Faculty Development Opportunity – Designing Online Courses for Accessibility

Good Morning All!
I wanted to bring to your attention a self-paced course that was created by Debbie Millican, an Instructional Designer for College of Health and Human Services at Touro University Nevada.

The course looks at strategies to make online content to be both Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant.  Note that this does not just apply to online, hybrid, and/or blended courses.  Under federal law ALL online content that is posted in a learning management system – like Canvas – should be compliant with both ADA and 504.

The course itself is self-paced, and using badges for its assessment.
Faculty can self-enroll in the course be going to:


If you have any questions, please let me know.

Michael K. Barbour, Ph.D.

Only Two Months Remain In Our Blackboard Contract!!!

Just a reminder that today is the first day of May.  That means that you have exactly two months left before we will no longer have access to Blackboard.

A screen shot from the CILT website (see https://western.touro.edu/cilt/canvas/ )

Please note that the Canvas team – both in New York and locally – have been taking the required steps to ensure that student grades and other compliance issues have been addressed.

However, if you want to have access to your Blackboard content after 30 June 2019, YOU MUST SAVE THOSE INDIVIDUAL ITEMS OR EXPORT THE ENTIRE COURSE YOURSELF.  If you are unfamiliar with exporting a course in Blackboard, please review the first two and a half minutes on this instructional video – https://youtu.be/lKFAvoACcw8 (note that the video continues with how to import select content into a Canvas shell, which may also be useful to you).

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact Jim O’Connor (jim.oconnor@tu.edu) or myself.

Michael K. Barbour

ACUE Videos from TUC Faculty

Dear Colleagues,

Below are the links for two short videos from faculty at TUC who have finished the ACUE Course on Effective Teaching in Higher Education.

Susan R Heimer, is an  Associate Professor in the College of Pharmacy, Biological & Pharmaceutical Sciences

Nicole Peña, is an Assistant Professor in the  COM, OMM

Each video is approximately 2 minutes in length.

Hopefully, we will be offering this course again next year for faculty from TUC and TUN who are interested.

Jim O’Connor Ph.D.

Becoming A Better Online Instructor

Dear Colleagues,

According to Flower Darby, a senior instructional designer at Northern Arizona University, in a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

“Whether you’ve taught online a lot or a little, chances are you didn’t enjoy it as much as teaching in person. Maybe you didn’t experience that fizz after a particularly invigorating face-to-face class. Indeed, according to a 2017 Educause survey, only 9 percent of academics prefer to teach “in a completely online environment.” That means a whopping 91 percent of us don’t. And I suspect that a good majority of that 91 percent would prefer to teach anywhere but online.

Clearly, many academics don’t see the value of online courses. Almost none of us set out to be great online teachers when we decided to go to graduate school. We’ve spent years in campus classrooms, but we don’t have the same depth and breadth of experience in the online classroom, as either students or teachers. Most of us don’t know how to teach online or how to get better at it — and we may not be motivated to learn. Even more likely, we may not feel like we have time to learn.

For all of those reasons, you may not feel fully invested in your online teaching practice. Yet it can be just as rewarding as teaching in a bricks-and-mortar classroom, if in different ways. Good teaching is good teaching.”

This article is full of great advice for making online teaching more effective, engaging and satisfying.

See the entire article at:


Questions or comments?

Jim O’Connor Ph.D.

TC SHS – Summer 2019 Workshop Offerings via Zoom


Summer 2019 Workshop Offerings

Registration Instructions: Please click on the date and time for the webinar(s) for which you would like to register, and then complete the registration form. You will be sent a confirmation email following completion of the registration form. All webinars will take place using Zoom, unless otherwise noted. If you have any questions or concerns, please email Holly Owens at holly.owens@touro.edu.

The Best-Kept Canvas Secret: A Look at the Commons

Description: One of the best-kept secrets about Canvas is the Commons. The Commons is a learning object repository that enables educators to find, import, and share resources. A digital library full of educational content, Commons allows Canvas users to share learning resources with other users as well as import learning resources into a Canvas course, eliminating the need to “reinventing the wheel.” Register for this session to learn more about the Canvas Commons.

Following this session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify how to access the Commons
  • Discuss how to search and filter Commons info
  • Identify the steps to importing resources from the Commons in your course(s)
  • Identify how to share content on the Commons

Dates/Times Offered:

The New, and Improved, Canvas Gradebook

Description: The New Gradebook is a feature enabled by instructors that allows them to view an improved version of the Gradebook. This feature makes grading more flexible and intuitive and elevates the Gradebook user experience. Improved features that will be discussed during this workshop include creating a late policy, filter options, and status information.

Following this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Describe how to enable the New Gradebook in their course(s)
  • Identify how to set up the parameters of the late submission policy
  • Discuss gradebook statuses and filter options

Dates/Times Offered:

What is Universal Design for Learning?

Description: Are you looking for ways to engage all students? Do you notice how students learn in different ways, but are not sure how to address all of their needs? Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that can help you plan activities that meet the needs of all of your students. Based on brain research, UDL will help you meet the needs of diverse learners by planning lessons that consider the wide variability among learners.

Following this session, participants will be able to:

  • Define Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
  • Discuss the three principles of UDL
  • Identify common ways to implement UDL principles in Canvas courses
  • Identify UDL resources available for faculty

Dates/Times Offered:

Taking My Teaching to a Whole New Level – Johnny Rider, TUN

Dear Colleagues,

Below is the latest blog entry from Johnny Rider, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy in the College of Health and Human Services at Touro University Nevada. Johnny is currently enrolled in the ACUE course Effective Teaching in Higher Education.

Jim O’Connor Ph.D.

ACUE has taken my teaching to a whole new level. As a new assistant professor, I did not have much experience teaching in a classroom. I did not have a specific method for designing my courses. I took what I learned as a clinical educator and tried to apply it to a classroom of students. I was receiving good reviews from my students, but I knew there was room for improvement, however, I was unsure of where to begin. I was fortunate to be a part of ACUE early on in my career. ACUE has provided me with evidence-based strategies to develop my courses and improve student achievement. ACUE has guided me through a process of discovery and refinement as an educator.

ACUE has given me the tools to develop powerful course outcomes and design engaging lesson plans. I now have a clear vision of what I want my students to learn from my courses and I know exactly what steps I need to take as an instructor to help my students meet course objectives. As I progressed through the ACUE course and implemented the many innovative strategies provided, I saw positive changes in the courses I was teaching and my confidence as an instructor. Fewer students asked for clarification on my rubrics and assignments after revising them based on ACUE’s recommendations. I incorporated new methods of obtaining student achievement and feedback during the semester and was able to adjust my lessons to improve student motivation and engage under prepared students. I learned how to utilize in-class and out-of-class time more effectively with more engaging class discussions and active learning techniques. I refined assignments to be better aligned with course outcomes and learned how to provide more valuable feedback to help students become more self-directed learners.

Thanks to ACUE, I now see my responsibilities and opportunities as an educator with a different lens. I recognize the abundant evidence that I can implement to become a more effective instructor. I have also been inspired to look for ways to conduct research in my own classroom. ACUE has positively impacted every aspect of my teaching and guided me on a path of professional development that will shape the rest of my career.

Johnny Rider, MS, OTR/L, CEAS, CPAM
Assistant Professor
School of Occupational Therapy
College of Health and Human Services

Touro Faculty Innovation Grant

I am not sure if you paid much attention to the email that came to your inbox from the Office of the Provost on Monday, April 8, 2019. Sometimes, there are just too many emails to filter through!


The Touro College Office of the Provost, Graduate and Professional Divisions, announces a new faculty innovation grant program. These grants are intended to promote student success and excellence in teaching through the development of innovative instructional methods, new methods of assessing learning or the redesign of courses using technology. All full-time, part-time and adjunct faculty from the undergraduate, graduate and professional schools are eligible to apply. Application deadline is April 15, 2019. For the full description and application, please visit the Office of the Provost website.

Take a look! Grant monies are free monies!

Jim O’Connor Ph.D.

Canvas Tech Tip!

If you would like to use the New Gradebook in Canvas, go to your Canvas course and then down to Settings on the course menu. Click on the Feature Options tab, and turn on New Gradebook as shown below.

There are many great options added to the new gradebook and are explained at the website below.


Debbie Millican

Congratualtions to Rolly Kali-Rai

Congratulations to Dr. Rolly Kali-Rai MBA, PharmD,
Assistant Dean for Student Services and Assistant Professor Social, Behavioral, Administrative Sciences in the College of Pharmacy.

Rolly is the first TUC faculty member to complete the ACUE (Association of College and University Educators) course on Effective Teaching in Higher Education.

Recently, Rolly wrote a blog for CILT describing how this course has transformed his teaching (see Rethinking My Teaching).

Way to go Rolly, this will impact the lives of hundreds of your future students!

Free Teaching Tools From Carnegie Mellon U.

Dear Colleagues,

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education (see https://www.chronicle.com/article/A-Professor-Interviewed/246056).

Carnegie Mellon University announced last week that it will begin making some of its many ed-tech tools, software, and content openly available over the coming year. The result of about $100 million in research and development, the tools are designed for use by instructors in both higher education and K-12 institutions. They include a collection of adaptive learning courses available through Open Learning Initiative. The difference now is that Carnegie Mellon will also provide the underlying code for these tools, meaning that instructors will have a better sense of how they work compared with the products offered by some commercial vendors. The release is being led by the Simon Initiative, a Carnegie Mellon project dedicated to improving learning outcomes through research and technology, and the Empirical Educator Project, a collaboration among colleges and ed-tech vendors.

Here is the actual link to Carnegie-Mellon’s announcement:


Questions or comments?

Jim O’Connor Ph.D.