Pedagogy and Practice
New Year’s Resolutions
By Catherine Ford
My feelings about New Year resolutions have run the spectrum. Some years I boldly declare my resolutions; other years I quietly write them down and place them near my computer where I am sure to see them. Still other years, I pass on them all together.
And so, here we are. 2021, and I am grateful.
Although 2021 is now upon us, it doesn’t mean that the challenges and workloads that were especially taxing these past 10 months have disappeared. Maybe diminished but not gone. We have learned and grown from them. And now we purposefully stand in the awareness of the present, cast our eyes to the future, and think on the impact we can have on our now current and future students. It is for this reason I will write down and maybe even boldly declare my resolutions for this New Year.
I resolve to apply self-care so that I may bring my best self.
I resolve to be a scholarly teacher.
I want to call-out that making a resolution does not imply you are not doing these things, instead it is a declaration (loud or soft) that you are intentional about keeping them in focus over the duration of the year.
What do I mean by scholarly teacher? According to Richlin (2001), this means consulting the literature to make an informed decision before selecting and applying practices in the classroom followed by reflecting on the method and outcomes once implemented.
Many of you do this already, so great! Keep it up – Resolve to continue this intentional work. You can make a resolution to commit to self-care too because all of this is harder when we don’t take care of ourselves.
As James Lang (2016) in Small Teachings would certainly suggest, start small. Try one new best practice a month. Or attend one Network for Educational Development (NED) opportunity to discover additional ideas or take existing practices to the next level. Then reflect and share with others.
NED Event Highlight
Faculty Learning Communities
Interested in making connections with other faculty from across Minnesota State? Faculty Learning Communities provide a 12-week experience for faculty from across the system to engage in conversations, accomplish tasks or projects, and build community around a topic of common interest. This spring semester, the Network for Educational Development (NED) offers an OER Learning Circle and a Culturally Responsive Learning Community.
OER Learning Circles (February 22 – May 2)
Applications due January 22
Collaborate with other Minnesota State faculty from across the system who are committed to redesigning courses around open educational resources (OER) and/or creating OER ancillary materials to help eliminate textbook costs for students. Participants will choose to either redesign a course or develop ancillary materials for use with an existing open textbook to be used (or currently in use) in a course. This is a collaborative process in which faculty will share ideas and support each other through the work of the learning community.
Culturally Responsive Pedagogy: A Learning Community (February 1 – April 25)
No application required
Our chancellor has given us the challenge of eliminating our equity gaps by 2030. How can we, as instructors, shift our teaching practices to meet this goal? One promising path is to ground those practices in Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP). In this learning community, we’ll have the opportunity to examine how well our current practices align with the central tenets of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and how we can incorporate those central tenets into course outcomes, materials, assessments, activities, syllabi, and relationships as well as use our increased skills at CRP to share with, support, and encourage other faculty learners to increase everyone’s skills at CRP.
Academic Technology Tips
Organizing and Maintaining Digital Content
Kaltura MediaSpace is a great long term repository for digital assets but it can become overwhelming as the years progress and content creation expands. With the new year just starting, many people make resolutions to improve their organization or purge unwanted content. Because of this we wanted to provide some tips to quickly identify your important Kaltura MediaSpace content and dispose of unwanted clutter to enhance your experience navigating your content.
Tip 1: Use consistent and descriptive naming conventions
Ideally, every video in MediaSpace should have a unique name that is indicative of its content and is expressed in a clear and consistent manner, but if this wasn’t done initially, you can still make adjustments. Some descriptive naming conventions try to include the most important elements first as well as unique variables for the particular video. Using standard naming can allow for a fast search and using standard abbreviations can still allow for descriptive names to have brevity.
As a first step consider renaming videos to be consistent or tagging all similar content. If you would like to group all videos created for a particular class and find that to be the most important identifier, edit all the names to include the class code first or use a specific class code as a tag.
Tip 2: Add tags to group video collections
Clicking on the pencil icon of any video allows for quick adjustments of the name and also allows for the ability to add any desired tags.
Tip 3: Associate videos to unique playlists
Adding tags allows for easy searching or sorting for bulk manipulation, but does require editing and saving individual changes so if you have not been doing this type of consistent naming or tagging, a more efficient way might be to select all the videos that you would like grouped and then adding them to a new playlist with a descriptive name. This allows you to manipulate the individual videos associated with the playlist and to see the videos in a collection.
Tip 4: Use the detailed table view
Using the table view shows more details in MediaSpace and allows you to sort by title or search keywords or tags as well as filter by content type or other video attributes that may help you identify the content. The checkbox before the video’s title allows you to quickly perform an action like Add to playlist on multiple video assets at one time.
Tip 5: Sort by relevance to identify unused content
The table view allows for both filters and sort options to be in place. This can be a useful way to identify content that doesn’t have any plays and that you may want to remove from your list. Changing the drop down of the sort by to plays, puts your most popular videos on the top and scrolling down allows you to identify videos that may not have been shared but are taking up space in your media list.
You will want to review the content and ensure that it isn’t anything that you would like to keep because there is no recovery of content purged from MediaSpace. If you still have the original file on your local machine, you could upload it again but you will want to verify any content that might be important.
Deleting playlists will not delete the actual videos associated with the playlists, but will prevent that particular shared playlist link from working moving forward.
Tip 6: Filter content or leverage keywords to refine your search
Even if you feel like you are unable to put a dent in cleaning up your media, know that you can leverage the powerful search feature and the filters that are part of MediaSpace to quickly get to the video that you are looking for. If you know when you made the video, you can use a custom date filter, or if it is a unique media type like a quiz, you can select that option to hide the standard videos and only show your desired content. As always with any of the filters or sort preferences in place, you can still search for quick results if you use unique keywords for that video or that video’s transcript.
Share Your Accessibility Resources
The Accessibility Committee is gathering resources for a new Accessibility SharePoint site where best practices, topical news, and resources can be shared across the system. If you have resources (links or documents) you would like to contribute to the site, please use the following form.
The Accessibility Committee looks forward to be able to share this site in the near future and thanks you for your contributions.
Share Your Voice
Join a Conference Planning Group Focused on Faculty Development Opportunities
This past summer, Minnesota State applied for and received a grant associated with the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund. The project is focused on development opportunities for faculty members to support equity and inclusion efforts, particularly as a result of the pandemic. This grant provides for an annual virtual disciplinary conference to be offered starting spring 2021. This event is based off the “Great Minnesota Disciplinary Get Together,” which was offered last March at the start of the pandemic.
We would like to extend an offer to Minnesota State faculty and staff to become planning members for this event in May 2021. In addition to offering any suggested changes to the format of the conference, we ask planning members to help assist with developing a structure for the following components:
- Keynote and Discipline Facilitation Guide
- Focused Webinars / Innovating through COVID-19 with an Equity Lens
- Student Panel
- Conference Logistics
If you are interested in joining the conference planning group, please respond to this survey. We’ll send you a meeting invitation to join a conference planning kick-off meeting on Tuesday, January 12 from 3:00 – 4:00pm. We anticipate each group will likely meet for an hour on a bi-weekly basis leading up to the conference in May.