Educational Development Digest: October 2023

 GLP: Course content and career applications

Pedagogy in Practice | By Catherine Ford, Minnesota State Program Director for Educational Development

As experts in our respective disciplines, it is easy to forget that we didn’t always know what we know or realize how easily we now understand how all the pieces of related content and tasks fit together or are applied to relevant careers. It is likely that our students do not make these connections or applications seamlessly as we do now, and we can’t forget this.

According to Schwartz, Gregg, and McKee (2018), in their article about how to engage students in career conversations and the explicit connections between programs/majors and careers, “student success is enhanced when learning opportunities allow students to understand the connection between what they are learning in the classroom, what they are experiencing outside the classroom, and how both can help inform their career choices and lead to professional and personal accomplishments” (p. 50).

An exemplar of this type of connecting classroom learning to professional and personal accomplishment along with career possibilities is Inver Hills Community College Speech Communications Instructor, Dr. Amy Zsohar. Dr. Zsohar integrates opportunities for her students to engage with the community and experience real-world scenarios illustrating how the skillset and content developed in the course can be applied to life outside the classroom. Dr. Zsohar has created  opportunities for community engagement for students working with Living Well and the organization LeadMN to support Advocacy Day at the capital. To learn more, watch Dr. Zohar’s 2023 Educator of the Year video.  Another activity Dr. Zsohar has facilitated for students was a collaboration project with IHCC’s community-based learning coordinator. Not only did this project engage students with campus resources, but it also highlighted a variety of career options within the communications field.

Many additional strategies to strengthen student understanding of what they are learning to potential careers exist. I curated the following list of strategies ranging in level and time commitment of potential approaches. Visit the respective sources to learn more details.

Faculty Focus (A Magna Teaching and Learning publication)

  • Classroom discussions with intentional career themed topics
  • Leveraging career resource centers and resources

University of Washington – Career & Internship Center

  • Invite guest speakers
  • Include assignments that promote career exploration or development
  • Share professional organizations and career resources as part of your course
  • Ask students to reflect on transferable skills from class to career

University of Denver

  • Use case studies of real-world problems or projects
  • Assign informational interviews with alumni or other local professionals
  • Explicitly call out career skills developed in the course in the syllabus

You may not find it surprising that a common attribute of these strategies is a reflective component (Schwartz, Gregg, & McKee, 2018). Regardless of the strategy or approach to strengthen the classroom to career connection, invite students to be reflective as a companion activity.

If you don’t already, take a first step and integrate a career connection into a discussion or host a guest speaker. Invite students to ask questions or to share reflections about how the course content connects to a career either directly or indirectly. Let’s continue to enhance student learning and success by making known the classroom to career connections.


Schwartz, B. M., Gregg, V. R, & McKee, M. (2018). Conversations About Careers: Engaging Students In and Out of the Classroom. Teaching of Psychology, 45(1), 50-59.

Using Zoom to Bring in Guest Speakers

Academic Technology Tips | By Scott Wojtanowski, Minnesota State System Director for Educational Technology and Development

In this month’s Pedagogy in Practice we shared ideas associated with connecting your classroom activities to related career experiences with students.  External speakers can be a valuable resource for classroom learning. They can enrich students’ knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors in various ways.  They are a great complement to making learning more meaningful, relevant, and engaging.

For this month’s academic technology tips, we share a tip that might be quite obvious to some — utilizing Zoom to bring guest speakers into your classroom.

If you are planning to tap into your professional network to ask a colleague to speak with your class on a specific topic within your course, consider utilizing a video conferencing platform, like Zoom.  A guest speaker may be very willing to talk with your students, but simply does not have the time available to travel to your campus.

The default settings on the Minnesota State Zoom account will not require you to do anything special.  Simply invite the guest speaker to join your Zoom meeting location by sharing a link to your Zoom meeting.

Be sure to follow any practices your campus has in place to protect student privacy when inviting a guest speaker into your courses.

Image shows the Security account settings for a Zoom user.  Three options (passcode, waiting room, and require authenication to join) are presented and each is unselected.
Image shows the Security account settings for a Zoom user. Three options (passcode, waiting room, and require authenication to join) are presented and each is unselected.

Synchronous Quizzing Now Available in D2L Brightspace

Did You Know? | By Suzanne Schlangen Minnesota State Educational Technology Specialist

D2L has updated the quiz creation and quiz taking experiences in Brightspace.  A new feature to allow for synchronous quizzing was released to Brightspace on September 21, 2023.

Instructors can now assign a quiz where all students take their attempts simultaneously.  The quiz has a given start time and a given duration for all students.  After the duration has passed, the quiz can be automatically submitted.  If a student enters a quiz after the start time, they will not receive the full amount of allotted time.

Visit this interactive content on H5P.


Educational Development and Technology, Minnesota State.

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