Technology ToolsPage address: http://www.mnsu.edu/its/academic/technology_tools.html
One of the services offered by ATS is to recommend tools for instructors interested in a range of teaching strategies. Whatever your teaching style, and whether your course is entirely face-to-face, hybrid, flipped/blended, or fully online, we can assist with the technology tools to enhance your course and your student's learning experience. The software tools we recommend are inexpensive or free--all prices list the educational discount. Most of the tools are available on both platforms (Win and Mac). Check out the Tool Shed below to find the tool that's right for you.
We break our Technology Tools into 3 categories:
- Enterprise Tools - these tools are fully supported. Contact the ITS Service Desk at 507.389.6654 for assistance.
- Staff Favorites - these tools are not supported. These are favorites of the ATS Staff and they may be able to offer assistance. Primary support is usually found on the websites for these tools.
- Pilot - these tools are supported through the group/team championing the pilot (beta test).
We also offer a suite of services to help you to learn to use tools -- including online tutorials, support documentation, ideas for ways to use the tools (teaching strategies), departmental and collegiate workshops, and one-on-one consulting. You might also consider checking out our Teaching Strategies section to find out more about ways to use these tools in your classes.
Looking for a specific enterprise supported technology tool? View our alphabetical tool list.
The Minnesota State Mankato course management system, D2L, has a broad range of features that can help faculty make their courses more efficient and more effective. Learn how to engage your learners, write effective quizzes and exams, ensure academic integrity, and conduct a wide range of engaging activities and assessments with your learners.
Recreating the magic of your lectures from your face-to-face classes online can seem daunting or even impossible. We have a range of tools to map to your teaching style to help you lecture how you like to lecture.
Invigilation software and practice helps to ensure that students maintain the highest levels of academic integrity.
A number of tools can help instructors create online "widgets" that can help aid in student learning and demonstrate and even assess course concepts.
Don't wonder what your students are thinking or understanding -- find out! Use these tools to get "small data" that can have big impact on your teaching by helping you focus your precious in-class time on those issues that are truly confusing them.
Minnesota State Mankato supports a range of videoconferencing tools, each with a wide range of affordances, but they all work toward a similar goal -- connecting people across space to learn and create together.
Online meeting software allows you and your students to share content online -- slides, drawings, and other materials -- with or without audio/video of the individual participants.
Have your students journal, publish, or co-construct writing assingments or knowledge bases using these social media tools.
Survey tools can be used for basic and applied research, as well as for polling students about content mastery, opinions, or preferences. Minnesota State Mankato has two centrally supported survey systems as well as a suite of staff favorites that can be used in the cloud.
"Who's got the latest version? That one didn't include my last changes..." We've all experienced the messiness of collaboration across time and space on basic word processing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Online collaboration tools allow you to perform these basic academic activities online or "in the cloud", allowing you to share documents without the messy versioning that can happen with email attachments. These tools can be used synchronously or asynchronously and can be truly transformative for collaboration -- for you and for your students.
RPGs, augmented reality games, and branched simulations live in that space between "authentic assessment" and a basic quiz or paper. Easy-to-use development tools make it possible to leverage the motivational and learning benefits of games to engage learners and help them think longer and harder about your course content.
Below we include a brief list of some general considerations that instructors, staff, and students should be aware of when utilizing tools. We include those considerations, along with links to additional support resources in each area.
- Are your materials accessible or able to be made accessible quickly should a student with a physical or cognitive disability register for your course? ATS, in partnership with Accessibility Resources, has services to help you address accessibility obligations to your learners. Please see our page on accessibility for more information. Contact Ginny Fitzloff for more information.
- Are you using copyrighted materials (e.g., any materials for which you are not the principal copyright owner)? If so, have you conducted a Fair Use analysis? There are several excellent online tools to assist you in this analysis; one that we recommend is the University of Minnesota Thinking Through Fair Use tool.
- Are you familiar with the IFO language on Patents and Intellectual Property ownership? Please see Article 27, Section C, Subd. 4 a, b and c to familarize yourself with this language.
- Are you using a technology tool that is not an officially supported tool? If so, what are the terms of service for the service provider (i.e., the "fine print" in the "I agree" page you clicked in order to create an account)? Have you adequately protected your own intellectual property?
- If you are asking students to use a cloud-based tool, such as Google Docs, Dropbox, YouTube, Facebook, or another tool, have you provided an option for learners who don't want to click the "I agree" button, or who prefer not to accept the tool's terms of service?
- Have you adequately considered the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Minnesota Governance Data Practices Act (MGDPA)?
ATS is here to help you think through these and other complex considerations. These considerations should not prevent us from being intrepid in using technology in our classes; we outline them to initiate an informed, thoughtful discussion about the ways in which we use technology to power teaching and learning. If you have questions about these issues, please contact Jude Higdon.