Educational Development Digest: July 2020

Applying an equity and anti-racist lens to our pedagogy and practice

Pedagogy and Practice

By Catherine Ford

Applying an equity and anti-racist lens to our pedagogy and practice is NOT a matter of convenience or when comfortable; it is a moral imperative that requires continual reflection and action. This is a call to act through engaging and leaning into cognitive dissonance and critical inquiry into our classrooms regardless of delivery mode.  

The 2019 Legislative Data Book shows that many of the faculty and staff at our Minnesota State campuses are White (88.2%), and for many of us (authors included), we have the privilege as to when we want to think about anti-racist strategies. For our Black, Indigenous, and Students and Faculty of Color, there is no escape.  It is not their responsibility to educate white faculty and staff.  We need to take responsibility to educate ourselves.  

The following resources are intended to provide a variety of entry points into self-reflection, conversation, and action. It is important for white people to do more than read books relating to learning and talking about race; this is only a part of  developing and growing cultural fluency. 

Here are a few resources to consider, and I encourage you to reflect on your current practices and engage others (colleagues, friends, family, community members etc.)  in conversation about what you read. 

In addition, our colleagues from Saint Cloud State put these resources together

On behalf of the Multicultural Resource Center at St. Cloud State, we have pulled together two collections of resources to assist in teaching and learning about the impacts of COVID-19 and the George Floyd Movement on all of us, and in particular on our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. As events develop, we will continue to update these collections. If you have resources you’d like us to consider for these collections, please email one of us at or

Visit the Multicultural Resource Center website or click on the direct links below:

Culturally Responsive Pedagogy Webinars

NED Event Highlight

Although the Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP) July short course is currently full, consider attending 2 corresponding webinars connecting Culturally Responsive Teaching to Trauma Response Practices (TRP) and Open Education Pedagogy (OEP). Join short course facilitator Lisa Bergin (Minneapolis College) as she leads conversation about how TRP and OEP can offer us insight and support as we shift to bring students quality and compassionate education during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In these webinars, you will have the opportunity to examine the overlaps between CRP and TRP or CRP and OP to collectively explore how we might bring our current practices more closely into alignment with the best practices they advocate. Know too that this work will help sustain us as we find our own way through the pandemic. Indeed, if we take it on, we (our students, our institutions, and ourselves) will emerge stronger on the other side. 

You may also be interested in exploring on your own one of the texts utilized in the CRP short course: Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by Zaretta Hammond. The CRP short course will continue to be offered over the next academic year. Look for dates released in the beginning of August. 

Ways to take the virtual temperature of your online classes

Academic Technology Tips

We know that stress impacts learning and memory, and we also understand that online learning environments come with unique challenges and opportunity for creating equitable spaces, connecting with learners early and often during a class is essential in building trust and community which can help foster healthy, positive and productive transformational learning.  Traditional classroom settings may be easier to feel the uncomfortable tensions which allow for early intervention or adaptation, but there are numerous ways to get feedback from students while online.  

Using concept knowledge checks and informal assessments can help quickly build understanding and guide further exploration of the classroom environment while online.   

Non-verbal feedback aggregated totals, showing 38 responses to Yes

Non-verbal feedback in Zoom allows students to virtually raise their hands in the application’s participant panel, or quickly respond to basic “yes” or “no” questions. Instructors can see aggregated tallies in real-time to provide a clear distinction of which students are responding to the particular question. This is a nice way to find out if all students are ready to move on to the next topic. 

Sample Real-time Responses of Zoom Poll with percentages for each answer to the question

Polls are another way to quickly gather feedback from the participants, and can be used for pre or post assessments.  The polling reports can be anonymous, but if the participants were logged into their profile, or if the meeting required registration, the individual’s name and email addresses will be associated with their responses for future review by the host.  

Using the registration requirement allows for customized questions to be asked before the invitation for a session is provided.  Besides being a potential security measure, this can act as a quick method to ask students what topics were difficult in the last session and allows you to prepare an alternative activity that may supplement or reinforce the topic.  

Custom Question Tab of the Registration Tool within Zoom

These methods can help you gather additional feedback from all of your students and supplement the information that you are gleaning from viewing their video feeds or from the audio responses of students who are confident enough to reply first. 

OER Announcements

Initiatives Update
OER Activities

The 2020-2021 Minnesota State Open Educational Resource Activity dates have been announced. These faculty development opportunities provide many avenues to join, whether new or experienced with OER.

Some OER activity highlights:

  • OER Learning Circles – Earn .5 RCE and redesign a course around OER, or develop OER ancillary materials.
  • Creative Commons Certificate – Minnesota State will support and cover the cost of educators or librarians wishing to receive the CC Certificate.
  • Open Textbook Network Webinars – Earn a $200 stipend after participating in these introductory webinars and reviewing an open textbook!
  • OER Discovery and Introduction to Advocacy – Spend time discovering how to find OER and items with ancillary materials, in addition to gaining familiarity with Creative Commons Licenses.
  • Koffee with Karen – The first Koffee with Karen webinar will be about our new Allied Institution Membership with the OTN, featuring guests from the Open Textbook Network.
  • OER FAQ – Still have OER questions? Join Karen Pikula, OER Faculty Development Coordinator who will cover common OER questions.

Learn more about these OER activities or view and share the flyer!

Connecting Across Minnesota State – Faculty and Staff Interests

Share Your Voice

Do you have a particular area of interest and are looking to connect with other faculty and staff about this topic? Add your name to a list of faculty and staff (by topic) who are willing to share their areas of interest and expertise with others.

Colleagues from across the system are encouraged to come together online to share ideas and learn from one another. You can search the list by topic to connect with others, share ideas, and ask questions.

Upcoming Events

View the Network for Educational Development calendar of events to find upcoming webinars, short courses, and learning communities.

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