Educational Development Digest | January 2020

Building rapport the first few weeks of class 

Do you know your students’ names? Do you use them when you call on them in class? It is never too late to learn your students’ names (even in really large classes) and the extra effort can have payoffs for your students when it comes to retention and positive academic outcomes in your class. Learning student names is an entry point to begin building rapport with students in your classes.  

Beginning a new semester is an excellent time to intentionally focus on building rapport with students in your classes, and it’s okay If you didn’t intentionally start building rapport on day one! Rapport is not created through a “one and done” activity. Rapport is built over the course of a semester through consistent combined behaviors. While you’re learning and using student names, share a little about yourself and what makes you excited about your content area, and don’t let rapport building stop here!  

Check out these resources for building rapport activities. Even activities suggested for the first day can be utilized throughout the semester:

Minnesota State Spring 2020 Book Group 

Gather most educators together and ask either what they are reading or what is on their short list and you are bound to walk away with several titles added to your personal reading list. What I most enjoy about asking this question is the possible chance to connect on a book we’ve both read and dialogue about its content and application. I just love getting the change to “talk shop.” 

This is a statewide opportunity to “talk shop” – read, discuss, interact, share, and learn about a book relevant to our work. The topic is trauma and how it affects our students and communities.   

The Body Keeps the Score

The book is The Body Keeps the Score. Brain, Mind, Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessell van der Kolk. Van der Kolk weaves together human stories and science research to explore and illustrate the impacts of trauma on the human systems.

This is a high engagement, low commitment book club; participate in as much as your schedule allows! The primary opportunities to discuss the book and how the experiences and perspectives in the book relate to our students are during three (3) 90-minute virtual Zoom meetings. 

Additionally, discussion facilitators have created a D2L Brightspace course to more deeply explore issues related to trauma and how to prepare our campuses to better serve students who have experienced trauma. The “course” will use short, asynchronous, interactive activities to help us explore how we can better serve our students, connect across the system, and share resources.  

Each campus either has or will receive a copy of the book to check out from the library. 

OER Student Guide 

If you utilize Open Education Resources (OER) in your course, consider widely sharing the Minnesota State Student Guide to Open Educational Resources with students and colleagues. This guide was created to provide guidance and support for student who are taking a course that includes OER materials.  

Students can find information about how to access course OER, recommendations for storing OER, different methods for printing OER, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). 

The guide is also informative for instructors as to what types of questions or points of frustration students may have when attempting to access and engage with OER materials.  

One suggestion is to post a link to this student guide within your course or include it in an email or announcement.  Learn more about OER at Minnesota State.

Invitation to develop Foundations of Teaching Online (FOTO) long course 

To support the implementation of the Minnesota State Online Strategy, over twenty faculty and staff came together last spring/summer to help build a series of short courses that are now available through the Network for Educational Development.  We are once again looking for subject matter experts to help design and develop an 8-10 week comprehensive course that aims to prepare faculty members interested in teaching online. 

Whereas the short courses are designed to allow participants to explore one topic in depth, this long course will mix and re-use content already developed within the short courses to survey a number of topics so that participants can develop their knowledge, skills, and abilities essential to teaching online. 

Please complete this information form by Friday, January 24 if you are interested in sharing your knowledge and experience in serving on this team.   

Upcoming Events


Spring 2020 opportunities are now searchable in the Events Calendar. New and repeated opportunities include a wide range of topics and formats. Six short courses and numerous webinars are available in addition to a system-wide book club and the Star and Accessibility symposiums. Explore the calendar and RSVP!

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