Hanging In There!

Hi all! We hope today’s drive wasn’t too terrible, and that you are hanging in there for the last few weeks of the semester.

We often talk about things that we can do at the beginning of the semester to make our classrooms welcoming and set a great tone for the rest of the semester. But what about the last day of class? Here are some strategies for ending your class with the same passion and care that you bring to the first day:

If you are looking for more specific help with the D2L Gradebook (or other D2L questions), you should check out this Friday’s Coffee Fix from 8:30-10:30 AM in L1735. You can also visit Kathleen in L1735 during her drop-in hours:

  • Today, Monday, until 4 pm
  • Tuesday from 2-4 pm
  • Wednesday from 9 am to 2 pm
  • Thursday from 1-4 pm

Kathleen is also available by appointment–check out her full schedule here.

And while it might be hard to start thinking about next semester while we’re in the thick of exams and final projects, you might want to start thinking about the Minnesota State spring book group, which is reading The Body Keeps the Score. Brain, Mind, Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessell van der Kolk. The group will meet three times via Zoom:

  • February 25, 2020, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
  • March 24, 2020, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
  • April 28, 2020, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

There will also be a course D2L page with resources to help explore issues related to trauma. You can participate in as much or as little as you like–you are even welcome to join the discussions if you haven’t read the book! More information can be found here; registration opens on December 16.

Finally, if you are looking for ways to teach your students how to evaluate online information, you might want to check out this curriculum, developed by the Stanford History Education Group, called Civic Online ReasoningFrom their website:

“Students are confused about how to evaluate online information. We all are. The COR curriculum provides free lessons and assessments that help you teach students to evaluate online information that affects them, their communities, and the world.”

Thanks to Jack Norton for passing along this resource!

Drive safely, everyone 🙂

Local Workshops and Conferences, and Resources for Thinking about Placement

Welcome back everyone!

To get things started, here is what’s on the Minnesota State Calendar this week:

Wednesday, December 4, 3-4 pm: Koffee with Karen: OER Community Site & Quickstart Guides. Click here for more info and to RSVP.

Also, this Friday’s Coffee Fix (on Dec. 6th) is about Zoom! Have you tried using Zoom for web conferencing? Learn how to login and set up your account, manage the meeting, and follow-up with recordings or transcripts afterwards. Click here for more info on using Zoom with your Star ID login.

There are a number of conferences, workshops, and online classes that are available in the upcoming months:

  • First of all, Winona State is once again offering WeTeach in the spring, from February 3-April 2, 2020. WeTeach is “an interactive, collaborative course intended for instructors who teach online or blended courses. Instructors will become an online student in the course to develop their own online teaching and design skills. This course also allows instructors to share online teaching experiences and best practices. This course is for instructors who are new to online teaching. It is also for instructors looking to expand their skills, explore new ways to engage students, and use technology more effectively to save time. Quality Matters standards, technology tools, D2L training, best practices, and research will be woven throughout all modules.” Tuition is $400. Click here for more information or to register for the course.
  • Last week, we shared information about Teaching Poverty 101, a 4-day workshop in June 2020 to help faculty respond to poverty in their classrooms. If you are looking for something closer to home, the “E”ffordability Summit will be held March 17-18, 2020 at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. This conference “is an opportunity for anyone concerned with the cost of educational materials. It brings together a diverse group to discuss topics centered around providing quality and affordable curricular content.” Registration and lunches are free–click here for more information and to register.
  • Last but not least–the International Digital Media and Arts Association (iDMAa) is holding a “Broken Media” conference at Winona State, June 26-28, 2020 to talk about “emerging media in a friendly and down-to-earth setting.” There are special sessions for students, as well. If you are interest in art, digital media, computers, and the way these all interact, this might be the conference for you!

Finally, as we continue to have conversations on our campus about placement and prerequisites, you might find the following articles from the Chronicle helpful. These articles can be a useful way to get up to speed on national conversations about developmental education, placement testing, and much more.

(Note: Both articles use the word “remedial” in their title, which is a term that has fallen out of favor by those in developmental education, as the term “developmental” does more to acknowledge the emerging skills of this group of students in a wide variety of areas, not just one particular course. In spite of this, the articles do a good job of representing some of the major discussions surrounding developmental education and placement.)

Have a great week, everyone! And hang in there–the end of the semester is in sight!



Giving Thanks for Faculty Development

Happy Monday, everyone! Here’s hoping you have a great short week and a very happy Thanksgiving.

If you attended last Monday’s panel on student placement and are looking to give feedback on the options, the form to submit can be found here. If you weren’t able to attend the panel, no worries–the Multiple Measures team will be working with departments, as well as presenting during the January Development Day, to share information about this upcoming change to the whole campus.

Some technology updates:

  1. IT Invites you to a tech demo of a Digital Flip Chart – Monday, Nov. 25th (TODAY!) from 2-3pm in A1555. Click here for more info.
  2. Two minor D2L updates came through last week that you’ll probably notice if you’re Grading quizzes or Assignments.
    1. A “New” column was added to the Assignments view so that you can see the number of new files added, such as late submissions, etc.
    2. The “Published” column in the Quiz grading view has changed – use the left-column rather than the right column to select and Publish quiz grades.
      Click here for the full November release notes
  3. Kathleen Coate (the Campus D2L Trainer) will be leaving Wednesday around noon, so if you have D2L questions, make sure you ask her before then!

Additional faculty development opportunities:

  • The University of Wisconsin-Madison is offering Teaching Poverty 101, “a workshop that offers strategies and resources for instructors developing college-level courses and lessons on poverty and inequality.” This opportunity is open to Ph.D.-holding faculty at U.S. postsecondary institutions; tuition, fees, accommodations, and some meals are provided. You can find more information, including how to apply, here. Applications are due by January 12.
  • Interested in Open Education Resources (OER)? Karen Pikula is hosting an open forum conversation on Wednesday, December 4 from 3-4 pm via Zoom to share information about the new OER Community Site and the OER Quickstart Guides that can be found there. More information, including an RSVP link, can be found here.
  • Tired of grading essays? Looking for an assessment method that offers the depth of an academic essay but in a more creative, inspiring form? The Tomorrow’s Professor blog offers an excerpt from Creating Wicked Students: Designing Courses for a Complex World by Paul Hanstedt that highlights some ideas for course assessments that move beyond paper assignments.
  • Last but not least, if you are planning to submit a proposal for a session at this year’s virtual STAR Symposium (8:30-4 pm, February 28), the deadline is this week–November 30th. You can find information about the symposium, including the call for proposals, here.

Finally, thanks to everyone who has posted their name badges from conferences and workshops on the bulletin board in F2205. Keep it up! It’s great to see all the faculty development work that is happening around campus.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!


Panel on Student Placement, Finding Your Place Podcast, Technology Offerings, and Interactive Teaching Techniques

Happy Monday everyone!

Just a reminder that this afternoon, CTL, the Multiple Measures workgroup, and the Developmental Education and Placement Testing Committee (DEEPT-C) are hosting a panel on student placement from 3-4 pm in S2325.

Even though we often think of placement testing in relation to the subjects of the tests—English, Reading, and Math—course placement affects everyone on campus. For example, if you have a reading or writing prerequisite on your class, changes to the reading or writing placement process will affect the students in your course. Course placement also affects students’ persistence, retention, and completion, how much advising they might need, what they spend their financial aid on, and more. Because of the wide-reaching effects of course placement, it is important that we as a campus understand the process, how it affects our students, and what changes might be made to the process.

At this panel of students, faculty, and staff, you will have an opportunity to ask questions and hear more about the following:

  • the placement process from students themselves
  • the upcoming changes to this process
  • the options we have regarding these changes
  • decisions that we will need to make

The panel will be held in S2325—we hope many of you will be able to attend. The panel will conclude with enough time for attendees to also attend the Jennifer Isaacs tribute.


David Engen of MSU Mankato and Robert Jersak of Century College have developed a podcast featuring students sharing their insights and advice about college called “Finding Your Place.” This podcast allows students to hear about college from their peers, while also acknowledging the cultural assets that the student producers themselves have.

This podcast could be a great resource to share with students in a class like NCC 1000 or some of the other courses that students often take during their first semester at college–students could even be encouraged to add in their own thoughts about college by contributing to the ongoing supplementary episodes of the podcast. For more ideas about how to incorporate this podcast into your class, you can check out the accompanying educator’s guide.


In technology-related news, this Friday’s Coffee Fix is “Planning for spring.” Want to begin planning or make changes to your online environment for next semester? Stop by L1735 from 8:30- 10:30 am on Friday, November 22 for some tips and/or resources to get you started.

Also, Minnesota State’s offerings this week include:


And last but not least, if you are looking to try something new in the classroom as the semester winds down, you might be interested in this article “Interactive Techniques from the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Central Florida. This could be a great way to shake things up a bit and keep students engaged for the last few weeks of the semester.

Have a great week, everyone!

New Faculty Focus Interview, Exciting Events on Campus, and Kaltura MediaSpace Updates

Good morning, everyone! We hope that your long weekend was enjoyable and that you’re all caught up with your grading 🙂

To start things off today, here’s the November Faculty Focus interview. This month, we talked to Loli Dillon, Faculty in English and one of last year’s Board of Trustees Award nominees. Listen to what she has to say about the pros and cons of building strong communities in the classroom, the novel she wants to write, and her book recommendations.

Here are several upcoming events on campus that might be of interest to faculty:

Monday, November 18: Panel on Course Placement, 3-4 pm, S2325. During this panel presentation, you will have an opportunity to ask questions and hear more about the following:

  • the placement process from students themselves
  • the upcoming changes to this process
  • the options we have regarding these changes
  • decisions that we will need to make

We hope to see you all there!

Monday, November 18: Opioid Crisis in Minnesota?, 11 am – 1 pm, Garden Room. Healing the community starts with you. Come, listen, and connect with our expert panelists. Learn how to help those struggling within our community. Ask questions directly to the speakers over lunch.

Monday, November 25: Anti-Racist and Inclusive Pedagogy for Philosophy. Stay tuned for more information about this workshop hosted by the Philosophy department.

Thursday, December 12 and Friday, December 13: Masterclass and Concert featuring Dr. William Muñoz on trumpet. Using CTL funding the Music Department will be bringing Dr. William Muñoz to campus for several collaborative events with Normandale faculty and students. Stay tuned for details about these exciting events!

And remember–if your department wants to host a workshop, bring a speaker to campus, or attend a discipline-related event or conference, CTL can help! The application form can be found on the CTL D2L page, and you can email Jen Miller (jennifer.miller@normandale.edu) with any questions.

Last but not least, some important changes have been made to Kaltura MediaSpace:

  • Update 1: New Provider of Machine Captioning Services
    Although you can still order “machine” captions, under the Actions button, the ordering process looks just a bit different. There is still no cost to order these machine captions, but rather than using cielo24, Kaltura now uses captions generated via automated speech recognition (ASR) provided by a company called Verbit.

You should find that these automated captions are a bit more accurate than what was previously provided, but no machine generated captioned will be compliant with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) without editing to be at least 99% accurate. No worries, any captions that you requested with the previous service will still be associated with your video. Finally, when you have a caption associated with your video, an interactive transcript widget will be available to guide viewers through your captions. Visit this video overview.

  • Update 2: Inserting Videos to D2L Brightspace Is Now Updated
    Wherever you find the HTML editor of D2L Brightspace, you’ll see an updated way to insert your Kaltura videos. This new option gives you the option to select a video player size that matches your needs. Visit this introductory video provided by Kaltura. Also new to D2L Brightspace is the ability for faculty using Kaltura’s Video Quiz tool to send student scores to the gradebook. Review what to expect from Kaltura or visit their introductory video about video quizzes in D2L Brightspace.
  • Update 3: Turn on Accessibility Mode (High Contrast)
    The Kaltura video player already supports screen readers and can already be navigated through keyboard shortcuts. Although the default text in MediaSpace meets WCAG-specified contract rations, you can now turn on Kaltura’s Accessibility Mode to provide a high contrast experience in MediaSpace.
  • Update 4: Video Hotspots
    You can now use Kaltura’s Hotspots to add a button at a specific time in your video where your viewers are invited to open a link to a website you specify.
  • Update 5: New Question Type for Kaltura Video Quiz
    We’ve enabled a new Video Quiz option for “open question types.” Additionally, faculty members will now have the option to turn on retake capabilities.

Interested in learning more?
Minnesota State staff will be hosting an open, information session on Friday, November 15 at 12:00pm to showcase these changes and to answer any related question you may have. Register to attend this open session via the Network for Educational Development, Events Calendar and you’ll receive an email reminder.

Have a great (short) week, everyone!