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Center Resources

The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development (CTL&PD) offers a wide variety of programs, interactive organizations, self-help materials, group and 1-on-1 mentoring and collaboration opportunities through its staff, and facilities, all designed as part of our ongoing dedication to being an integral resource to faculty in support of their varied career needs related to teaching, research, scholarship, and self-development. In addition, we also offer a dedicated sequence of learning opportunities designed to help CSI faculty navigate the multitude of course modalities now present, including all forms of web/technology enhanced hybrid and the new HyFlex model currently being piloted by CUNY Central.  They are designed to provide the instructional design knowledge and support needed to further prepare you teach at CSI, and help you move forward with creating your courses across all modes of instruction.  

All of the learning modules listed below are designed to be a self-paced, and when completed will provide you with a completion certificate that can be used to access the higher level modules, as well as, future training workshops and/or modules.

Email us at if you would like to take any of these courses below.

The physical space of the Center for Teaching, Learning, & Professional Development is located in the 1L building and consists of two rooms: the Faculty Center Lounge (1L-203), and the Training Lab (1L-208). The Faculty Center Lounge offers a flexible space for seminars, social gatherings, or a tranquil space to simply relax. The Training Lab is a space providing access to computers, scanners, and other amenities to design, create, and implement course materials for used. The Training Lab also serves as a help desk for faculty and staff.

  • Community members can reserve the Faculty Center Lounge (1L-203) for special events by submitting a request here

Virtual Drop-in Center:

The Drop-in Center is an online chat space designed specifically for faculty to come and ask questions pertaining to online course pedagogy, Blackboard, and any other academic technology items you need assistance with.

  • Need help setting help creating a communications strategy for your online or hybrid course?
  • Need help creating and/or deploying tests in Bb?
  • Unsure how to create assignment submission links or collect and review papers, assignments, or other assessment items?
  • Have another question? 

If so, stop by the Virtual Drop-in Center.  The hours are posted in the weekly schedule. All sessions are staffed by one of the Center's Instructional Design and Learning Management System Specialists.

There is no sign-up needed.  Simply check the calendar of sessions located HERE and click on the links provided.  Access links open approximately 10 minutes before the start of the session dates and times listed on the weekly calendar. Once clicked, Blackboard Collaborate will appear at the top of the screen. It will show the specific training session you are joining and offer a place for you to type your name (please enter both your first and last name). Select Join Session after typing your full name.

The Blackboard LMS Basics series is an asynchronous set of three learning modules introducing CSI instructors to the various features and tools within the current installation of the Blackboard. It is designed to better equip instructors with all the tools and tasks necessary to more successfully teach in a Bb enhanced, hybrid/hyflex, or fully online classroom environment. It also provides the necessary completion certificate required for access to the higher-level training courses being offered by the Center, as well as, CUNY/SPS's Online Initiative Training Programs. The modules currently being offered are: 

  • Module 1 - Basics: Getting Started, a general overview of the CUNY Blackboard (Bb) course shells intended to orient instructors to all of the course tools and communication methods available for use within CSI's default Bb classroom.
  • Module 2 - Basics: Creating Course Content, A general overview of the different types of instructional content needed for tech enhanced, hybrid, online, and/or hyflex course(s).  An orientation designed to introduce instructors to all the individual, group, static, and interactive course content possibilities available for use within CUNY's installation of Bb.
  • Module 3 - Basics: Student Assessment, A general overview of how instructors can assess students progress within tech enhanced, hybrid, online, or hyflex courses using Bb. An orientation designed to introduce instructors to the testing, assignment, rubric, grade management, and other assessment tools available to you within CUNY's installation of Bb.

Each module above takes approximately 6-7 hours to complete in full. Less for those already somewhat familiar with the Blackboard LMS platform.

Respondus LockDown Browser™ is an online proctoring tool that increases the security of test delivery in Blackboard (Bb).

Unlike previous remote proctoring solutions evaluated by CUNY, Respondus LockDown Browser simply restricts what students can access on their computers during online Blackboard quizzes, tests and examinations. The Lockdown Browser does not modify the browser on the student’s computer, but rather installs a separate program that displays a custom browser and creates an environment in which students are unable to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications on their devices. Respondus LockDown Browser DOES NOT: include real-time or recorded remote proctoring via video, access user content on the computer or record user activity for later inspection or use by CUNY.

After attending an Information session, if you determine that Respondus LockDown Browser is suitable for your examination(s) you will be provided the resources needed to successfully activate and utilize the Respondus LockDown Browser within your CSI course(s) on Blackboard and obtain usage training for your students.
PLEASE NOTE, that while the Respondus Lockdown Browser tool is available for use at CSI, it should be noted in the course description and course syllabus notes, thereby allowing students the ability to make an informed decision about enrolling in courses using the tool. As a result of these notification requirements, students cannot be compelled to agree to use of the Lockdown Browser at this time and if used alternative access to assessments must be provided as per the guidance provided by CUNYs Office of General Counsel regarding this matter:

"The Office of Legal Affairs (OGC) has reviewed the Terms and Conditions of several online testing application services and it is OGC’s guidance that faculty cannot compel students to accept the corresponding tools’ “Terms and Conditions” and that in the event students do not accept the terms, faculty must provide students reasonable assessment accommodations to demonstrate they meet the course learning requirements."

When in doubt please refer to the University's Guidance on Academic Continuity available here: Remote Proctoring Solutions

Additional information and technical specification items for Respondus LockDown Browser: 

CUNY Information Systems (CIS) has worked with the CUNY Learning Management System council to integrate the Respondus LockDown Browser within Blackboard. Respondus LockDown Browser is available in Blackboard at CSI.

Respondus LockDown Browser only operates on devices meeting the following specifications (iPhones and Android devices are not supported):

  • Computer running Windows 8 or later operating system  (Windows 10 S is not supported)
  • Mac running macOS 10.12 – 11.1
  • iPad running iOS 11.0 or later (iPhone not supported)
  • Chromebooks 

Note that CUNY has not licensed or implemented the Respondus Monitor solution that is often combined with Respondus LockDown Browser in marketing materials, product descriptions, product support pages and training—please ignore all references to Respondus Monitor and webcams/video.  

See the Respondus LockDown Browser FAQ Resources web page for additional Respondus information and training resources. 

Email for training on how to utilize this academic resource!


The Teaching and Learning series is an intermediate and advanced sequence of asynchronous courses focused on the various teaching models and pedagogical best practices required for creating successful student-centered courses at CSI regardless of the teaching modality being utilized. They are more intensive but self-paced courses intended for CSI faculty who have already completed the prerequisite Blackboard LMS Basics Training modules (or equivalent basics training). 

The courses currently within the Teaching & Learning Series are:

  • Module 4 - Hybrid Models for Teaching: A CUNY Modalities Road Map, an overview of the five main teaching models (in-person, web enhanced, hybrid, online, hyflex) and three sub-variants (in-person/tech enhanced classroom, synchronous, asynchronous) used to disseminate courses at CUNY. A complete orientation intended to introduce instructors to these modalities, how they affect course structure and teaching overall, and guide toward further training and assistance needed to successfully plan, create, and build a fully accessible, student-centered courses.
  • Module 5 - Creating Hybridized Courses: Pedagogical Skills & Best Practices, focuses on the pedagogical techniques and best practices designed to create LMS connected, student centered learning experiences suitable for both in-person/tech enhanced classroom, hybrid, hyflex, and fully online courses.  It showcases preferred techniques of effective, more holistic course development, using proven practices, with specific focus on enhancing student learning outcomes through systematic construction of CSI courses using flexible teaching methods and low stakes assessments. It is intended for CSI faculty who have already completed the Faculty Center's LMS Basics Series modules (or equivalent basics training).