Faculty Focus Interview, Minnesota State Webinars, and a Look Ahead to June!

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

We’ll start off this week with a new Faculty Focus interview, this time with Betsy Longley, Faculty in Chemistry and CTL Leader: Assessment Coordinator. Learn how Betsy sees chemistry all around her, what excites her about assessment, and what she thinks you should know about assessment here at Normandale! (A reminder–these interviews are just audio, even though a blank video screen appears as well.)

As Betsy mentions in her interview, there is an Assessment Boot Camp being held on Friday, April 10 from 9 AM to 3 PM. There are 4 spots left, so if you are hoping to attend, email Betsy soon!

Minnesota State continues to offer online webinars on various topics--here are several that are coming up in the next few weeks:

And while June might seem like a long way off, there are some great opportunities for faculty development that might be good to plan ahead for:

  • The Higher Education Innovation Summit, June 3-5, Rochester, Minnesota. As stated on the conference website, “This summit is designed to connect creative educators and researchers seeking to transform higher education through innovations that enhance student learning.” Keynote speakers will be Cathy Davidson, author of the best-selling book: The New Education, educational innovator, and a distinguished scholar of the history of technology, and Jennifer Sparrow, Associate Vice President, Teaching and Learning with Technology at Penn State University. Proposals are being solicited on the following topics–these proposals are due January 24:
    • Strategies and classroom approaches to support student mental health
    • Creativity in the classroom
    • Effective innovation in online higher education
    • Learning environments
    • Technology in higher education
  • The University of Minnesota–Twin Cities is hosting a workshop entitled “Facilitating Intercultural Learning in Globally Diverse Classrooms” on June 10-12. As stated on their website, “The workshop is intended for faculty and instructors who seek to create inclusive learning environments that successfully engage all students through intentional course design and teaching practices.”

It’s hard to think of summer when there’s so much snow on the ground, but these are both great opportunities close to home that align with many of our strategic initiatives here at Normandale. If you need funding to attend either event, remember that individual faculty development funds are available–you can contact Rob Gronemann for more information.

Last but not least, if you have suggestions for possible Common Book candidates, or if you would like to be involved in helping shape the Common Book program, please email Jen Miller (jennifer.miller@normandale.edu) with your suggestions and ideas.

Have a great (short) week, everyone!

And We’re Off!

Happy First Day of Classes, everyone! We at the Center for Teaching and Learning hope that your semester is off to a great start. If there is anything that we can do to support you in your faculty development this semester, please contact one of the three CTL campus leaders:

  • Jen Miller (jennifer.miller@normandale.edu), Faculty Development Coordinator
  • Kathleen Coate (kathleen.coate@normandale.edu), D2L and Online Learning Trainer
  • Betsy Longley (elizabeth.longley@normandale.edu), Assessment Coordinator

Here are some of the programs, drop-in-hours, and other ways of helping that we are offering this spring:

  • First, if you are looking for D2L or online learning help, here is Kathleen’s schedule for this spring, including Friday Coffee Fixes, which are select Fridays from 8:30-10:30 AM.
  • If you are looking for money to fund faculty development efforts within your department as a whole, you can apply for CTL funding! Maybe you want to bring a speaker to campus, or perhaps your whole department wants to attend a local workshop. Simply fill out this application, making sure you explain why your proposed event would help with faculty development. If you’re looking for ideas, email Jen and she can help!
  • Last but not least, if you are looking for assessment help, specifically a solid foundation in the fundamentals of assessment, you should consider attending the Assessment Boot Camp on Friday, April 10th from 9 AM to 3 PM. More information can be found on this flier.

Some other items that may be of interest as well:

And last but not least, CTL is working to once again select a Common Book for the 2020/2021 Academic Year, and we’d like your help! The Common Book program is designed to engaged faculty, staff, and students across campus in interdisciplinary conversations centered on a common text. Past Common Books include A Good Time for the Truth (edited by Sun Ying Shin), The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot), and The Round House (Louise Erdrich).

Tom Maltman, Faculty in English and long-time participant in the Common Book program, has a compelling list of benefits the Common Book program can provide to our campus and community:

  1. Can help create lifelong learners
  2. Fosters cross-curricular discussions and learning
  3. Connects the campus to real issues in the larger world
  4. Invigorate stale teaching practices by providing instructors with fresh curriculum and a pedagogical pooling of ideas
  5. Creates the possibility for campus-wide discussions and bridges between Normandale and Twin Cities community
  6. Builds knowledge, empathy, and imagination–all attributes we hope for in future citizens

When selecting a Common Book, we hope to find texts that are inexpensive, appealing to a variety of academic disciplines, and at a reading level that is accessible even to students below college level. It’s a bonus if the author would be available to come read or present their work on campus.

If you have suggestions for possible Common Book candidates, or if you would like to be involved in helping shape this program, please email Jen Miller (jennifer.miller@normandale.edu) with your suggestions and ideas.

Have a great week, everyone!

Gearing Up for Spring 2020!

Hi all!

I hope everyone had a fantastic break, and that we’re all relaxed and ready to hit the ground running for the upcoming semester.

As you start thinking about your upcoming classes, there are many resources available this week that you might find useful.

First off, if you are looking for D2L help, Kathleen Coate has lots of great workshops and one-on-one time available this week.


  • Wednesday, January 8, 9-10 am: Resources for Students, C3026
    • Learn best practices for preparing students for your online environment.
    • Import specific pre-built tools directly into your D2L course to help students navigate your online environment.

  • Wednesday, January 8, 10 am-noon: Gradebook Setup in D2L, C3026
    • Navigate the “Setup Wizard” to start building your gradebook.

    • Learn how to get the most out of your D2L gradebook.

  • Thursday, January 9, 10 am-noon: Audio and Visual Tools in D2L, C3026
    • Experiment with Zoom web conferencing and MediaSpace, including the new “Express Capture” tool directly in D2L.

Drop-in help:

  • Wednesday, January 8, 1-3 pm, C3026
  • Thursday, January 9, 12-2 pm, C3026

Appointments Available (RSVP to kathleen.coate@normandale.edu):

  • Tuesday, January 7, 9 am-noon, L1735

Also, we have a development day this Friday, January 10, from 8 am to 4 pm. You can find the full schedule here. There are lots of exciting workshops and breakout sessions to attend. Here are some of the possibilities:

  • Hear from this year’s Teaching Circles about what they’re learning about metacognition and fostering engaged citizens.
  • Learn about the Common Book program and start thinking about possible candidates for the 2020/2021 book.
  • Wondering how to assess writing skills in a non-writing course? Learn strategies for using rubrics to grade writing assignments and prove feedback in areas outside of the English discipline.
  • Speaking of rubrics, you can learn more about using rubrics in D2L!
  • There will also be the chance to hear from faculty who are using a tool called VoiceThread to make online discussions more exciting and interactive.

There will also be sessions on hiring training, student placement, managing challenging student situations, strategic planning, and Teaching Naked (the book, not the activity). We hope everyone is able to find something that they can learn from!

Enjoy these last few days of break, and we look forward to seeing you all on Friday!

End of the Semester Opportunities–and Beyond!

Hi all! Happy finals week! Good luck with finals, grading, and all the end-of-semester chaos 🙂

If you are looking for D2L help/online learning support this week, here is Kathleen’s finals week schedule. As always, she can be found in L1735.

  • Mon, 12/16: 9am-12pm; 12:30-4pm
  • Tues, 12/17: 3-5pm
  • Wed, 12/18:9am-12pm; 12:30-4pm
  • Thurs, 12/19:9am-12pm; 12:30-4pm
  • Fri, 12/20:9am-12pm; 12:30-3pm

There is also some help available next week as well, right before grades are due:

  • Mon, 12/23: 9am-12pm; 1-3pm
  • Tues, 12/24: 9-11am (*Grades due @ 12pm)

Kathleen is also offering workshops, along with individual help, at the beginning of next semester. You can find her full schedule here.

As we look ahead to next semester, here are two exciting opportunities for faculty development:

Assessment Boot Camp is coming on Friday, April 10 from 9 AM to 3 pm! This day-long workshop is designed to give you a solid foundation in the fundamentals of assessment, including:

  • CCOs, CLOs, PLOs, SLOs, and curriculum maps…what they are, where they are, and how they can be valuable to you and your students.
  • Formative vs summative assessments, direct vs indirect assessments, and qualitative vs quantitative assessments…including examples of how you can use these in your courses.
  • Specific strategies and techniques you can tailor to your own courses.

We will be holding the workshop off-campus and lunch will be served. If you are scheduled to teach on that day, the College will provide substitute pay for a colleague to teach for you, and your Dean will approve your absence as Professional Development Leave.

All are welcome, but space is limited to 20 participants. If you are interested in attending, send an email to Normandale’s Assessment Coordinator, Betsy Longley (betsy.longley@normandale.edu) to reserve your space.

The STAR symposium will be held on Friday, February 28 from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

This free virtual one-day conference includes presentations that focus on pedagogical approaches including delivery via face-to-face, blended, flipped and online classrooms.

You can find more information and register here; if you have questions, feel free to contact Kathleen Coate (kathleen.coate@normandale.edu).

Finally, you may have heard that there are some changes coming to Office 365. Here is a short update from Steve Winckelman:

This spring we will be moving our phones to Office 365. This will also allow us to move faculty and staff email messages off local servers and on to the Minnstate Office 365 cloud. How we use phones and access email will remain largely unchanged but after the move we will have additional, new ways of accessing both.

During the break the IT staff will be piloting the new phone system. After that pilot we will work with the system office to establish and publish a timeline for a full campus move.

Have a great break, everyone, and we’ll see you back here in January!

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 🙂