The Final Stretch – get help & carry on!

We won’t take too much of your time, just two quick updates on getting D2L help, or a jump-start on next semester.

D2L Drop-in & Appointments in L1735

This week – Dec. 10-14:

Mon, 12/10: 9-10; 1-2
Tues, 12/11: 9-12; 2-4 (AND 4-6 by appointment only)
Wed, 12/12:  9-10; 1-2 (AND 4-6 by appointment only)
Thurs, 12/13:  9-2; 3-4
Fri, 12/14: 10am-2pm:   “Friday Coffee Fix” – Gradebook help (videos & handouts will be emailed in the morning as well)

Finals week – Dec. 17-21:

Mon, 12/17:  9-10; 2:30-4; 4-6 by appointment only
Tues, 12/18:  9-1; 2:30-4; 4-6 by appointment only
Wed, 12/19:  9-4
Thurs, 12/20:  9-4
Fri, 12/21:  9-3

Just prior to grades deadline*:

Mon, 12/24:  9-12 (*Grades due at 12pm)

Prior to 1st week of Spring Semester*

Tues, 1/8: 9-1
Wed, 1/9: 9-1
Thurs, 1/10: 9-2

*Alternative times for this week may be available upon request – don’t hesitate to ask!

Contact us!

Drop-in, or for a specific appointment time, call or email Kathleen at 952-358-8617, or

For more regular availability, you may also contact the ITS Helpdesk directly, at 952-358-8181, or send an email to:


finish strong


Faculty Focus, and Last-minute help is here!

Faculty Focus with Shannon Bros

Hear our latest interview with Environmental Biology instructor Shannon Bros. Find out how Shannon is shaping national legislation when she’s not busy teaching at Normandale!

Online class prep for spring…no not yet!

I know, it’s daunting. You’re in the thick of it now but spring will be here before you know it. Want to start a “wish list” for D2L tasks you’d like to incorporate?
Browse these tips for “Engaging students in an Online Environment” and make a pledge to incorporate one or two into your online environment.
Let us help!! Send an email to Kathleen Coate just stating which tip(s) you’d like to try, and get a reply back with instructions or one-on-one help.

End-of-semester D2L help

Here’s some great options for getting individual help with your final tasks of the semester:

  • ITS Helpdesk: Click here for hours
  • Friday Coffee Fix – Dec. 14th, 10am-12pm; 1-2pm in L1735
  • Drop-in or Appointment hours in L1735: Click here for hours*
    • Additional hours will be held 8am-12pm on Monday, Dec. 24th for help with grade input
    • *NOTE: No drop-in hours Tuesday, Dec. 4th

Have a great week!



Looking ahead to next semester

Hi all! We hope you survived the Thanksgiving holiday and that you are rested and ready to finish out the semester strong.

While it might seem too early to think about next semester already, we do want to highlight three topics that will be featured in various ways during our CTL programming next semester: hybrid course design, inclusive classrooms, and active learning strategies. These are topics that continue to come up as areas in which faculty want more training–we’ve got you covered!

A few more notes before I sign off for today:

  • If you missed last Monday’s CTL hour on Test/Performance Anxiety with Normandale counselor Kristen Cooper, the materials from that session have been posted on the CTL D2L page. Thanks, Kristen, for sharing your expertise with us!
  • Congratulations to Xiaosheng Li for passing another “Quality Matters” certification for his online Math 2150 course! You can find more information about Quality Matters and what it is here.
  • Thank you to everyone who has posted a conference nametag on our bulletin board in F2201! It’s great to see the topics that faculty are exploring and the places they are visiting. Keep ’em coming 🙂
  • And finally, this week’s Friday Coffee Fix is “Bring Your Own Questions” from 9 am-12 pm and again from 1-3 pm in L1735.

Have a great week everyone!




The End is Near! (Now what do we do?)

The smell of turkey is in the air. Students are starting to look increasingly panicked. Faculty carrying large stacks of paper and looking harried rush from class to class.

Ahhh, the end of the semester. How do we survive it?

For starters, you can join us this afternoon from 3-4 pm in A2552 for a CTL workshop on student performance anxiety. Now that it’s nearly Thanksgiving, students are feeling more and more anxious about end-of-the-semester exams, projects, and presentations, and as finals get nearer, this anxiety will only intensify.

How can we help students manage and decrease their performance-related anxiety? In this CTL workshop, Kristen Cooper, one of Normandale’s counselors, will share strategies for helping students deal with anxiety—test anxiety in particular, but also anxiety related to class participation, presentations, etc.

We hope to see you there!

In other end-of-the-semester news, it is almost time for students to submit course evaluations. But what do we, as faculty, do with the information that we get from these evaluations?  Here are some articles that offer suggestions:

  • Here is an article from the Innovative Instructor blog (out of Johns Hopkins), with suggestions for how faculty can use course evaluations to improve their teaching and, ultimately, student feedback.
  • This article from Faculty Focus discusses how faculty can adopt an improvement mindset, where they are “always confronting themselves with how they could improve, always being on the lookout for ways to increase student learning, and always accepting that no matter how high (or low) the scores, improvement is an option.”
  • This final article, also from Faculty Focus, discusses when faculty receive negative comments and considers how to respond without overreacting.

As we look ahead to next semester, here are a few additional opportunities to consider:

  • First of all, thank you to the 44 faculty who responded to the “Blended/Hybrid course Instructor preparation and challenges, and to those who emailed Kathleen separately. Faculty can contact Kathleen Coate for an appointment if they’d like one-on-one help with D2L course design. Also, watch for a workshop on hybrid course design during the January Development Day–we know this is something that many of you have asked for! 
  • Also, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is hosting a 2.5-day Institute on Project-Based Learning “where teams of five or more faculty and administrators from colleges and universities of all types work with experts to gain knowledge about project-based learning and make tangible progress to integrate that knowledge into their own curricula. The Institute curriculum is a mix of interactive workshops on project-based learning, consultations with Institute faculty, and collaborative teamwork guided by a dedicated coach.” Applications are being accepted through February 12. You can find more information about this opportunity on WPI’s website.

That’s it for today! Enjoy the shorter week, and have a very happy Thanksgiving 🙂

Free beer and a survey! Plus the next CTL hour – Read on!

Time to think outside the box.

The semester’s final weeks are upon us and you could use a small boost.


Blended/Hybrid courses – take this survey to help us plan more robust training – earn a free (root) beer!

Take this quick survey*

*Questions are designed for current and potential instructors for Blended/Hybrid courses

  • Survey deadline: Friday, Nov. 16th @ noon
    • Only 7 questions – complete in 2 mins. or less
  • Free root beer available in L1735
    • It’s an anonymous survey, so we’ll take your word for it.

We are working with Instructional Designer Mary O’Brien from Winona State University to help us provide the best training and support for your work in these innovative and unique types of classes. Help us plan!

We value your input! Don’t delay – please take the survey by noon on Friday, Nov. 16th.

CTL Hour – Presentations, participation, and exams—oh my!

Monday, Nov. 19th, 3-4pm, Room A2552

These assignments often cause students anxiety, and as finals get nearer, this anxiety will only intensify.

How can we help students manage and decrease their performance-related anxiety? In this CTL workshop, Kristen Cooper, one of Normandale’s counselors, will share strategies for helping students deal with anxiety—test anxiety in particular, but also anxiety related to class participation, presentations, etc.

Please feel free to share this invitation with anyone you think might find this information useful. We hope to see you all there!

And for your reading…

This recent Chronicle article provides useful tips for engaging with online students:  Faculty Members Can Build Relationships With Online Students. Here’s How.

Have a great week!