October 7, 2020
Volume 4, Number 4
Making Group Work Less Painful
Groups assignments are among the most dreaded by students, even as professional educators we know they enable students to make social connections with classmates, practice peer-to-peer learning, and apply knowledge. Here are some quick tips for making group work less painful:

  • Make sure the group assignment is sufficiently complex that it's worth the extra cognitive effort of working in a group! This is equally true for short 10-minute group discussions and larger projects spanning the whole term.

  • Give very clear directions. You know what you want them to do, but once multiple brains read the instructions, vagueness will open the door to creative interpretations of the instructions resulting in a learning experience that fails to meet the learning objective. Also, groups will spend valuable time determining what they should do rather than doing it.

  • Include a guide or reference for students on how to be successful in a group. Students may not have mastered the skills of what it takes to make a successful group, and giving them some tools can help them succeed. This is especially true in longer or more elaborate group projects. Tips can include:

  • Have at least one meeting or video conference at the start of the project.

  • Start your meeting by reviewing the assignment.
  • Does everyone understand the assignment?
  • Do everyone understand what the due date(s) are?
  • Do anyone have any questions?

  • What technology will you use to communicate and share materials?

  • How do you expect people to behave?

  • What are all the parts or steps of the project?
  • Consider everyone’s strengths and interests in assigning parts of the project.

  • What action will the group take if someone does not do their part?

Creating a strong group assignment and giving students tools to proactively handle group dynamics will help ease the stress of group assignments.

by Lauren Oliveira, Instructional Designer Academic & Instructional Innovation at Samuel Merritt University
Mid-Course Survey
Hello Smart People,

Below are the questions associated with the “Mid-Course survey” deployed in the middle of the semester/term. The survey is used to gather information on how the class is progressing from the students’ perspective. The five (5) questions are seeking feedback on what the students are enjoying about the course, what is helping them learn the material, gathering their interest in the course topic outside of the class, and asks what the fellow students and professor/facilitator can do to improve the class.

  1. List three things that you have particularly enjoyed or found helpful in this class?
  2. Identify two aspects of this course that has helped you learn the course material? (Examples: discussion forum, feedback, assignments, etc.)
  3. Has this course stimulated your interest in the subject outside of class? (Explain) 
  4. What can your fellow students do to improve this class? 
  5. What can the professor/facilitator do to improve this class? 

By utilizing this survey, you can see if the students are enjoying the course or having trouble, aspects of the course they find useful in learning the material, their interest level in the topic and how they feel their classmates and the facilitator/professor can improve the course. The survey provides a formative assessment that provides the facilitator/professor with information that can be used to adjust the course to better meet the learning needs of the student.

– by Daryl R. Privott, FGSE/Adult & Higher Education, FCTL, Morehead State University
What I Love About Teaching Campaign
Hello Educators,
We are looking for your response to the question "What I love about teaching?"

Take a few moments to share your response by clicking the link below:
Events on Campus
Here are opportunities for our MSU Educators and our Eagle students:

MSU Event :
  • Eight Strategies for Leading the Pandemic Population - Friday, October 23rd 10 AM to 11 AM. Webinar session led by Dr. Tim Elmore outlining the needs of today's student population - Generation Z. This presentation furnishes eight strategies that can help Gen Z students to find their best self on the other side of COVID-19.
Jill Ratliff/Associate Professor - Management & Entrepreneurship
"This presentation applies to all of us and can assist us in better serving students, as the needs of our students continue to change in light of current events. Ultimately, the better prepared we are, the better we can assist our students."
Register here.

MSU Trainings:
  • Blackboard Tools - Faculty and teaching staff may participate in individual one-hour trainings that focus on how to use Blackboard tools to accomplish various online teaching strategies.
  • Blackboard 101: Building Your Course
Oct. 12 10-11am; Oct. 20 3-4pm; October 26 5-6pm
  • Blackboard 201: Interaction and Collaboration
Oct. 14 10-11am; Oct. 22 3-4pm; Oct. 28 5-6pm
  • Blackboard 301: Assessing Students
Oct. 16 10-11am; Oct. 23 3-4pm; Oct. 30 5-6pm

Click here to register for the Blackboard Tools training

  • Online Teaching Workshop - A comprehensive training workshop about best practice teaching strategies that facilitate online learning.
  • Day-long session – 9am-5pm on Saturday, OCT 10
  • Register by emailing fctl@moreheadstate.edu
Project-Based Learning (PBL) as a Vehicle for High-Impact Practices
October 27, 2020 @ 2 PM

Reinventing Institutions Part 3 of 3
Project-based learning benefits students—and can also be a point of distinction for a college or university. What does it take for an institution to adopt and sustain a high-impact pedagogy like project-based learning?
By the end of this webinar, you will have insights into approaches, strategies, and practices that could transform your own institution into one characterized by a culture of project-based learning.

For more information on the webinar and to register click here

If you plan on attending the webinar, let me know so we can build a plan.
IUPUI Assessment Institute
October 25 - 28, 2020

Assessment Institute
The Assessment Institute, hosted by IUPUI and usually held in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education event of its type, offering more than 200 educational sessions.

The Assessment Institute is designed to provide opportunities for (1) individuals and campus teams new to outcomes assessment to acquire fundamental knowledge about the field, (2) individuals who have worked as leaders in outcomes assessment to share and extend their knowledge and skills, and (3) those interested in outcomes assessment at any level to establish networks that serve as sources of support and expertise beyond the dates of the Institute.

For more information on the institute and to register click here

If you have any additional questions contact Dr. Shannon Harr @ s.harr@moreheadstate.edu
Virtual Conference on Transforming STEM Higher Education
November 5 - 7, 2020

This Changes Everything
AAC&U and its Project Kaleidoscope urgently invite you to join us virtually for a STEM Conference that will grapple with the undeniable truths, paradoxes, and peculiarities of what is at the heart of our nation’s STEM higher education reform enterprise—us.

For more information on the conference and to register click here

If you plan on attending the conference, let me know so we can build a plan.
Magna (Online) Webinars
24/7 Professional Development for Faculty
Featured Webinar:

How Can I Make Online Group Projects More Effective?
Examine the fundamental processes in collaborative learning. Learn methods for enhancing student satisfaction with online group work and see how to integrate current technology to enhance the effectiveness and ease of asynchronous collaboration.

Benefits of Magna Webinars:
  • Each webinar takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.
  • All webinars are available on your schedule since they are online and easily accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Webinars include supplemental materials such as bibliographies and handouts.
  • Certificates of completion are available for professional portfolios and Faculty 180

Accessing Webinars:

These licensed Magna resources are available through a password-protected website. For access, educators need to:
  • Log into MSU’s employee portal;
  • Look under the My Classes (Blackboard) section for the Magna Training Site;
  • If Magna isn't showing up in your list of courses, please send a request to be added to msuonline@moreheadstate.edu.
  • When you click on the Magna Training Site, the Blackboard shell will open. Select Magna Campus and then launch the LTI link, select 20-Minute Mentor Commons. After selecting 20-Minute Mentor Commons, choose Teaching Online then Online Course Facilitation. Chose the featured title

Ambassadors for Excellence in Teaching
Morehead State University