Improving Design from Syllabus to Online Course; plus, do you know a great teacher?

Welcome back from Fall Break–hopefully it was relaxing and re-energizing!

This Friday, October 27th, there will be no D2L drop-in hours.  Kathleen Coate will be at the Improving Your Online Course workshop in Rochester.  More information about this workshop can be found here.  If you are interested in attending, please let her know today!

Next Monday, October 30th, the Center for Teaching and Learning needs your help!  We want to revise our syllabus checklist and we’re looking for your input.  How do you present syllabus information to your students?  How do you balance thoroughness with being inviting?  How do you creatively engage your students while still conveying important information?  During this workshop, we will review best practices in accessible syllabus design, while also brainstorming for ways to be more creative and engaging (such as these ideas from the Berkeley Center for Teaching and Learning about incorporating visual material into a syllabus).  Come ready to review the syllabus checklist and offer your input–and maybe you’ll come away with a few ideas for how to improve your own syllabi for Spring 2018!

If you are wondering which forms of assessment best support student learning, this article by Grahm Gibbs and Claire Simpson might be of interest.  And if you don’t really have time to read anything else right now, the Tomorrow’s Professor blog at Stanford has helpfully summarized it for us!

And last but not least, do you know a really great teacher?

From the recent Normandale News emails: “Here’s your chance to honor your favorite Normandale faculty member. Up to three nominees will be identified as Normandale’s candidates for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees Excellence in Teaching award. Please write a few sentences or more (50 words minimum) about what made that person such an excellent instructor for you. These are the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system’s criteria; include as many as you can. Feel free to leave any out, though, if you have no knowledge about them or nothing to say. Thanks for supporting your Normandale Faculty!

  • Skilled teaching that fosters student learning and adapts to student needs.
  • Exceptional subject knowledge that is current and engages students.
  • Assessment methods that include both grading and teaching for student success.
  • High standards focused on student learning; with the support students need to reach them.
  • Service to students, the college, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, and the professional community.

Send an email with your nomination by 4 pm, Monday, Oct. 30, to Vice President for Academic Affairs, Julie Guelich, at

For further information, contact co-chairs Bridget Fitzpatrick at 952-358-9062 or Patrick O’Donnell at 952-358-8684.”

Thanks all for today!

Edit: This post formerly contained information about a workshop at the University of Minnesota on increasing student motivation.  Unfortunately, that workshop is only open to faculty at the U of M so that information has been removed.


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