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:

  • Tech Tip: Manage Exemptions in Brightspace
  • From Your Colleagues: Universal Design for Learning
  • Formative and Summative Assessment
  • Myths about Accessibility of Online Courses
  • STAR Symposium Registration and Call for Proposals Open
  • Events and Development Opportunities

Tech Tip

Manage Exemptions in Brightspace

We’ve made a new tool available in our instance of D2L Brightspace that allows faculty to excuse students from activities and have it be visually noticeable to a student. This document explains how to use the Manage Exemptions feature to exempt a student(s) from having to complete activities within your courses.

You can exempt students from items within the following:

  • Assignments
  • Checklists
  • Discussion Topics
  • External Learning Tools
  • Quizzes
  • Self-Assessments
  • Surveys
  • Grade Items

Learning activities that have a Grade Item associated with them (such as Assignments, Discussion Topics, and Quizzes) will also automatically exempt the student from the associated Grade Item when they are exempted from the activity.

See many more Brightspace tutorials on our D2L Resources page!

From Your Colleagues

In our first-ever podcast on teaching and learning issues, IHCC English faculty member Mary Petrie talks with Randi Goettl and Martin Springborg about her application of Universal Design for Learning principles. Access the audio AND short (17-minute) video here, or open in a new window for a larger viewing. We’ll be releasing audio-only files on the Faculty Resources site very soon.

Formative and Summative Assessment

There are many ways we assess student progress, and some of the most helpful ways are often the least utilized. In addition to more traditional summative forms of assessment, such as exams and high-stakes research papers, you and your students may benefit from more frequent, low-stakes assignments – either in addition to, or in place of some of those more traditional methods.

See this month’s Minnesota State Educational Development Digest for more on this topic.

Myths about Accessibility of Online Courses

​Improving the accessibility of online learning is a passion that runs deep at D2L. That’s also true for the many organizations that use Brightspace to provide learning opportunities to students and employees. There is a great deal of good advice out there related to improving the web accessibility of online courses, but there are many misconceptions too. We’ll examine some of these myths and provide some different perspectives for you to consider.

We’re sorry if you couldn’t join us for this webinar last week. We don’t have input on the scheduling of D2L-provided sessions, so sometimes host these opportunities at times that conflict with faculty meetings.

If couldn’t make it and would like to watch the recording, you can access it here.

STAR Symposium Registration and Call for Proposals Open


February 28, 2020


The STAR Symposium celebrates excellence in teaching and learning by providing an avenue for individuals to share best practices, ideas and resources with colleagues. This FREE, virtual one-day conference will consist of presentations that focus on post-secondary pedagogical approaches including delivery via face-to-face, blended, flipped, and online classrooms.

Presentation tracks include:

  • Teaching and learning
  • Faculty Development and support
  • Course design and delivery
  • Grading, assessment, and feedback
  • Student engagement
  • Technology integration
  • Other innovations…

Call for proposals and registration are now open!

Events and Development Opportunities

See posts below and under college categories (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 will 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.

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.

Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *