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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

The Basics

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Teaching with Technology Basics:

New to teaching at MNSU?  Use our Getting Started Tech Guide for Faculty to help you access all the tools you will need for your course or your job.  If you have any questions about any of the items listed in the guide, please contact the IT Solutions Center at or 507-389-6654.  


To help you get started, we've adapted Online Course Checklists from Southern Illinois University's Center for Teaching Excellence:


Checkout these fantastic playliste by Lynda.comLearning to Teach Online  and Learning to Write a Syllabus


There are a number of basic tools and techniques that are used consistently in creating fully online, blended, and technology-enhanced face-to-face courses. These are:

Below we discuss each of these types of tools, and provide some principles of good designs for the types of assignments that you might use each for.

Creating Basic Course Websites with D2L:

Desire2Learn, or D2L, is the LMS or Learning Management System for Minnesota State Mankato. This is the mechanism that instructors can use to create an online presence to organize their course materials for their students and create community online. The MNSU Technology Roundtable recommends using D2L Brightspace to at least post the syllabus, post grades, and add course events to the calendar.  Find out more here. The steps below outline our recommendation for getting started with your D2L course site.

  1. The first step in using D2L is to decide which template you wish to use. Minnesota State Mankato has two templates: a basic template, which is a blank slate, and a Quality Matters template, which is organized to help you implement the Quality Matters rubric and instructional design principles. We strongly urge instructors teaching online for the first time to use the Quality Matters D2L template.
  2. Once you've decided which template you want, you must request a course site. Be sure to indicate which template you wish to use when requesting your course site.
  3. Next, we recommend reviewing the "getting started" videos on the D2L Brightspace YouTube Channel. These will help you understand how D2L is structured and will teach you how to do basic things like upload a syllabus, email your class, and other basic functions.
  4. Finally, you should create the shell for your course, based on your course syllabus. If you need assistance with this, contact the Minnesota State Mankato IT Solutions Center, 507-389-6654, or visit our D2L drop-in sessions in the Faculty Resource Center, ML 0088. The schedule for D2L drop-in sessions can be found on our training calendar.

Creating an eReserve of Course Readings:

Using Library Services' processes, you can reserve pertinent course resources for student use. Instructors can request to place physical books, media, or electronic documents on reserve. This form can be accessed on Library Services' website, or directly at Reserve Request Form.

Using Online Discussion Boards Effectively:

Online discussion boards are one of the most commonly-used tools in online, blended, flipped, and technology-enhanced courses. There are many ways to structure these tools effectively -- and other ways that the research shows are not as effective. We recommend reviewing the following documents to help you design and implement a successful online discussion board for your course.

Creating Effective Presentations:

Most of us don't have a background in graphic design, so making lecture slides that look nice and convey our material effectively can be a bit intimidating. With a few simple design principles, you can make elegant, effective PowerPoint presentations for your courses without a lot of additional effort, whether your course is fully online, blended, or entirely face-to-face.

Recording and Posting Lectures:

Once you've designed your presentations, you'll need to record them (if your course is online, flipped, or blended.) The following are the steps we recommend for beginners in this space.

  1. Choose a lecture capture tool. We recommend MediaSpace/CaptureSpace Lite or our HD Recording Studio.
  2. Record your lectures and post them to your course web site in D2L.

Creating Quality Writing Assignments:

There are several principles of good writing assignments. We suggest the following to help guide your process.

  1. Originally recorded as a faculty development piece for the School of Nursing, this video of Mitch Ogden, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at UW-Stout, discusses how to create and grade writing assignments efficiently and effectively.
  2. Create a clear rubric for your assignments.
  3. Consider using anti-plagiarism software, such as Turn-It-In, to minimize scholastic dishonesty.

Creating Useful Quizzes and Exams:

Online quizzes and exams are often a concern for instructors. We worry about two main areas: first, how do we ensure that we're writing exam questions that will accurately and effectively assess our learners' understanding, and second, how can we invigilate the process to minimize scholastic dishonesty? The materials below help to address both of those issues.

  1. Read this guide to writing effective exam questions.
  2. Read this guide to online invigilation and exam security.
  3. Design and build out your quizzes and exams in D2L.