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Faculty who have achieved the requisite skill and knowledge can earn certification from CETLA. Depending upon your school or college, some certifications are required to teach certain types of courses (e.g., WAC certification to teach courses that fulfill the third writing requirement, Blackboard certification to teach hybrid courses, or Distance-Learning certification to teach fully online courses).  Other certifications are prerequisites to enroll in higher-level seminars (e.g., Blackboard certification for enrollment in the “Best Practices in Distance-Learning” seminar).  To earn certification, you may (1) complete the designated workshops one by one throughout the year(s), (2) attend one or more all-day seminar sessions during winter exam period or our Summer Institute, (3) show us a comparable certificate that you earned from another qualifying institution, or (4) demonstrate that you have our certification standards on your own.  Once you are certified, we will post your name on our Certified Faculty page and issue a certificate for your merit, reappointment, or promotion file. Scroll down or click the links in the sidebar to find out how to earn certification; click the seal on the right to see who is certified.


Click here to download a checklist for Blackboard certification.  You can earn Blackboard Certification in the following ways:

Take the Blackboard Certification Seminar (see Summer Institute)


Complete a Series of Seven Workshops

BB01 Building Blackboard Courses

BB02 Getting the Most out of the Discussion Board

BB03 Getting the Most out of the Chatroom

BB04 Collecting Students' Assignments

BB05 Making Teamwork Work

BB06 Creating Tests & Surveys

BB07 Maintaining an Online Gradebook


Complete Online Modules

NOTE: The Blackboard Online Certification is currently unavailable. Please check at a later date or email cetla@howard.edu for updates.

If you have earned credit for BB01, email cetla@howard.edu to enroll in the Blackboard Online Certification coursesite(Bb Online), where you can take one or more workshops online (BB02 - BB07) in any order. Each module includes a workshop video and a hands-on lab. Although the modules are asynchronous, you should complete a module at least 48 hours after starting it. Each module should take you no more than 1-2 hours, so you can complete your training in less than a week!


Submit a Previous Certificate

Submit documentation from another university or certifying body (e.g., Quality Matters, Sloan-C) along with an official description of the training (e.g., from a catalogue, website, or administrative office).


Demonstrate Equivalent Experience

To earn credit for experience, you just need to show us that you have all of the BB01-BB07 skills listed in the workshop descriptions. (Note: If you have already earned credit for one or more of these workshops, you should follow the same procedure to "test out" of the remaining workshops.) You have three options:

  1. You can drop by during Open Lab (9-1 on Fridays) or email cetla@howard.edu to make an appointment to demonstrate the requisite skills and to show us evidence in your Blackboard course sites.
  2. If you don’t have all of the necessary evidence in your Blackboard sites, you can add evidence.  (Just don’t make it visible to your students.)  For example, to earn credit for BB06, you can create a phony test with three questions imported from a pool that includes a random block of questions. 
  3. If you can’t attend a workshop, you may be able to teach yourself by watching the videos or consulting the manual in our BLACKBOARD RESOURCE CENTER.  However, if you teach yourself, you will still need to make an appointment to demonstrate your skills and show us evidence in your site.


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Prerequisite: Blackboard Certification

Click here to download a checklist for Distance-Learning certification. 
You can earn Distance-Learning Certification in THREE ways:

Pass the Best Practices in Distance-Learning Seminar(DLSI). The seminar is offered as a 5-day asynchronous seminar at least three times a year:

  1. in December during Winter Break
  2. in April after classes end
  3. in June during the Summer Institute

(offered as a 5-day asynchronous online seminar during the winter break or the Summer Institute  or as a 5-week asynchronous online seminar during the semester)

Submit a Previous Certificate
Submit documentation from another university or certifying body (e.g., Quality Matters, Sloan-C) along with an official description of the training (e.g., from a catalogue, website, or administrative office). Please note that the training must include the pedagogy of teaching online, not just the technology. For reference, see the description of CETLA’s DL seminar below:

     This online seminar will introduce you to effective strategies for teaching Distance-Learning (DL) classes i.e., classes in which virtually all instruction and interaction occur online. Having mastered Blackboard technology, you will use it to meet the unique challenges of teaching a DL class, while taking advantage of the unique opportunities that DL offers. To achieve these goals, you will experience what it is like to take a DL course in CETLA's site, while building a DL course in your own Blackboard site. During this interactive online seminar, participants will do the following:


Demonstrate Equivalent Experience

If you are a seasoned DL instructor without prior certification, you can earn CETLA’s certification by submitting a “live” or archived course for evaluation.  To prepare for the evaluation, assess your course using the Quality Matters Rubric, keeping in mind that we will focus on the criteria related to pedagogy and technology.  Then drop by during Open Lab (9-1 on Fridays) or make an appointment to show us evidence in your Blackboard course site.  Note:  According to Quality Matters, a successful course will earn “Yes” to all 3-point standards and a total of at least 72 points.  For details about the rubric, click here.

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Required Follow-Up: WAC Committee approval of a revised syllabus

WAC Certification Seminar (see Summer Institute)


Previous Certificate

Includes documentation from another university (subject to WAC Committee approval) or a 1993-2003 certificate from Dr. Redd for completing the 3-day Annual WAC Faculty Workshop.


Complete Series of Workshops

WC01 Helping Students Write to Learn About a Discipline

WC03 Helping Students Learn to Write in a Discipline

WC06 Handling the Paper Load

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(joint certificate from CETLA and University Libraries)

Information Literacy Seminar (see Summer Institute)


Complete Series of Workshops

IL01 Sterling Web and the Internet

IL02 Searching Electronic Resources

IL03 Preparing the Resource-Based Syllabus

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Required Follow-Up: Faculty Advisory Council approval of a revised syllabus

Service-Learning Certification Seminar (see Summer Institute)


Service-Learning Online Tutorials (SL01 and SL02)


Previous Certificate

Includes documentation from another university or professional association

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Smart Room Certification Seminar (see Summer Institute)


Complete Series of Workshops

SR01 Teaching in a Smart Room I (online)

SR02 Teaching in a Smart Room II (hands-on)

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To earn an Entrepreneurship Certificate, you may complete any of the following three tracks within one academic year.   At your request, CETLA and ELI will issue a joint certificate for your merit, reappointment, or promotion file.

ELSI Summer Seminar

The summer seminar is a one-day training program with tutorials covering three major topics: Introduction to Entrepreneurial Thought, Entrepreneurship as a Mindset, Teaching Entrepreneurship Themes in Your Course, and Social Entrepreneurship.


EL04 Teaching and Analyzing Entrepreneurship Case Studies

This one-day seminar introduces entrepreneurship case studies as a tool for stimulating active learning in any discipline.  Entrepreneurship case studies are student-centered activities based on topics that demonstrate theoretical concepts in an applied setting.


EL01 Planning the Entrepreneurship Venture (online)

This online course is offered every semester, each year. The PEV consists of  fifteen online modules that help faculty across the curriculum teach students what they need to know to start a business. Through videos and exercises, faculty will discover tools to show students what kind of people become successful entrepreneurs, what makes an opportunity different from an idea, and what sort of planning is needed to start a successful business. This tutorial was developed especially for faculty who are interested in infusing entrepreneurship into their curriculum.

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Green Teaching Certificate

Following the example of American University,1 the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (CETLA) is piloting a Green Teaching Certificate program.  This initiative aims to reward faculty members who are green teachers and to enable students to select green courses.  Interested faculty can earn a Green Teaching Certificate and a green seal of approval for each qualifying course for reducing paper use, saving energy, decreasing emissions associated with holding classes, encouraging students to engage in environmental activities, and taking other measures.  Faculty can then market such courses as green via the HU Syllabus Database, where students will be able to search for green courses by checking the “Green-certified” checkbox.

Go to our green teaching website to learn more about green teaching.

Faculty members at Howard University can qualify for a Green Teaching Certificate by completing the following tasks:

            Earn sufficient points on CETLA’s “Green Teacher Survey,” an online questionnaire.

            •Post a green syllabus in the HU Syllabus Database for colleagues and students to see.

     However, if faculty members want to be considered for "Green Teacher of the Year" ,they must also do the following:

            Earn sufficient points on CETLA’s “Student Survey on Green Teaching.” 

During the last month of classes, faculty will receive links to the teacher and student surveys. Faculty must send their students the link to the survey and ensure that at least 50% of the class responds.

Upon evaluation, faculty members will receive a Green Teaching Certificate, which certifies the faculty members. In addition, each qualifying course will be certified as green for the duration of their HU careers. 

Qualification Criteria

Together, the questions on the teacher and student surveys will cover the following criteria, and points will be calculated as shown below:

Reducing Paper Use

Syllabi and Other Handouts

  • Send your students your syllabus electronically and post it in the HU Syllabus Database and on Blackboard2 instead of printing copies for your students (5 points).
  • Encourage students to read articles, book chapters, and handouts that you have placed on Blackboard instead of printing them (2 points).
  • If you need to print a handout or syllabus, print or copy double-sided and on recycled paper (5 points).
  •  If you need paper for classroom activities, use scrap paper, such as the back of printouts (1 point).
  • If you post PowerPoint presentations on Blackboard, save the file with six slides per page and eliminate any unnecessary graphics and colored backgrounds in case students print the slides (2 points).
  • If you have a choice, use the chalkboard/whiteboard rather than the flip chart (1 point).
  • Request that students read the “Academic Code of Conduct” online instead of printing it out (1 point).

Textbooks and Other Readings

  • If possible, assign e-books 3 rather than printed books (1 point).
  • Only require the purchase of books from which the majority of chapters have been assigned as required reading (2 points).
  • If possible, recommend an earlier version of the main text and provide materials on Blackboard to bring it up to date (1 point).
  • Recommend buying used books, and inform the Howard University Bookstore and students about required books as early as possible (5 points).
  • Use e-Reserves for articles and book chapters assigned as supplemental or required readings instead of handing out hard copies (5 points).
  • Keep reference books available on reserve at the library (1 point).
  • During the last session of the course, circulate a sign-up sheet for students who would like to sell their books and provide this list to students the following semester (2 points).
  • Avoid ordering desk copies of your books unless you really need them (5 points).


Student Assignments

  • Allow students to bring a laptop to class for note-taking (1 point).
  • If you take attendance, record it on an electronic spreadsheet  or a voice-recorder instead of passing around a sign-in sheet at the start of every class (2 points).
  • If you assign student poster presentations, allow students to project these onto the wall instead of printing posters (1 point).
  • If you give quizzes or tests, use Blackboard online quizzes instead of giving quizzes on paper… some of the time (1 point) or most of the time (2 points).  Have students type their in-class exams in a computer lab… some of the time (1 point) or most of the time (2 points).
  • Accept only electronic versions of all papers and other assignments ( 2 points).
  • Have students submit their papers on Blackboard, grade them electronically, and return them to the students through Blackboard…  some of the time (2 points) or  most of the time ( 3 points). 
  • If you let students hand in hard copies of their work, require double-sided printing and allow single spacing and reduced margins (5 points).
  • Encourage students to use spell-check and grammar-check prior to printing out to avoid printing out multiple drafts for editing.  If students are collaborating, ask teammates or partners to use redline and strike-out features to edit electronic drafts (1 point).

Saving Energy and Reducing Emissions

Travel to and from Class

  • Bike, walk, or use public transportation to come to class instead of driving... once a week (1point) or more than once a week (2 points).
  • If possible, take the stairs to your office or your classroom instead of taking the elevator (1 point).
  • Schedule office hours before or after class so that commuting students will not need to make a separate trip to campus to meet you (2 points).
  • Use the chat-function in Blackboard, videoconference, or allow students to phone you  instead of setting up appointments on days when you do not usually come to campus (2 points).
  • Encourage students to walk, take public transportation, or carpool ( instead of driving or taking cabs on their own) to off-site field trips or meetings (1 point).
  • On snow days and on other occasions, hold class online instead of rescheduling class on a different day (2 points).
  • If you invite guest speakers, use a speakerphone or videoconferencing (2 points).

Your Office and Classroom

  • Turn off the lights if your office or classroom has enough daylight for your needs, or when you leave the room (5 points).
  • If possible, replace the lights with energy-efficient bulbs or sensors (2 points).
  • Reduce the energy use in rooms with adjustable heat/AC (1 point).
  • If possible turn off any electronic equipment that you are not using in your office or classroom, making sure you unplug any computers from the outlets.  If you cannot turn off a computer, set it “to go to sleep” after you leave (5 points).
  • Replace styrofoam cups and plates with biodegradable alternatives (1 point).
  • Reduce or eliminate the use of disposable plastic and paper items, including excessive packaging (1 point).
  • Use a mug for coffee or tea. (1 point)

Other Measures

  • Select “draft mode” when you print so that you use less ink and recycle your ink cartridges (1 point).
  • Recycle transparencies and other materials from previous courses  instead of reprinting them (1 point)
  • Include a Green Teaching initiative section in your syllabus informing students about the program and encouraging them to support it (5 points).
  • Recommend the Green Teaching Certificate to a colleague (1 point)
  • Add a green perspective to a course that is not about the environment. ( 5 points).
  • Encourage students to follow current events about the environment (1 point).
  • Encourage students to reduce their ecological footprint, for instance, by buying recycled products, recycling, or free-cycling (1 point).
  • Encourage student volunteer activities in environmental and related areas (1 point).
  • Connect students with campus environmental programs and opportunities (1 point).
  • Help students find internships and jobs in "green" areas (1 point).

Bonus Points:  You can receive bonus points for any measure you are taking to make your course greener even if it is not listed  above.


1  With permission, CETLA has modified the “Green Teaching Certificate” program developed by American University’s Center for Teaching Excellence.

2 I f you do not use Blackboard, posting online elsewhere fulfills all criteria that refer specifically to the Blackboard course management system.

3 To learn about e-books and other digital alternatives to textbooks, watch  “The Future of the Textbook” video.

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