Fall 2014 Newsletter

Northern Michigan University

Center for Teaching & Learning

Fall 2014 Newsletter

New Location for Center for Teaching & Learning!

image2.pngThe Center for Teaching & Learning is moving our public service area to LRC 106.  The finishing touches are being put on this room, which has been completely renovated and now includes consultation areas, a dedicated workshop/meeting space, office space for the Teaching & Learning Scholar and our new graduate assistant and just generally more room for us to work with you.  This new space will allow us to serve you better and offer a one-stop-shop for your instructional support needs.


Visit our OPEN HOUSE ON OCTOBER 7 from 11-2.

Check out the new facility, get some snacks, register for door prizes, visit with the staff
and learn about what the CTL can offer you!


NMU EduCat™ Notes - The Gradebook and Signals

educatlogo.pngFor those of you using participating in the Signals program this semester, you may be wondering if your gradebook in EduCat is set up properly.  The short answer is, as long as you currently have an accurate course total, a proper signal will be generated. There are a number of ways to calculate a course total in EduCat. The following is list of best practices:

  • Use the Gradebook early and often 
  • Make your assessments cumulative
  • Allow assessments to build to a final score
  • Grade all of your assessments (assignments, projects, participation, quizzes, tests) in EduCat
  • Don’t change the Aggregate-only default setting
  • Don’t use custom formulas
  • Consult with CTL if you have questions about your gradebook setup

New Faculty Network

nfnpanel.jpegBuilding on a successful event held last spring, the Center for Teaching & Learning is hosting a professional development program for early-career NMU faculty called the "New Faculty Network." In addition to orientation at the beginning of the school year, new faculty will participate in a series of events, about twice per semester, aimed at supporting them as they embark on careers at NMU. 

nfnaudience.jpegIn September, there will be a panel discussion aimed at the Faculty-Student Interaction with panelists Chris Greer, Kevin Timlin, Ed Michaels, Shirley Brozzo, Carolyn Lawrence, and Jim Gadzinski.  If you have suggestions for topics that you think would help these new faculty, send us your ideas.

Featured Teaching Resource

There are many great teaching and learning resources available online, some free to everyone, others made available to the NMU community through memberships in partner organizations.  We'll use this spot in the newsletter to highlight a particular resource that may be of interest to the NMU community. 

elixrlogo.pngGoing along with the "active learning" buzz that's accompanying the opening of the new Jamrich Hall, this issue's resource is a case story called "Cooperative Learning Groups." This case story demonstrates how Dr. Ken Nakayama, a professor at Cal State, transformed his large lecture Organic Chemistry course to employ active learning groups. It shares examples, interviews with the professor and his students, and related resources.

This resource is part of the MERLOT EXLIR collection of case stories.

New Workshop Scheduling to Meet Faculty Members' Schedules

IDT and the CTL offer standalone workshops every semester on a variety of topics. Upcoming scheduled workshops include:

  • Basic Podcasting - Thursday, October 2 at 11:00 a.m.
  • Course Design - Tuesday, November 11 at 2:00 p.m.

New this semester, we are scheduling fewer workshops in advance and letting you tell us when the workshops should be held. On our registration site, the following workshops are scheduled with time and location to-be-determined (TBD). These workshops will be held "on demand."  If you are interested in any of them, sign up.  When we have five people on the registration list, we will contact them to set up a mutually convenient time for the session.

  • Camtasia Studio for Screen Recording and Editing
  • Connecting wirelessly to projectors and TVs (wePresent)
  • EduCat - Assignments
  • Introduction to EduCat
  • John Madden in your Classroom: Virtual Whiteboard Software
  • Online Testing
  • Peer Evaluation
  • The Much Maligned Lecture
  • Writing Learning Objectives

The dates for the on-demand workshops are listed as "1-1-9000."  Of course, if you have an immediate  need to learn about a topic, you don't have to wait for a workshop--you can always set up an appointment to come by the CTL for a consultation. 

Instructional Technology Tip

If you are hooking up your Lenovo laptop to an external display (projector, monitor, etc.) and the external display is only showing a blank desktop (just wallpaper–no icons), your external display port is set for “Extended” desktop. This is great if you are using it as a second monitor to display only certain things to your audience, but not very useful if you want your audience to view what you see on your desktop. To enable your video output to mirror your own desktop, click on and hold the Windows button (between Alt and Ctrl buttons on your keyboard) and then click on the “P” key. A menu will pop up -select “Duplicate”. You should now be projecting your desktop.

Active Course Design Institutes

acdi.jpegFrom May 7-9, 2014, the CTL held our first Active Course Design Institute.  The Institute consisted of content seminars from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm each day, with working sessions in the afternoon.  Ten faculty completed the full institute (all of the morning seminars plus all of the working sessions) and got jump starts on designing or re-designing a course with an active learning approach.  Several others attended the morning sessions à la carte.

We will be offering the Active Course Design Institute again from Wednesday, December 17 - Friday, December 19. Give yourself the holiday gift of a newly designed course. Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for registration to open soon.

New Jamrich Technology - wePresent Wireless Video

The new Jamrich Hall is full of exiting new features, such as the ability to wirelessly project to installed video projectors and large screen displays. The units that allow us to do this are called wePresents.

To use the wePresent wireless technology,

1. You will have to download the wePresent software onto your laptop. You can do that here: Windows / MAC . Install the software.

2. The technology uses an IP address as well as a Code. Both will show up on the display device that is set up with the wePresent technology. Simply type in the IP address and Code from the screen and click on “Connect”. For detailed directions for using the wePresent technology, click here: wePresent Directions .

Ask The Students!

In Winter 2014, we held the first of a series of panel discussions with students to talk about teaching and learning issues. 

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And watch the website for a date for the next "Ask The Students"  They really WILL answer your questions!

First Annual Professional Development Day a Success!

Tom Gillespie teaches a session at the Fall 2014 Prof Devel Day

For the first time, the Center for Teaching & Learning sponsored a day (and a quarter) long Professional Development Day on August 18.  Multiple sessions were offered to faculty, staff and graduate students.  Topics were all related to teaching and faculty development and ranged from Educat to Promotion & Tenure to Video Services to General Education as well as tours of the new Jamrich.  While many of the sessions were offered by CTL staff, others from across campus also came forward to offer sessions making this a campus-wide event.  Attendance was great and we had a mix of new and returning faculty in attendance!  We are hoping to continue to offer this program in the future, so let us know if there are particular sessions you would like to see or if you would like to offer a course in this format!

Learning Circles Program Continues

Learning Circles continue to be a great way for individuals interested in similar issues related to education to get together and network.  In Winter 2014, the first Learning Circle was conducted on the topic of Faculty Peer Evaluation and resulted in some useful best practices being posted to the CTL web page.  In Fall 2014, three Learning Circles are now soliciting members; topics are "The Flipped Classroom", "How College Works", and "Groups in an Online Course".  If you are interested in joining one of these groups, contact the CTL.  Also, keep thinking up great ideas for new groups to offer in the future!

Faculty Focus Videos Unveiled

Faculty utilize many different techniques to engage students in the classroom.  In this video series we will interview instructors employing creative or innovative teaching methods in the classroom. In addition to the interview, we will have a glimpse into the classroom to see the interaction between students as well as the instructor. Take a look at our first video in the series as we follow Adonna Rometo in "Digestion in Action: Active Learning in a Physiology Lecture." 

Faculty Focus Video Series: Active Learning in a Physiology Lecture

Meet the Staff

The Center for Teaching and Learning is an excellent place for faculty to learn new skills and get assistance with instructional technology, but we also hope that our student workers learn as well.  We have an amazing staff including seven students.  This semester our students are:  Nolan Bergstrom, Ashley Ede, Marissa Gillett-Behrens, Jordan Marquez, Jordyn Mommaerts, Carissa Pischke, and Eric Tenut.  They have declared majors in fields including Elementary Education, Environmental Science, Psychology, Nursing, Geomatics, and Outdoor Recreation.  They work up to 20 hours a week and are our first line of support for EduCat.  Students answer phones and respond to email.  They troubleshoot instructor questions, they are ready to assist when faculty walk in for help, and are learning to support the features of EduCat, podcasting, and other instructional technologies.  Students routinely aid faculty in adding resources to EduCat, creating test banks, and working with the Grade book.