CTL Faculty Resource Bulletin

Faculty Resource Bulletin 

Highlights of this week’s bulletin include: 

  • Formalities 
  • Opportunities for Faculty Support and Development 
  • Faculty and Student Resources 
  • Potpourri 
  • Minnesota State Events and Development Opportunities 
  • National and Vendor-Sponsored Events and Development Opportunities 


A Note from Fran Kennedy  

Hi everyone! What a whirlwind the last few weeks have been! This is my ninth year working in higher education and I must say that this time of the year always seems a bit more hectic than the other weeks of the year. But then Thanksgiving comes, and we get two (very needed) days of respite and thanks. Hopefully you had a restful break. 

There are a lot of wonderful things happening at both colleges, as well as at MinnState, that I hope you are taking advantage of. For instance, there’s the opportunity to participate in discipline-specific learning communities through Minnesota State. There will also be opportunities to get involved with the Center for Teaching and Learning next semester.  Be sure to take advantage of these opportunities! 

I would love to connect with you to learn how the Center for Teaching and Learning can support you in your practices. Feel free to drop in during my weekly drop-in hours on Thursdays from 3-4 pm to share your ideas with me. The Zoom link for these drop-in office hours and the passcode are listed below. I hope to see you there! 

Zoom link: 
Passcode: 703266 

Center for Teaching and Learning Faculty Survey 

My team and I want to know how the Center for Teaching and Learning can best support faculty development. To help us gauge how we can best support faculty, we are asking faculty at DCTC and Inver to take this brief survey by Thursday, December 8th:  Thanks for your help with this! 

A Message from the Information Technology (IT) Department 

Beware of phishing emails! 

Phishing is the term given to communications, usually email, where the attacker tries to fool the target into revealing private information about themselves or their organization. Often claiming to be IT Solutions, the attacker will usually include hyperlinks to malicious websites in the email that appear to be legitimate or include malicious attachments. Simply visiting the URL or downloading the attachment can be enough to compromise your machine. 

If your account is compromised, attackers will often start sending out more phishing emails from your account. This could damage your reputation and decrease the trust others place in your future emails. 

Additionally, attackers may be able to compromise any other accounts attributed to that email address. This could include bank accounts, social networking accounts, file backup, remote connection to your computer, and so on. 

To determine if it’s phishing, look at the content. Attackers will often use a sense of urgency in their messages. For example: 

  • “Your account will be disabled unless you act now!!!” 
  • “Please update your account information or your account will be terminated” 
  • “Your mailbox storage has exceeded the quota” 
  • Often, they will include a link or attachment. These will usually, although not always, require some action on our part, such as selecting or downloading, to be successful. 
  • Spelling and grammatical errors are very common among phishing communications. Many of the attacks originate from overseas or from people who don’t speak English as their first language. Although this is not always the case, treat emails with excessive grammatical errors with extra scrutiny. 

To avoid being phished, DON’T CLICK ON LINKS! 

When you receive an email about your account, instead of clicking on the link, open your browser and manually type in the site address. Because you are going to the site yourself, you can be more confident that you are going to the right place. A bank or other financial institution should never be sending you emails with links in them. 

If you receive an email about your bank account being compromised, take the time to call your bank. If in fact your account is compromised, you will be able to get additional assistance over the phone. It is important to use the phone number found on your bank card and not the phone number included in the email. 

If you need further assistance the college I.T. Department is available to provide guidance. 

Mental Wellness Resources for Faculty and Staff 

Did you know that as a Minnesota State employee you have access to free mental health services? EAP (Employee Assistance Program) Work/Life Services are available for you to use as needed. Services offered include free counseling sessions, concierge services (like professional services or childcare/elder care assistance), and well-being webinars. More information can be found here: 

Free remote counseling is also available through the Walk-In Counseling Center: Take advantage of these wonderful resources! 

New Extension Available to Inver Hills Faculty and Staff  

It can be annoying to be paywalled when trying to access online articles. Inver Hills recently partnered with Lib Key Nomad to make finding articles a simpler process. To add this extension to your web browser, open your extensions, search “Lib Key Nomad,” and add this amazing tool. Once you’ve successfully installed the extension, you will experience the difference; when searching for sources, pop-ups will direct you to paywalled articles that you can access for free through the Inver Hills Library. Happy researching to you!      

Opportunities for Faculty Support and Development 

CTL Open Labs and Consultations 

Essentially drop-in office hours, the CTL Open Lab sessions that occur every Tuesday from 12:30-1:30 pm are to provide faculty with just-in-time assistance depending on their needs. Feel free to drop in for a few minutes, even if you don’t have any questions to ask.  

We also provide one-on-one assistance to faculty. Schedule a consultation with CTL staff for a time that fits your schedule: 

Tech Training- Upcoming Sessions  

Staff and faculty are invited to attend the CTL’s Tech Trainings, which take place every Monday and Wednesday from 12-12:30 pm. During this time, the CTL provides technical training to help support faculty and staff in their use of technology.   

Upcoming topics include: 

  • Wednesday, November 30th: Common Student Technology Questions 
  • Monday, December 5th: D2L Gradebook  
  • Wednesday, December 7th: O365 Functions (last session of the semester)  

Digital Learning Labs 

You know that cool classroom with all the instructional gadgets and technological stuff? You are invited to play with these gadgets and technologies whenever you have the time and interest. If this is something that is of interest to you, you can reserve the Digital Learning Lab in Outlook by creating a new meeting and inviting the email address and the people Chad Anderson and Fran Kennedy OR and the people Jamie Zukic and Fran Kennedy (depending on your college). Technology doesn’t have to be intimidating – know that we are here to help make technology make sense. Read more about Digital Learning Labs here. 

Faculty Development Opportunities through the Center for Teaching and Learning  

Now that things are finally settling down for the fall semester, it’s time to start planning for the spring! The Center for Teaching and Learning will be sharing information in the next bulletin about the following opportunities: 

  • Gateway Mastery information sessions  
  • How to apply for Innovative Teaching Fellowships 

These opportunities will be further explained in the following bulletin … To be continued!  

Faculty and Student Resources 

D2L Brightspace Resources 

Anything that you want to know about D2L Brightspace has probably been written about on the Center for Teaching and Learning’s website! If you ever find yourself stumped about how to use a specific D2L Brightspace tool, you might check out the D2L Brightspace Resources page (linked)pro tip: bookmark this website. And if there’s ever something that you can’t resolve, know that we are here to support you.  

Course Design Resources 

If you are seeking resources that will help you grow in your teaching practices, the Faculty Resources site contains a collection of resources to assist faculty with the design of online courses. The Course Design page has instructions for accessing the Course Design Template and archives of past Course Design Institutes. The 2021 Course Design Institute, for example, was focused on Universal Design for Learning and contains many helpful guides for faculty. There is also a new semester checklist available. 

CTL Resources to Support Students 

Services for faculty:  

Options for you to use and book yourself! 


Services for students: 

Options for you to recommend to students! 

Course Review – Student Perspective 

This service is available to faculty who want their course reviewed from a student perspective. After booking, you’ll meet with a member of the CTL team about your course. They will then view the course as a student and compile feedback and suggestions designed to increase student success in the course. Please allow at least one week for feedback to be compiled. 


Tutorials available 24/7 on the CTL Student Resources Website:  

Tutorials (both written and video) are available on topics including D2L, Outlook and Office 365, Zoom, and other academic technologies. 

Class Visits 

This service is available to faculty members who want a member of the CTL to come to their class and engage students in their academic technology. Potential topics could include using Outlook Email, navigating D2L, using and downloading O365 to student devices, or simply an introduction and explanation of technology support on campus for students. This booking is available for both in-person and virtual meetings. Please specify the location, desired topic, and any other important details in the description of this form. 


Available for One-on-One Appointments on Starfish:  

Students can book appointments through Starfish using this link. 


Starfish Referrals 

Do you have students who are struggling with their academic technology? Advisors, Coaches, and Instructors can now make a “Learning Technology Support” referral in Starfish. After making the referral, students will get an email encouraging them to set up an appointment, and members of the CTL team will get a flag to reach out to the student to offer guidance and support on the technology need. 


Open Lab Hours at both DCTC and Inver Hills: Available throughout the semester, both for appointments and walk-in questions. Please refer to the linked page for the most up-to-date times, dates, and locations for Open Lab Hours. 
  In-Person and Virtual Programs throughout the semester:  

Topics can include An Introduction to Students’ Digital Tools on Campus, Online Learning Tips and Tricks, D2L Navigation Help, and more. Up-to-date event information can be found here: 

·  DCTC’s Events 

·  Inver Hills Events 



NEW! You Should Read It  

When I was at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, I had the fortune of taking a course titled Philosophy of Education. That semester, I read an entire John Dewey book and vowed that I would never read him again. His lengthy sentences and poor syntax were too much for me. The following semester, I was thrilled to be taking John Dewey’s Philosophy of Education. (I bet you didn’t see that coming.)  

If you’re unfamiliar with Dewey, he was an educational philosopher who was writing as early as the 1880s and had some compelling ideas about education that still ring true today. And if you don’t know the name, you probably know the impact: you know the University of Chicago Laboratory School? He founded that.  

Basically, his big idea was that it is important to use a student’s experience to inform their learning. Additionally, he believed in experiential learning, interdisciplinary studies, metacognition, and the application of academic skills to future work. He was progressive, and in some ways, remains progressive to this day. His ideas scream, “GUIDED PATHWAYS!”  

John Dewey’s Experience & Education touches on all these things in a summative way and is a much shorter text than his other works (and is written much more succinctly too). You should read it.   

Incorporating Guided Learning Pathways into Teaching Practices – Cocurricular Experiences 

What it is and why it’s important: 

Community and technical college students are more likely to be parking lot-to-parking lot learners compared to residential students living on their college campuses which may prevent them from becoming fully engaged in their college experience. And while this is the choice of students, it may be impacting their retention and completion of their degrees.  

The Higher Learning Commission defines cocurricular learning activities as: “Learning activities, programs, and experiences that reinforce the institution’s mission and values and complement the formal curriculum. Examples: Study abroad, student-faculty research experiences, service learning, professional clubs or organization, athletics, honor societies, career services, etc.” (HLC, 2022). So while these opportunities may not be directly linked to students’ academic experiences, cocurricular activities allow students to connect with the campus, course content, and other students in meaningful ways that promote their sense of belonging and connectedness.  

Normalizing co-curricular experiences for students will allow them to see the value of connecting to campus. To help with this, instructors can inform students of events happening on campus regardless of the discipline. For example, if you teach math, you still might want to tell your students about the awesome upcoming play. Or if you teach automotive and you know there is a volleyball game coming up, you may invite your students to attend. If you want to take this a step further, you may include relevant co-curricular opportunities within your course calendar. For instance, if you teach theatre, you may include the dates of upcoming plays within your course calendar, so students see it as part of their overall experience rather than an additional piece.   

Where to learn more:  

Article: The Curricular and the Co-Curricular 

Blog: Transforming the Community College Student Co-curricular Experience 

Blog: Co-Curricular Transcripts: An Important Compass of College Life 

The Guided Learning Pathways section will return in the spring bulletin.  

New! Faculty Conundrums 

The CTL Bulletin will now feature seemingly unresolvable issues that faculty could use help with. If you find that you have an unresolvable problem, feel free to send your conundrum to me at Your conundrums will remain anonymous.  

This week’s conundrum: Students are using their textbooks and notes to take a closed-book exam in an online course.  

What suggestions do you have for the instructor to prevent this from happening (aside from Respondus lockdown browser)? How might the instructor restructure the exam to promote students’ application of knowledge without students relying on their notes/textbooks? Send your suggestions to me at  

Minnesota State Events and Development Opportunities 

Minnesota State Network for Educational Development 

The Network for Educational Development (NED) has programming to support faculty, including short courses and webinars. These opportunities are designed by Minnesota State faculty and staff for Minnesota State faculty and staff and help build awareness, develop knowledge, skills, and abilities, and provide space for reflecting and revising. Check out the Network for Educational Development (NED) events calendar to see if any events are of interest to you. 

  • On December 7th at 3 pm, OER Community Conversations will include a student panel discussion where students will share their experiences and barriers regarding accessibility. Click to sign up here.  

Looking ahead to spring, NED has some insightful short courses and learning communities that you might want to check out including a short course on accessible digital media and a learning community centered on culturally responsive pedagogy. Click here to see the full programming.  

Discipline-Specific Learning Communities 

MinnState faculty are invited to join Discipline-Specific Faculty Learning Communities. This is a great chance for colleagues to re-engage with others in their discipline or those they met at previous Teach Together Minnesota! conferences, and to explore evidence-based strategies that could reduce equity gaps that exist within our programs. Faculty will be compensated for their participation.  

Participating disciplines for Spring 2023 include: 

  • Accounting 
  • Economics 
  • Math 
  • Health and Exercise Science 

More information can be found here. 

National and Vendor-Sponsored Events and Development Opportunities 

VoiceThread Workshops 

Access VoiceThread’s full workshop archive and schedule of upcoming workshops. These workshops are completely free and are led by our instructional designer and online educator George Haines. George will share his expertise to help you get the most from VoiceThread. 

Quality Matters 

Elements of Quality Matters: Deliver on Your Online Promise — discover QM’s tools and resources in this one-hour, self-paced course 

Online Learning Consortium 

The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is a collaborative community of higher education leaders and innovators, dedicated to advancing quality digital teaching and learning experiences designed to reach and engage the modern learner – anyone, anywhere, anytime. OLC inspires innovation and quality through an extensive set of resources, including best-practice publications, quality benchmarking, leading-edge instruction, community-driven conferences, practitioner-based and empirical research, and expert guidance. The growing OLC community includes faculty members, administrators, trainers, instructional designers, and other learning professionals, as well as educational institutions, professional societies, and corporate enterprises. OLC resources are available to all Minnesota State faculty. Learn more here. 


Whether you’re a new user or need a refresh, join our training sessions to learn how to get started with Feedback Studio and Originality Check Plus, or how to enable remote learning and assessment with Gradescope. 

More information and registration at 

The Chronicle of Higher Education 

The Chronicle of Higher Education provides faculty and staff with relevant online webinars that can help to impact their practices. Some upcoming virtual events through the Chronicle include:  

Already shared, but relevant nonetheless:  

The Faculty Resource Bulletin is one of many steps we’re taking to improve communication about local and statewide faculty professional development information and opportunities. Please visit our Faculty Resources sites (see links in the header of this blog) for more information and resources to support teaching and learning! 


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