Northern Illinois University students, faculty, and staff are the beneficiaries of a campus-wide license agreement recently signed by NIU and lynda.com. Lynda.com, founded in 1995, is a leading online learning company that helps users ‘…. learn business, software, technology and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals’ (source: lynda.com/aboutus). They have become one of the most popular and successful video learning service available, offering members access to a broad and varied video library of engaging, top-quality courses taught by recognized industry experts.
Members of this subscription-based company range from individuals committed to life-long learning, to corporate, academic, and government institutions. The campus-wide agreement provides the NIU community unlimited access to lynda.com’s extensive collection of courses on many subjects. These include 3D + Animation, Business, Audio + Music, Business, CAD, Design, Developer, Education + Elearning, IT, Marketing, Photography, Video, and Web. Within each of these subject areas are multiple topics. Each course can offer a range of video tutorials, documents, and exercises. Under the topic of Education and Elearning, there are 170 courses and more than 7,000 video tutorials. A sampling of video tutorial titles includes Universal Principles of Design, Teacher Tech Tips, College Prep: Writing a Strong Essay, Student Tools, Microsoft Excel/Word/PowerPoint, Captivate, and Prezi. Although there are other websites that host tutorials on a plethora of subjects, such as YouTube, a common complaint is the lack of consistent quality.
With the availability of this new resource, faculty and instructors may want to consider how they might supplement and enhance their own instruction as they prepare for the spring semester. One possible scenario might have students viewing tutorials that build skills to better complete a course assignment. For example, an assignment might require students to create a class presentation. The course instructor might include links to tutorials on using PowerPoint or Prezi. In another scenario, an instructor might offer students an option to complete an assignment in a video format rather than submitting a more conventional MS Word document. Students with limited experience capturing, editing, and encoding video could benefit by reviewing one of more video tutorials on this subject. Faculty have the option to create and share a playlist of tutorials on a specific topic for their students. Students also have options, including the ability to take notes that synch with video tutorials, which can assist in the learning process.
Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to explore this resource that NIU has made available. Please note that it is necessary to enter lynda.com by going through the NIU portal go.niu.edu/lynda and then logging in with the NIU Account ID and password. For those individuals who have a current subscription account with lynda.com, they will be asked to migrate their previous account information to a new NIU account. Once logged in to lynda.com, users can browse the online training library, watch training courses, manage training courses and their account, and even problem solve with a lynda.com specialist.
The Division of Information Technology – Training and Communication will host an open forum about lynda.com on Thursday, November 19th, in the HSC Regency Room from 10:00 am to 10:30 am. Two NIU teaching staff will share how they have already used lynda.com in their own courses. In addition, the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center is planning on offering a number of workshops to assist faculty and staff to use lynda.com. These include an online webinar to introduce features of lynda.com in December and a hands-on workshop to be offered during the spring 2016 semester. Please visit the Faculty Development’s Upcoming Programs webpage in order to register for one or both of these workshops.
For a series of instructional tutorials on how to use lynda.com, visit go.niu.edu/lyndahowto.