Center for Online Learning wins Minnesota Connection Award

By Sam Benson
Posted May 29, 2018

Center for Online Learning wins Minnesota Connection Award

Metropolitan State University’s Center for Online Learning (COL) has won the Minnesota Connection 2018 Innovation Award. The award, recognizing Minnesota faculty, technical staff or administrators who have used D2L Brightspace to deliver innovating experiences, rewards COL’s efforts in creating engaging online experiences for students. This is the second statewide award COL has received in three years.

After a series of student interviews COL conducted in 2017, one underlying theme emerged: students praised courses that used videos and other third-party multimedia tools to deliver content. These tools increased students’ immersion and helped students connect with their instructors. COL took these findings to Metropolitan State faculty members and worked with them to identify content that could be converted into animation or an animated series.

Using text submissions, face-to-face meetings and studio recordings, the university’s faculty and COL created narratives that matched courses’ learning objectives. Melissa Heinz, a COL associate, made storyboards and consulted faculty for revisions. Creating drafts of the animations were also collaborative efforts between faculty and COL. Once finished, the completed animations were uploaded to D2L Brightspace.

Interactive case studies were developed, allowing students to apply what they had learned online. Faculty members met with COL Instructional Designer Dr. Bilal Dameh and Dominic Jennen, instructional technology associate. In a case study COL designed with Dr. Debra Eardley, students observed an interview between a nurse and a patient. They then charted the problem, intervention and outcomes using a standardized classification system. In a case study COL and Drs. Carol Lacey, Marcia Anderson and Susan Misterek designed for the Credit for Prior Learning Academy course, Minnesota faculty and advisors, the course’s students played the role of an advisor assessing if a student’s prior education was worthy of college credit.

“COL staff work very hard. It’s great to be acknowledged for that,” says COL Director Robert Bilyk. “COL is customer service-oriented and proposes things that are out-of-the-box. Two years ago, our ability to collaborate was recognized. This year, it was our innovative spirit.”