Winter 2015 Newsletter

Northern Michigan University

Center for Teaching & Learning

Winter 2015 Newsletter

Upcoming Speakers!

Ask the Students!  Continuing a great program started last year, we will again invite faculty to interact with a panel of students to discuss issues related to teaching and learning, classrooms, and the student experience.  This semester, the topic is Making "Work" Worth It.  Students will be answering questions surrounding workload issues, student work-life balance and how they prioritize their coursework, value placed on class assignments... and whatever else you would like to ask them!  Join us February 24 at 4:00pm in LRC224.


Cheelan Bo-Linn (University of Illinois) will visit in March and conduct several talks.  One will focus on Team Based Learning and the other on Student Informal Feedback and its importance in the classroom.  Stay tuned for more information on times and locations for these talks!

Meet the Staff

We are pleased to welcome our newest team member, Diane Ziegner, as the Program Assistant for the Center for Teaching and Learning. Diane is a graduate student in the Training and Performance Improvement program. Photo of Diane Ziegner

She will assist with the planning and coordination of workshops, maintaining and updating the CTL website, as well as collecting evaluation data for the Center. She will also help develop a clearinghouse of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning materials to facilitate interdisciplinary research.  

Next time you are in the Center, please introduce yourself and welcome her.

New Faculty Network!

The New Faculty Network program will continue in the Winter 2015 semester with upcoming events on February 20 and April 3.  These programs are a great way for new faculty to learn about NMU and get involved on campus! The February event will be "Lunch with the Leadership" and offer new faculty a chance to meet with administration. More details will be sent directly to new faculty.

On-Demand Workshops

We have workshops on a variety of topics available on demand. These sessions are listed with a date of 01-01-9000. Once there is enough interest in a particular topic, those who have signed up will be contacted to schedule a time for the workshop.

To register for any of these workshops, or to view additional details, please go to visit the registration page.

If you have any questions, please e-mail or phone us at or  227-2483.

Student Online Course Preparation Tutorial

Beginning with the Winter 2015 semester, all students enrolled in an online course must have completed the Online Course Preparation Tutorial prior to accessing the course for the first time.  The tutorial is a self-paced module in NMU EduCat™ that provides information about the strategies, tools, and technology needed to be a successful online learner at Northern Michigan University.  Depending on their previous experience with online courses and their pace moving through the tutorial’s activities, it will typically take between one and three hours to complete.

The tutorial is a one-time requirement. If students complete the tutorial prior to the beginning of a semester, they will have access to your online course(s) as soon as the semester begins. If they complete the tutorial after the semester begins, they will gain access to their ongoing online courses within 20 minutes.

Requiring the tutorial was recommended by NMU’s AQIP Distance Delivery Action Project and the policy was approved by Academic Senate in April 2014.  Required preparation for online courses is an emerging best practice in higher education.  Students often have misconceptions about online courses, such as believing that they are easier or less structured than face-to-face courses. Faculty have also reported that some online students are unprepared to use EduCat, impacting their ability to do well in online courses. The tutorial will help ensure that students have realistic expectations regarding the rigor of online courses and that they are better-prepared to use the required technology.

CTL Faculty Liaison Program

The CTL is proud to unveil a new Faculty Liaison Program. The goal of this program is to provide direct support to NMU faculty by creating active and direct working partnerships between CTL staff members and faculty departments.

So how does it work? CTL staff members are coupled with NMU departments based upon their areas of specialty and past experience. CTL staff members act as the liaison or “point” persons for that department with regard to CTL services and initiatives, including pedagogical and technical support. From time to time, CTL liaisons will bring their services to departmental spaces, especially for faculty group support and departmental workshops. CTL staff will communicate regularly with department heads and, upon invitation, may be available to attend departmental meetings to better serve the unique needs of the department.

Of course, individual instructors are still free to use all CTL resources, including the consultation and aid of other CTL staff members as the need requires and time permits.

Read more about the Liaison Program.

Learning Circles Program Continues

The Learning Circle program is entering its third semester and continues to be a mechanism for faculty and staff to get together and collaborate on teaching issues.  This past semester, Learning Circles on active learning, "How College Works", and "Peak Performing Professors" were conducted.  During Winter 2015, we are now forming groups around the topics of "Reacting to the Past", "The Pedagogy of Presence" and "The Peak Performing Professor". Read more about the Learning Circle program.

Peak Performing Professor cover

Instructional Technology Tip: Keyboard Shortcuts

Windows keyboard shortcuts can be very useful. Here's some common shortcuts to make your life easier.

Web Browsers

  • F11: hides navigation & search tool bars so that more of the web page can be viewed. Press F11 again to bring back navigation & search tool bars.
  • F5: refreshes page. Good for news pages where headlines are changing constantly.
  • Control + F: find on the current page.
  • Control + Shift + ‘+’ : zooms in to make everything bigger.
  • Control + Shift + ‘–‘ : zooms out to make everything smaller.
  • Control + Scroll: zooms page in the direction of the scroll. 


  • B: to toggle between black screen and actual displayed slide.
  • W: to toggle between white screen and actual displayed slide.
  • A: toggles between show pointer or not.
  • F5: to start slide show.
  • Esc: to exit slide show.
  • Right and left arrows: for navigation between slides. 

Great Lakes Teaching Conference

The Great Lakes Teaching & Learning Conference is coming up in May. This is a great regional meeting to attend to hear about new teaching techniques, hear about scholarship related to teaching and learning, and network with others interested in improving their teaching! Last year several NMU faculty attended, and the CTL expects to have funds available to support a group attending this year as well.  Contact the CTL if you are interested in attending.



The CTL is developing quite a collection of teaching and learning related books that are available for faculty use.  Drop by and check out our selection!  A sampling...

How Learning Works: 7 Research-based Principles for Smart Teaching by Ambrose et al. 2010.

Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Environments by Bruff. 2009

Team-Based Learning: A Transformative Use of Small Groups in College Teaching. Michaelsen et al. (eds)2004.

Faculty Focus Video Series Continued

In this, our second video in the series, we interview Zac Cogley. Zac talks about using the On Call Method in a Philosophy Class. In the video, we see the method being utilized in the classroom. Zac talks about the advantages of using the on call method as well as how to prepare for the class.

Faculty Focus Video Series: Active Learning in a Physiology Lecture