Educational Development Digest | October 2019

This month we highlight the Faculty Developer’s Network and improving student-to-content interactions.

Faculty Developer’s Network

Members of the Faculty Developer’s Network are engaged in leading or working with faculty development opportunities on campus. This might be through a formal Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), elected faculty to chair the campus faculty development committee, or casual conversation in the hallways about teaching and student learning. These members are excited about getting into the weeds about faculty development at the institutional and/or campus level.

Goals of the Faculty Developer’s Network are to network and connect with other faculty development leaders around the state about process, ideas, and best practice as well as share resources and have meaningful conversations. If this describes or interests you, fill out this form to join the Faculty Developer’s Network, or past members can use this form to update their information.


Faculty Developer’s Network Member Profile

Miki Huntington

Meet Miki Huntington who has been part of the Faculty Developer’s Network for the past seven years. Miki has been teaching in Minnesota State for eight years at Minneapolis College and three years at Metropolitan State University. Recently, Miki shared about her involvement with and passion for faculty development.

Q: How did you first get involved in faculty development?

A: During my first year at Minneapolis College, I started attending campus faculty development committee meetings as a volunteer. Eventually, my role and interest grew, and in time I became the eLearning Consultant for the Center for Teaching and Learning (2015-2018). I began serving on the Minnesota State faculty development committee in 2018 and am excited to serve as co-chair for the 2019-20 academic year!

Q: What are you most excited about with faculty development this year?

A: I’m excited about the variety of offerings at the Minnesota State level through a variety of flexible platforms at topics, e.g. Zoom, face-to-face, D2L short-courses, QM, OER, etc. Visit the Network for Educational Development Calendar for more information! I’m also looking forward to meeting more colleagues across the different campuses in the Minnesota State system, and beyond!

Q: What advice would you provide someone who is interested in leading and engaging faculty development opportunities?

A: Volunteer! Show up! The colleagues you’ll meet and the experience you gain will help us all continually improve our teaching and learning. It could lead to more opportunities to serve in a faculty development role (both formally, and informally)!


Improving Student-to-Content Interaction

Students engage in three different types of interaction in a classroom: student-to-content, student-to-student, and student-to-instructor. Student-to-content interactions focus on how students engage with the course content and materials, which is particularly important when crafting the engagement with content in an online course. (1)

How do your students engage with the material in your course? Are they required to read a textbook? Watch a video? Complete an online quiz? Does the student’s experience with the content promote meaningful connections and critical thinking?

Intentional course design and delivery method decisions can promote meaningful connections and critical thinking. Having students create concept maps or other graphic organizers to explain relationships between concepts or terms (both old and new information) or integrating interleaved practice for students within the course can increase student-to-content engagement (2). Embedding questions within a video or assigning a reflection, connection, or response can also increase engagement.


Student-to-Content Interaction In Action:

Mary Gruis

Reading and Writing faculty, Alissa Martinka and Mary Gruis, from Ridgewater College received funding during the 2018 Shark Tank Open for their project titled, Cross-Curricular Online Graphic Organizers. In an effort to tackle the reading challenges faculty witness in the classroom, Ridgewater College designed and shared both content-area and discipline-specific graphic organizers that faculty can alter to suit their needs. These graphic organizers help faculty teach all students to be better readers. See Alissa and Mary talk about their work during the December 2018 CATT meeting.

Alissa Martinka

An additional approach to supporting student-to-content engagement is identifying and addressing barriers to students in the online environment such as broken links or complicated course navigation. Several of these supports are included in an upcoming short course beginning in November: Improving the Student-to-Content Interaction using D2L Brightspace Tools . Click on the link to learn more how this course can support meaningful student-to-content interactions within the D2L Brightspace learning environment.


View all upcoming Network for Educational Development Events.

Questions? Contact Catherine Ford.

1. Bernard, R. M., Abrami, P. C., Borokhovski, E., Anne Wade, C., Tamim, R. M., Surkes, M. A., & Bethel, E. C. (2009). A Meta-Analysis of Three Types of Interaction Treatments in Distance Education. Review of Educational Research, 79(3), 1243–1289. https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654309333844

2. Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K. A., Marsh, E. J., Nathan, M. J., & Willingham, D. T. (2013). Improving Students’ Learning with Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions from Cognitive and Educational Psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14(1), 4–58. https://doi.org/10.1177/1529100612453266

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