Faculty Resource Bulletin

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 as well as past Bulletins.

Highlights of this week’s Bulletin include:

  • Semester Start Resources and Tools
  • Zoom Web Conferencing
  • Events and Development Opportunities
    • Coming up on campus: Brightspace Refresher Camp – January 8 at DCTC
    • Transparent Instruction in Multi-Generational, Diverse Higher Ed Contexts – January 10 at IHCC

Semester Start Resources and Tools

Setting Course Start and End Dates

Did you know you can set the start and end dates in D2L Brightspace course shells? You can – and it’s easy! Just follow instructions on the Faculty Resources site:



Course Navigation: Adding and Removing Tools

As you prepare for fall semester, you might consider adjusting the navigation in your online courses by adding or removing tools from the course “navbar”. See the illustrated guide on the Faculty Resources site:



 Getting Started with D2L Brightspace

We developed a Getting Started with D2L Brightspace document for students new to online learning. As you prepare for fall semester, please feel free to distribute this to your students via email or post it directly in your online courses. Student Services staff will also be distributing this guide.



D2L Accessibility Checker

Are you wondering whether your online course is accessible to all students? D2L has a tool you can use to check your content for any accessibility limitations. Watch this four-minute introduction to this tool and see just how easy it is to run this test.

Brightspace Orientation for Students

Another resource you may want to share with your students in advance of the semester is the new Brightspace Orientation for Students course. The course is accessible from our New to Online Courses page, and provides an overview of our online learning environment along with a few general tips on how to be successful in online courses.



Combining Sections

As a reminder: if you would like multiple sections of a course combined into a single section, please create a JIRA ticket as soon as possible to allow for this work to be completed prior to the start of the semester.

Use a Checklist

Feel like you need a checklist? We’ve included the most common online course prep tasks in a pre-semester checklist, complete with links to tutorials and further resources. Access the checklist from the Faculty Resources site:



Zoom Web Conferencing

Minnesota State began transitioning its web conferencing vendor from Adobe Connect to Zoom last August. While Adobe Connect will remain available until May 15, 2020, I invite you to start using Zoom now or in the near future. You (and all Minnesota State faculty, staff, and students) can access the Zoom web conferencing tool by navigating to and choosing Sign In using your StarID.

Zoom provides the same features you’ll find with other major video and web conferencing services and more, such as:

  • Meeting Rooms with a 300 person meeting room capacity
  • Microphone and Telephone Audio
  • Video
  • Meeting Recordings
  • Screen Sharing and Whiteboards
  • Breakout Rooms
  • Room Systems / ITV Integration
  • Mobile Device Support
  • Calendar Integration

For further details and tutorials for Zoom are in the Faculty Resources section of our website under Academic Technology. You can arrange an in-person or Zoom tutorial from this page, as well as contact Zoom support staff.

Events and Development Opportunities

Coming up on campus

Brightspace Refresher Camp

Dakota County Technical College, room 2-141C
Wednesday, January 8

This half-day workshop is designed for all faculty. Whether you have been teaching online for several semesters or are new to it this year, this hands-on workshop will be of benefit to you. Facilitators will focus on beginning tools and recent updates made to D2L Brightspace.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Participants will describe the key elements of a well-designed online course (consistency, logical organization, clarity of expectations, and accessibility).
  • Participants will demonstrate the use of best practices in the design of their online courses.
  • Participants will describe the relationship of student learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessments in a well-designed online course.
  • Participants will use the D2L tools and components effectively and appropriately to deliver their online courses.

Transparent Instruction in Multi-Generational, Diverse Higher Ed Contexts

Dr. Mary Ann-Winkelmes, Executive Director, Center for Teaching and Learning at Brandeis University
Inver Hills Community College Fine Arts Theatre
Friday, January 10

Transparent instruction shows great promise for increasing the confidence, sense of belonging, persistence and success of first-generation, low-income and ethnically underrepresented students. In this workshop we’ll review the findings as well as educational research behind the concept of transparent teaching/learning. Then we’ll apply that research to the design of your own class activities and assignments. Participants will leave with a draft assignment or activity for one of their courses, and a concise set of strategies for designing transparent assignments and class activities that promote students’ learning equitably.

Other upcoming opportunities

See posts under college categories (above and in right navigation) for information on campus Brightspace and course design sessions. View our Events Calendar to see details on these and other campus professional development opportunities.

Descriptions for events are presented on this blog as they appear on organizations’ websites. Please contact me if you have any questions about these opportunities, or if you have information about an opportunity you’d like to share with your faculty colleagues. Search more Minnesota State system events at

We host most online opportunities/webinars in our space (Fine Arts 270 at IHCC and 2-141C at DCTC). Consider participating with your faculty colleagues and join a discussion afterwards. Watch for announcements of these opportunities in your campus email.

Webinar recordings

Unable to participate in webinars we host on campus? We’re sad you can’t join us, but you can also RSVP from the Events Calendar and participate on your own. Recordings for most webinars can be accessed from the Minnesota State D2L Support SharePoint site. Use your credentials to login. Contact Martin Springborg if you can’t find a recording you’re looking for.

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