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August 2016 eNewsletter: Back2School Edition!

Coming Soon: University Center for Teaching and Learning!

Pitt Online is excited to be a part of CIDDE’s transformation into the University Center for Teaching and Learning! The new Center will focus on activities that align with the Provost Office’s Plan for Pitt. The organization will be a resource for faculty to experiment with emerging technologies, conduct research on pedagogy, share best practices, and implement teaching innovations in new classrooms. We’ll also see an expansion of programs and services, including Centers for Mentoring, Communication, and Diversity in the Curriculum, as well as Course Incubator projects and Teaching Exchanges. It’s an exciting time for Pitt Online as we look forward to working with the University in new and challenging ways!
More about the University Center for Teaching and Learning:

Welcome to Pitt Online, Timothy Strasser!

Please join us in welcoming Timothy Strasser to the team as an Instructional Designer! Tim joins us from New Mexico State University, where he served as Instructional Consultant in Academic Technology for four years. He is currently a student in the University of Pittsburgh School of Education’s Higher Education Management EdD program and is originally from the South New Jersey area. Welcome to Pitt Online, Tim!

Countdown To Class!

We’re only weeks away from the fall term! By now, all course materials for new and revision courses should be with Pitt Online instructional designers and technologists. This calendar will highlight important dates as we being a new school year! View the 2016–17 Academic Calendar for an expanded timeline.

Calendar showing August and early September 2016

Expanding Your Toolkit in Fall

row of flags of different nations

The Center for Teaching and Learning now offers a file converter tool to the University community that makes inaccessible documents into more accessible media. Through a tool called SensusAccess, you can convert files like Word documents or PDFs into media like searchable PDFs, audio MP3s, Braille files, or e-text. You can find this tool and many more on our Pitt Accessibility Resources page.

The Office of Measurement and Evaluation of Teaching (OMET) will debut a new-and-improved Teaching Survey for the school year. Delivered through eXplorance Blue, the Teaching Survey is a more dynamic, user-friendly system. It will be easier than ever to:

  • Add custom questions to your survey.
  • Monitor real-time response rates.
  • Access surveys from previous terms.

Look for more information from OMET once the fall term begins!

Faculty Spotlight

Congratulations to Dr. Mary Goldberg, Assistant Professor in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences! Professor Goldberg was named one of the top Tech Innovators of 2016 by The Chronicle of Higher Education for her role in developing and sustaining a program called Experiential Learning for Veterans in Assistive Technology and Engineering, or ELeVATE, at Pitt’s Human Engineering Research Laboratories. The program provides counseling to students with disabilities and instructs them in math, writing, and research, while also helping disabled veterans ease back into the workplace in pursuit of STEM careers. Pitt Online worked with Professor Goldberg while developing Disability Awareness and Support, the Massive Open Online Course that’s currently available through Coursera.

Full article: Mary Goldberg Helps Disabled Veterans Find STEM Careers

Congratulations to Sheila Corrall, Professor at the School of Information Sciences! Her essay, “Taming a Wicked Problem: Meeting Academic Standards, Institutional Goals and Professional Expectations in Online Courses,” was accepted as a session topic at the IFLA World Library and Information Conference in Columbus, OH. The paper describes Professor Corrall’s experiences in developing two Pitt Online courses for the Library and Information Sciences program, including comparisons of delivery models and eight critical factors for success in an online course.

Full essay: Taming a Wicked Problem: Meeting Academic Standards, Institutional Goals and Professional Expectations in Online Courses

Now Enrolling for TOP

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The Teaching Online @ Pitt workshop is accepting enrollments for the next session, starting on Monday, September 26, 2016. The three-week workshop will introduce you to best practices for teaching online and give you a sense of what it’s like to be an online student at Pitt. There are no required meeting times and you’ll spend about three hours per week participating in group discussions and activities. We’ve seen great diversity of backgrounds in the 120+ participants since the program’s inception! Instructors have enrolled from:

  • Chemistry
  • Child Welfare Resource Center—Curriculum Specialist
  • Dietrich CAS
  • Economics
  • Education
  • English
  • Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
  • Graduate School of Public Health
  • Health & Rehabilitation Sciences
  • Information Sciences
  • Katz Graduate School of Business
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Neuroscience
  • Nursing
  • Pitt–Bradford Art
  • Pitt–Greensburg Humanities
  • Pitt–Johnstown Ed, Nursing
  • Pitt–Titusville Humanities
  • Religious Studies
  • Slavic Languages and Literatures
  • Social Work
  • University Center for Social and Urban Research
  • University Library System

The more the merrier! Please encourage your colleagues to enroll in the next session!

Additional Resources

A few articles that caught our eye: