Educational Development Digest: November 2022

Strategies to effectively address student needs

Pedagogy in Practice | By Brooke Burk, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Director at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and Educational Development Committee Chair

Dear Colleagues,

I read the report Closing the Gap to Create the Ideal Learner Experience from Inside Higher Ed that collected some perspectives of students and university leaders across the globe and compared the perspectives of these two populations on their ideal learner experience.

One part of the report mentions findings about the greatest challenges that students say they are facing that are external to their success. These challenges include mental and emotional wellbeing, financially affording the costs of education, and finding a job.

University leaders responded similarly to students when identifying challenges; however, overwhelmingly, university leaders felt that they were effectively addressing these needs (81%) while only 67% of students felt the same way. The report goes on to recommend that universities better understand what students need to be successful – 40% of students think they need more support.

This got me thinking about my classes and the way that I teach and interact with my students.

  • Am I meeting their learning needs?
  • What strategies can I use to gather that information?
  • How can I more intentionally focus on understanding how we (student and I) can work together to create a more robust learning environment?

Perhaps this means creating a Qualtrics survey that you can send to students or having them complete a questionnaire in class and consider accepting confidential responses to allow for more authentic responses. Once you have this information, you can use it to identify changes in your practices – it could be as simple as allowing time for student reflections and questions at the end of each class or unit, offering study sessions (my students like Kahoot during office hours), or using Poll Everywhere as a check-in on how students are feeling about their understanding of the material or assignments in the course.

Additionally, where are my limitations and supports in other areas? Faculty cannot be all the things. I also need to remind myself of places and opportunities to connect students with resources on campus whether it is related to food, housing, tutoring, or other mental and emotional supports. The report really has some interesting information to consider from class format preferences (what students want vs. what we think they want) to perceptions of communication expectations. What aspects of this report are intriguing to you?

Take care, Brooke Burk

Engaging Students: Personal Feedback Options within Brightspace

Academic Technology Tips | Jon Werth, Senior Online Learning Environment System Administrator

In last month’s Technology Tip, we discussed the importance of providing immediate and constructive feedback to students upon completion of a quiz. But what if you wanted to provide feedback to a discussion post or an assignment submission? What if you wanted to add a more personal touch? Let’s explore two options for doing so: Audio Feedback and Assignment Annotations. 

Audio Feedback

image of an audio player
Audio feedback player

While written feedback is helpful, it may be difficult to express an idea or capture an emotion. Using the Brightspace audio feedback tool offers a method for you to record a message for your student. This provides personal feedback directly to the student. By having the feedback heard through your voice, it helps build your connection with the student and allows for better understanding of the message. A student can even record an audio clip to turn in as part of their assignment submission! 

Assignment Annotations

Student’s view of annotated assignment file submission
Student’s view of annotated assignment file submission

If a student has submitted a written file, it’s often most effective to leave your feedback directly on the students’ work. Just like using a pen on a piece of paper, you can annotate a student’s file submission, but without the need to download or print the file. Use the tool’s pen or highlighter to draw attention to a particular section. Use a note to leave a longer comment about a particular passage. When you’re done, students can view a separate PDF of their submission with the annotations visible, placing your feedback in the exact location that it’s needed.

Minnesota State Guided Learning Pathways and the NED

Did You Know? | By Megan Babel, Communications Coordinator

A map marker with a path leading to it
Curricular and Program Design and Delivery

To widely share information about the Minnesota State Guided Learning Pathways framework, a new page is available. One priority of Minnesota State Guided Learning Pathways is Curricular and Program Design and Delivery, integrating “inclusive perspectives and approaches in content, pedagogy, and service delivery.”

The Network for Educational Development (NED) provides opportunities each semester for faculty and staff to build awareness, develop knowledge, skills, and abilities, and to reflect and revise upon inclusive and accessible content and pedagogical practices. The NED offers webinars, short courses, and learning communities around seven theme areas: academic equity, academic technologies, accessibility, foundations, open educational resources, and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

In addition to these offerings, the Educational Development Committee is in the process of creating guidelines for faculty to assist with aligning their work with the Minnesota State Guided Learning Pathways framework.


View past editions of the Educational Development Digest.

Visit the NED Events Calendar to view upcoming educational development opportunities. Visit the NED Resource Site for recordings of previous webinars and additional resources.

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