Author: David Noffs

Up Up and Away: How Superheroes Can Save Online Discussions

Back to Krypton… In the late summer of 2017, Jacob Guerra-Martinez a Learning Designer and game-design researcher in Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies, pitched an audacious plan to a part-time faculty member in the School of Professional Studies. He wanted to gamify a discussion board so that graduate students could choose between being heroes or villains while debating and supporting opposing views. His mission was to save students from mundane discussions, and he called this idea Discussion Hero. The previous year, I had developed a course on Learning Environment Design for graduate students in the field of Information, Design


NUDL Workshop Reflections

This summer, AccessibleNU hosted their second UDL Workshop series. A cohort of faculty and academic staff, including Learning Designer and IDS instructor David Noffs and Senior Content Specialist Christine Scherer, learned about universal design for learning and best practices to design and teach courses that are welcoming and accessible for all students. The workshop series was packed with information and resources. Here are five of our top takeaways, plus tips on how to start incorporating UDL into your class! Takeaway #: For some, learning is not as easy as it looks. One of the biggest challenges faced by disabled and


What Should I Do With My Slides Now That I’m Teaching Online?

Introduction If you’ve taught face-to-face before, there’s a good chance you’ve developed slides to help give lectures in your classroom. You may even have structured your course around them: ten slide decks for ten weeks of class. There’s no shame there–keynote speakers and conference presenters use slides as an important part of their practice, and when properly designed they can make for engaging in-person presentations. Now you’re designing an online or hybrid class, and you’ve got your slides in hand. These worked great in my face-to-face class, you’re thinking. I’ll just put them online for students to read. But wait!


Promising Practices in Inclusive Teaching

Learning designers Jeanne Kerl, Brian Runo, and David Noffs attended the Second Annual Teaching Forum on Promising Practices: Learning from Our Community held April 18, 2018 at the Norris University Center at Northwestern University’s main campus in Evanston. The plenary session speaker was Dr. Frank Tuitt, Senior Advisor to the Chancellor and Provost on Diversity and Inclusion and Professor of Higher Education at the University of Denver. His address was entitled, Making Excellence Inclusive in Challenging Times: Diversity Consideration for the Classroom and Beyond. Dr. Tuitt started his presentation with a review of the challenging times we are facing. Headlines


Focus on Teaching and Learning Highlights Active Learning

Several members of the Distance Learning Team at Northwestern’s School of Professional Studies attended Loyola’s Focus on Teaching and Learning (FOTL), a one day conference on January 10, 2018 at Schreiber Hall in Chicago. The Keynote address, delivered by Dr. Therese Hutton of Seattle University, was entitled, “If I Could Only Fit in More Learning:” Making the Most of Your Classroom Time. According to Dr. Hutton, teaching is akin to storytelling in many ways, and the traditional lecture, whether online or on-ground, is often more storytelling than lecture. In fact, according to Hutton, lectures have been making something of a