share Fair: September 24

Submitted by the Learning Assessment Committee

Join us for the 13th Annual Assessment Conference and Share Fair to find out more about how assessment can improve student learning.

Presenters include Harper faculty and staff members Patty Bruner, Julie Ellefson, Raeghan Graessle, Michael Horton, Jen Lau-Bond, Luisel Lemkau, Jonathan Loos, Cari Paterno, Joshua Sunderbruch, and Deann Surdo, as well as keynote speaker, Flower Darby, from Northern Arizona University. Attend one ore more sessions, earn CEUs, and also have a chance to win a raffle prize.

Learn more, view the session descriptions and save to your calendar.
professional development
2021 Assessment Institute: October 24-27

Submitted by the Learning Assessment Committee
The Assessment Institute, focused on assessment and improvement, is the oldest and largest higher education event in the United States. Last fall, the conference was held virtually, and registration exceeded 10,000 registered attendees. This year’s conference will also be held virtually, and registration is complimentary.

Learn More & Register (advance registration will close on October 11)
Faculty Experience
community of practice
Communities of Practice 2021-2022

The virtual Share-ousel this spring provided Communities of Practice an opportunity to showcase their shared learning for the year and give and receive feedback on one another’s ideas. Thanks to all CoPs who found ways to continue their efforts online, we had nine active CoPs who shared virtual posters with voice narration and artifacts that demonstrate what they accomplished this year. View the posters and a list of recognition awards. Thank you to everyone for your hard work this year and for helping us continue this program.

It’s now time to start the next annual cycle beginning with the Action Plantasia in September. We are excited to kick-off another year of providing structure and support for you as you engage in shared learning experiences to enhance teaching and learning together.

  • Returning Communities of Practice - what do you need to do?
  • Have an idea for a new Community of Practice?
  • Interested in joining a Community of Practice?

adjunct faculty
3 Small Takeaways: Perspectives from Harper Adjunct Faculty

Join us at the virtual Adjunct Faculty Teaching & Learning Conference on September 23 to hear from three of our colleagues: Andre Berchiolly (English), Samira Chaker (Economics), and Mary van Opstal (Chemistry) will reflect on their teaching experience during the pandemic and share a small tip or strategy that they will continue to use post-pandemic.

The featured speaker, Flower Darby, will facilitate a keynote and workshop that will also focus on these themes. Her workshop “Small Teaching: Practical Ideas to Try Next Week or Next Semester" will explore practical and efficient strategies to teach in all class formats to engage students, help them persist, learn, and succeed, and structure effective ways for them to participate in class. Since faculty have limited time to prepare their classes, Flower will emphasize evidence-based suggestions that don’t take a long time to create, facilitate, or grade. Faculty will leave with a range of ideas to implement next week or next semester. The conference also features a fun an interactive Quiplash session, raffles, and more!

Online Learning
Online Subscriptions & Memberships for All Faculty

The following online resources are available to all Harper College faculty at no cost:
  • Illinois Community Colleges Online (ILCCO)
  • Illinois Online Network (ION)
  • Magna Publications (including 20-Minute Mentor on-demand videos)
  • National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD)
  • Online Learning Consortium (OLC)

Learn more about these resources and view login information.
Upcoming Professional Development Credit Opportunities
September 15, 5 p.m. (CEUs: 0.15)
September 16, 10:30 a.m. (CEUs: 0.15)

September 17, 1 p.m. (CEUs: 0.2)

September 23, 3 p.m. (CEUs: 0.3)

September 24, 9 a.m. (CEUs: up to 0.35)
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.