Changes to the Center for Teaching and Learning; plus, a few reminders

Hi all!

We at the Center for Teaching and Learning hope you all had a great spring break! We are excited today to share with you some changes that we will be making to the structure of CTL to better serve the needs of faculty, but first, a few events that we want to make sure you don’t miss:

  • Today, from 3-4 pm in A2552, John Parker-Der Boghossian will lead the CTL workshop “Inclusive Classrooms: The Minority Stress Model Perspective.” In this workshop, John will discuss the Minority Stress Model, which comes from health research seeking to understand health disparities affecting marginalized communities. Applied to higher education, the Minority Stress Model provides unique insights into how our students navigate institutions and strategies we can use to promote inclusive classrooms. We hope to see you all there!
  • Before break, you received an email about the REFLECT program hosted by Anoka-Ramsey Community College. This is a fantastic opportunity to come together with other scholars of teaching and learning from around the Minnesota State system. More information is available here; applications are due to Kristina Keller by this Friday, March 22.
  • This summer, St. Cloud Technical and Community College is hosting the Institute for Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, “a dynamic cohort of colleagues committed to increasing cultural competence and the use of culturally responsive and inclusive teaching strategies.” Specific dates, more information about funding, and the application form can all be found here (you will need to log in with your Star ID@minnstate.edu and password). Applications are due April 8.

And now, for the exciting news about the changes coming to CTL next year!

Every week here at Normandale, faculty engage in amazing assessment and faculty development work, simply because that is what it means to do our jobs.

  • Has your department scheduled a workshop to train faculty in a new teaching strategy?
  • Has someone come to one of your department meetings to share information about a particular student service on campus?
  • Has your department worked through a program review or curriculum mapping project?
  • Have you met with other faculty in your department to share assignment ideas or lesson plans?
  • Have you gotten one-on-one help with D2L?

These things, and many, many more, are all examples of the faculty development and assessment work that you are already doing.

The Center for Teaching and Learning wants to make it easier for you to do this work.

That is why, starting in Fall 2019, the structure of the Center for Teaching and Learning is going to look a little different. Rather than schedule workshops that try (and fail) to address the needs of the whole campus, or force assessment projects to fit into a certain format, we will reallocate the CTL budget to help support the development and assessment work that you already know needs to happen.

Here is what this might look like:

  • Maybe your department wants to bring in a speaker on an exciting topic related to your discipline.
  • Maybe your department wants to hold a half-day retreat to talk about pedagogy or assessment, and wants help setting that up.
  • Maybe your department needs to conduct your program review and wants guidance aligning course outcomes with program outcomes.

There are many more possibilities as well—these are just a few examples!

CTL will provide support for projects like these in three key ways:

First, your department can get support for projects like these through available CTL funds; a process will be put in place to make getting this financial support simple.

Support will also be available through the three CTL Campus Leaders:

  • CTL Leader: Faculty Development Coordinator—This person will help schedule and organize faculty development efforts across campus, maintaining a campus-wide calendar of events.
  • CTL Leader: Assessment Coordinator—This person will help departments coordinate their assessment work.
  • CTL Leader: D2L/Online Learning Trainer—This person will help both departments and individuals with D2L and online learning needs.

Finally, support in the form of time will be available during the CTL College Hours—the 3rd and 5th Mondays of the month. This time will continue to be used for faculty development and assessment work, but on a department level, rather than campus-wide. Departments can use this time to host speakers, conduct trainings, work on assessment projects, or whatever they have identified as their particular faculty development or assessment needs.

CTL will also continue to support individuals who go above and beyond in their contributions to faculty development and assessment.

Several times a year, the Center for Teaching and Learning plans to hold high-impact events that will enable faculty to dive deeper into a particular faculty development or assessment-related topic. Some of the CTL budget will be used to provide funding for faculty to participate in these events, so that those who have a particular passion for faculty development or assessment can continue to cultivate their expertise.

We will be holding a series of forums to discuss this restructuring in greater detail and answer any questions you might have. These forums will be held on the following dates:

  • Monday, March 18 from 12-1 pm in A2552
  • Tuesday, March 19 from 3-4 pm in A2562
  • Wednesday, April 3 from 2:30-3:30 in A2552

If you have questions and can’t make it to one of the forums, please reach out to one of the current members of the CTL team: Jen Miller, Kathleen Coate, and Betsy Longley.

Have a great week, everyone!

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And It’s Already Week 7!

While you wouldn’t guess it by looking out the window at the mountains of snow, this is the last week before spring break! Today, we have some interesting articles for you to read, along with some reminders about faculty development opportunities after spring break.

Some things to read:

  • Wondering how to foster more productive conversations about challenging topics? This article by Loretta Ross introduces the concept of “calling in”–that is, pointing out underlying differences in understanding things such as race or privilege in a way that is intended to de-escalate conflict, rather than shame the speaker. She provides suggestions for language that we can use in the classroom to model this practice, leading to more genuine understandings of each other.
  • Many state college systems around the country are getting rid of their developmental education courses (courses designed to get students up to college level in areas such as math, reading, and writing) under pressure to reduce student debt. What are the effects of such a program shift? How do we see this debate playing out here at Normandale? What impact might it have on your classes?

Upcoming events:

  • On Monday, March 18, John Parker-Der Boghossian will lead the CTL workshop “Inclusive Classrooms: The Minority Stress Model Perspective.” In this workshop, John will discuss the Minority Stress Model, which comes from health research seeking to understand health disparities affecting marginalized communities. Applied to higher education, the Minority Stress Model provides unique insights into how our students navigate institutions and strategies we can use to promote inclusive classrooms. We hope to see you all there!
  • Interested in learning more about Open Education Resources (OERs)? LeadMN and Minnesota State are hosting an Open Education Resource symposium on Thursday, March 21 from 11 AM-1 PM. The symposium will be held at Lead MN and will also be webcast. This symposium will feature three faculty presenters, who will discuss the following topics:
    • Mark Gucinski (St. Cloud Technical and Community College) – OERs in Biology: One Faculty Members Perspective
    • Dan Allosso (Bemidji State University) – Remixing and Authoring OER
    • Kenny Tapp (Riverland) – Building and Using OER in Online Astronomy Courses
  • The Annotations tool for Assignments in D2L is expected to be released on March 21st as well! For more information about what this tool does, check out this preview.
  • The Center for Teaching and Learning is covering 10 faculty registrations for D2L Connection: Minnesota Edition, the D2L conference being held here at Normandale on Friday, April 5th. This conference is a great way to get more experience using various features of D2L Brightspace, as well as to share feedback with D2L staff and share strategies with colleagues from across the system. If you are interested, please contact Kathleen Coate–but act fast, since there are only a few of these free spots left!

Have a great week, everyone! We’ll see you all again after break 🙂

 

An Introduction to Opendora, D2L Connection Registration, and Rethinking Assignment Deadlines

Happy Monday, everyone!

This afternoon, from 3-4, Minnesota State will be holding a virtual conversation about Opendora, a digital archive for open educational resources.  This archive will enable faculty and librarians to easily load and share open educational resources (OER), which can help reduce the cost of textbooks! Karen Pikula, the OER Faculty Development Coordinator at Minnesota State, will be hosting this conversation, which will focus on questions users have, information about how to create an account, and how Opendora is structured.

You can join the conversation about Opendora here from 3-4 pm today (Monday); if that time doesn’t work for you, here is the user guide for this resource.

The Center for Teaching and Learning is covering 10 faculty registrations for D2L Connection: Minnesota Edition, the D2L conference being held here at Normandale on Friday, April 5th. This conference is a great way to get more experience using various features of D2L Brightspace, as well as to share feedback with D2L staff and share strategies with colleagues from across the system. If you are interested, please contact Kathleen Coate–but act fast, since there are only 5 of these free spots left!

With so much snow and ice on the roads, many students are struggling to make it to class, and often, to turn work in on time. This means that we as faculty might have to revisit policies for late work or come up with flexible options for students turning things in on time. Here in an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education about a professor who decided to do away with deadlines altogether that might be interesting to consider.

Also, remember the following upcoming dates:

  • Monday, March 18: CTL hour with John Parker-Der Boghossian, Normandale’s Equity and Inclusion Officer. John will be talking about minority stress theory and ways to make a classroom feel more inclusive.
  • Tuesday, March 26: Recharge Normandale Day! This full-day development day for all faculty and staff will feature a morning keynote speaker, followed by afternoon breakout sessions on a wide variety of topics. Stay tuned for more details!
  • Friday, March 29: Visit from Sara Goldrick-Rab, author of Paying the Price, a book about the effect of debt and financial hardship on students. More information to come!

Have a great week!

A New Faculty Focus Interview with Anne Byrd–and more!

Happy Tuesday, everyone! We hope you enjoyed your long weekend, and that your week is off to a great start.

Our big excitement here today is February’s Faculty Focus interview! We sat down last week with Anne Byrd, faculty in theatre, and learned more about her current  projects, the challenges and rewards of teaching theatre classes, and her recent trip to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in South Dakota. We hope you enjoy getting to know Anne as much as we did!

In other news, if you are still interested in participating in the Minnesota State spring semester equity book group, sign up before Thursday this week. The group is reading The College Fear Factor by Rebecca Cox, a book that looks at the importance of communication with students as a way of increasing their sense of belonging. The group meets through D2L, and there are also three AdobeConnect meetings on the following dates:

  • Thursday, February 21 – 12:00-1:30 pm 
  • Thursday, March 28 – 12:00-1:30 pm
  • Thursday, April 18 – 12:00-1:30 pm

You can participate in the group however you want–participate in the D2L course but not the meetings, or vice versa. You don’t even have to read the book to listen to the discussions of others! You can register for the course here.

Here are a few “save the date” reminders:

  • Friday, March 29–Sara Goldrick-Rab of Temple University will be on campus to talk about how the high cost of higher education affects students. Her book, Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream is available in the library if you want to read it before her talk.
  • Wednesday, July 31-August 1–Minnesota Summit on Learning and Technology at the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus. This conference (formerly the Minnesota eLearning Summit) is exploring the role that technology will play in teaching and learning in the future. If you are interested in presenting, proposals are due March 8. More information can be found here.

Finally, if you are looking to share information with your students about ways to study more effectively, you might find the work of The Learning Scientist to be helpful. This project is a group of cognitive psychological scientists who are sharing research on how to make learning more accessible to both students and educators.  You can find more about their research, including downloadable resources here.

Also, here is a short video outlining 6 key science-based study skills that you might find helpful to share with your students. Thanks to Beena Cook, Alicia Conroy, and Jack Norton for finding and sharing this resource!

Have a great week, everyone!

 

Mental Health, Student Needs, Rubrics, and More!

Hi all!

There are several upcoming events here at Normandale that address some of the issues our students struggle with:

  • Tuesday, February 12 (tomorrow!) from 12-1 pm in the Fireside Conference Room in the Kopp Student Center: A presentation on Eating Disorders and College Students. The presenter is Dr. Dirk Miller, Founder, Executive Chair, and Licensed Psychologist, The Emily Program.
  • Thursday, February 21 from 10 AM to 6 PM in the Nath Advising Center: Susan Gekas Memorial Mental Health Screening Day. Most of us will deal with depression, anxiety, or some other mental health issue in our lifetimes. Take an anonymous mental health check-up without charge and see how easy the process for a mental health check-up can be. Refreshments provided. Sponsored by the Normandale Advising and Counseling Department.

Also, if you are interested in learning more about rubrics this Friday’s Coffee Fix is All About Rubrics! Drop in to L1735 between 10am and 12pm and again between 1pm  and 2pm to learn more about this useful D2L tool.

The Credit for Prior Learning Assessment Network is offering a free, online workshop on Credit for Prior Learning, the CPL Academy, which will begin Feb. 19.

  • The four-module D2L-based Academy will have moderation available from two expert CPL faculty through April 19; after that, it will remain open as a resource site. More information about this opportunity can be found in this flyer.
  • Requests to participate in the CPL Academy should be submitted by Thursday, Feb. 14 to get started when the Academy opens.  If space remains, interested participants can continue to be added after the Academy opens Feb. 19.  If interested, fill out CPL-Academy_Application_Survey_Spring_2019 and send to mary.wright@metrostate.edu.

Finally, a bit of light reading: The book Hitting Pause – 65 Lecture Breaks to Refresh and Reinforce Learning by Gail Taylor Rice offers some practical suggestions for professors who regularly incorporate lectures into their classes. You can read some of the introductory material to this book here, courtesy of Stanford’s Tomorrow’s Professor blog.

Drive safely, everyone!