Monday, April 26, 2021

PDF Extreme Makeover Event

May 10 – 28, 2021

All staff and faculty that are creating PDFs for the USD public website and online courses are invited to attend the upcoming (mostly) asynchronous document remediation event. In coordination with ITS, CTL, Marketing, and the USD Digital Accessibility Committee, digital documents posted on the public website and in online courses must meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Level AA. Digital accessibility guidelines help people with disabilities to effectively access content in digital spaces without having to request an accommodation.

Week 1 - Participants will receive a list of all the PDFs on their webpage or online course(s) via email.

Week 2 - Participants will learn through a virtual session (recorded) on Monday, May 17th at 1 pm CT and asynchronous training how to convert (when possible) inaccessible PDFs and PDF forms to accessible documents.

Week 3 - Participants will learn how to evaluate their remaining PDFs for accessibility. A virtual session will be offered on Monday, May 24th at 11:30 am CT (recorded). Participants will also be given information about third-party vendors that can make their PDFs accessible if they do not have the in-house resources to do so. Participants will share their updated spreadsheet of PDFs, noting which PDFs have been removed, converted, or made accessible. Each person and/or department that actively participates will receive a certificate of recognition from the USD Digital Accessibility Coordinator.

To RSVP for the event, please email the CTL Digital Accessibility Team at or call 605-677-5411. Training resources will include a self-paced course in D2L, instructional videos posted to Coyote One Stop, and two synchronous video trainings with virtual Q&A opportunities throughout the week. Support will be offered by the USD Digital Accessibility Coordinator.

Exciting Fellowship Opportunities with the CTL

Mark your calendars for the deadlines to submit for our summer training opportunities!

Course Design Fellowship

May 17 - 21, 2021
8:30 am - 12:30 pm

The CTL is announcing its call for participants for the 2021 Course Design Fellowship. This is a prestigious opportunity for any faculty who wish to design or redesign a course with a significant focus on the use of technology-enhanced pedagogy. Faculty who are admitted to this program join an illustrious group of distinguished alumni. Participants have reported increased student engagement, higher satisfaction with their own teaching, and have seen an increase in IDEA scores. For more information, please click on CDF: Call for Participants.

Submission Deadline is Friday, April 30, 2021

Open Textbook Fellowship

May 31 - June 4, 2021
2:00 - 4:00 pm

In coordination with Academic Affairs, the CTL is pleased to announce a call for up to fifteen (15) faculty to participate in the Open Textbook Fellowship (OTF). OTF participants will learn about open course materials and courseware resources and options, will work with CTL staff to adopt and incorporate open materials/courseware into their courses, participate in assessing student outcomes in those courses, and serve as faculty mentors to encourage further open materials/courseware adoption at USD. For more information, please click on OTF: Call for Participants.

Submission Deadline is Friday, May 7, 2021

Friday, January 29, 2021

The Spring 2021 Public Scholarship Series Starts Today!


Want to engage in public outreach but don’t know where to start? Already work with public-facing assignments and research but don’t know how that fits into public scholarship? The Public Scholarship Statement of Achievement series will introduce faculty to public-facing, multimodal assignments in the classroom and best practices for engaging with the the public and promoting community engaged learning.

Spring Workshop Sequence

  • Blogging in the Classroom (1/29 at 10:00 AM): The blogging in the classroom workshop introduces participants to crafting and assessing public-facing writing assignments in the classroom.
  • Digital Storytelling (2/11 at 1:30 PM)  Featuring Danielle Loftus, the Digital Storytelling workshop will cover basic tools and techniques for assigning multimodal narrative projects in the classroom.
  • Podcasting in the Classroom (2/26 at 10:00 AM):  This workshop introduces participants to integrating podcasting activities and assessments in the classroom.
  • Community Engaged Learning (3/25 at 1:30 PM): Join Kim Albracht from the Gallagher Center for Experiential Learning & Education Abroad to learn how you can integrate service learning into your classes. Meghann Jarchow, Chair of Sustainability and Environment, and Lindsey Jorgensen, Associate Professor of Communication Disorders, will share their successful uses of service learning in their classes.
  • Organizing Virtual Conferences (3/31 at 10:00 AM): This workshop introduces participants to different remote conferencing models and discusses best practices.
  • Public Scholarship Panel (Schedule coming soon): The Public Scholarship series closes with a panel on engaging the public as a researcher. In this panel, Rachel Kolb, Junior Fellow at Harvard University, and Joe Kantenbacher, Assistant Professor of Sustainability and Environment, will discuss their work with public-facing research and promoting the public good.
To register for a workshop, contact the CTL at

Friday, January 22, 2021

Blackboard Ally Launch

We are excited to announce the addition of a new tool to promote accessibility and inclusion at the University of South Dakota! Blackboard Ally, a dedicated accessibility tool that provides a dashboard that will help instructors engage in universal design for their course documents, is live and ready to support your teaching this term.

Teaching at USD this term and want more support on improving the accessibility of your course? Access our Blackboard Ally training in our Digital Accessibility Training (D2L Course)!

Blackboard Ally Resources

Disability Studies Resources

Learn more about accessibility and disability studies:

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Book Review: Helping College Students Find Purpose

Nash, Robert & Michele Murray.  2010.  Helping College Students Find Purpose.  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass.  320 pages.

This book examines the quarterlife generation—the transition between late teens into one’s early thirties—and how the seek meaning and purpose.  The book seeks to develop a rationale for faculty and administrators to see themselves as mentors of meaning-making, and to provide the tools for this to be a successful endeavor, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Book Review: Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology

Collins, Allan & Richard Halverson.  2009.  Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology:  The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America.  Columbia, NY:  Teachers College Press.  176 pages.

“We are not going to fix education by fixing the schools.  They have served us very well in the past, but they are a 19th-century invention trying to cope with a 21st-century society” (p. 142).  This is the conclusion that these authors make.  This text, focused more on K-12 than post-secondary education, lays out some very interesting arguments for the implementation of life-long, multi-generational learning experiences that are the antithesis of our current public school system.

I found many interesting ideas in this book, which in many ways mirrors my own thoughts about our current educational system.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Book review: Davis & Arend (2013) Facilitating Seven Ways of Learning

Davis, James R. & Bridget Arend.  2013.  Facilitating Seven Ways of Learning:  A Resource for More Purposeful, Effective, and enjoyable College Teaching.  Sterling, VA:  Stylus.  300 pages.

Davis and Arend provide an introduction to seven ways, or theories, of learning.  These include behavioral learning, cognitive learning, learning through inquiry, learning with mental models, learning through groups and teams, learning through virtual realities, and experiential learning.  Within their discussion they suggest learning goals and activities that facilitate each type of learning.

I found the seven types of learning to be interesting, and their descriptions of various activities that enhance each type of learning were useful.  It is an excellent introduction to theories of learning for faculty who have not had any formal training in this area.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Book Review: Doyle & Zakrajsek's _The New Science of Learning_

Doyle, Terry & Zakrajsek, Todd.  (2013).  The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony With Your Brain.  Sterling, VA:  Stylus.  126 pages.

Advances in brain science have opened up our understanding of how the brain makes and retains memories—i.e., learning.  This book, written for students, examines how the brain processes new information, what makes us pay attention, and how important sleep and exercise are for memory.  An excellent book for any student--or faculty member, for that matter!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Book Review: John Shank's Interactive Open Educational Resources

Shank, John.  2014.  Interactive Open Educational Resources:  A Guide to Finding, Choosing, and Using What’s Out There to Transform College Teaching.  San Francisco, CA:  Jossey-Bass.  176 pages.

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are an important instructional tool that are growing in importance and sophistication.  This book provides a very elementary look at some of the most important OERs, focusing on interactive learning materials (ILMs).  Different repositories (such as MERLOT or PBS Teaching) are evaluated for the collection quality and quantity, the ease of searchability, and tips are provided for both basic and advanced searches.  

I found this to be an incredibly basic book that focuses too heavily on site-specific search strategies, rather than how ILMs can transform teaching.  The list of potential locations/repositories for ILMs was nice, but as with all books that focus on web-based resources, I worry that some of this information is already out of date or inactive.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Classroom Techniques to Assist Students with Hearing Loss

By Carlee Andress

When a child has a communication disorder, a language barrier exists that can cause deficits in all areas of life ranging from interpersonal relationships to academic success. As educators we have the responsibility to implement learning based accommodations so that each student can access information despite their possible language and learning barriers.  It is difficult to understand which accommodations are appropriate and how to facilitate them effectively in the classroom. This article will address strategies and technological tools that promote learning in the classroom for people with hearing loss.  
Hearing loss or hearing impairment is the most prevalent disability with 360 million people affected by it world-wide.  Furthermore, the main impact is found in communication, which is closely linked to learning, writing, reading, speaking, and understanding the world around us.   Imagine you are at rock concert or a major sporting event and a friend (who is sitting down the row from you) is trying to tell you something.  Can you comprehend every word your friend is trying to say?  No, probably not.  Can you write down what your friend is trying to say?  Nope.  If you were to read a passage later in the day, could you identify that text as something that was said to you before? No.  Chances are excellent that you cannot identify, process, retain, or apply your friend’s message simply because the sound signal was not clear.  For people with hearing loss, every conversation, lecture, or dialogue is unclear.  Every time someone speaks to them, the quality of the message is similar to the quality of your friend’s message at the rock concert or sporting event. 
People with a hearing loss are not of lesser value, intelligence, or competence; however, they do need to be able to hear in order to interact socially and participate academically.  The student and the professor are both responsible for employing communication strategies to facilitate learning in the classroom.  
The first, and perhaps most important, communication strategy is to reduce background noise.  Even in a quiet environment, students miss some speech sounds and other sounds are ‘muffled.’ When noise is added to the environment (i.e. humming computers, fans, buzzing lights, open windows, hard floors), more sounds and therefore language is eradicated and the learning barrier strengthens. 
The second strategy is to speak just a little slower and a little louder.  If you speak too slow or too loud, the message will become distorted thus making it difficult to comprehend.  Speaking slightly slower and louder is beneficial to a person with hearing loss.  Slowing down your rate of speech gives the person more time to fill in the ‘unheard’ sounds with contextual clues.  Speaking louder overcomes the ambiguity of sound signals associated with background noise.
The third strategy is to stay at a close distance from the person with a hearing impairment.  In fact, a good rule of thumb is to stay an arm’s length away at all times.  People with hearing loss become experts at filling in ‘sound gaps’ with lip reading and facial expressions.  To achieve competent communication with people who have a hearing loss, we must give maximal visual support.  This includes everything from gestures to written communication.
The fourth strategy is to use technology.  Clearly, the person with a hearing impairment needs to visit with their audiologist for a full assessment, and it is their responsibility to wear and properly maintain their hearing aids.  With that being said, professors and teachers alike should be familiar with the many features and unique qualities of a FM system.  One FM system that audiologists on our campus support is the Phonak Roger Pen FM system.  This pen can be pointed at the speaker/professor or can be worn by the speaker/professor.  The pen will only pick up the professor’s voice and then direct it straight into the receiver on the hearing aid.  The pen eliminates the hearing difficulties associated with background noise and distance.  Sometimes wearing a hearing aid alone is not enough, because the hearing aid amplifies all sounds and this taxes the listener. In short, the pen (or other FM devices) filters out unnecessary noises and picks up the communication partner’s voice.
If you have a student with a hearing loss, please encourage them to:
1.)    Set up an appointment with an audiologist.
2.)    After the results come in, the student must visit with disability services.
3.)    The student should present their diagnosis (from doctor) and classroom accommodation plan (from disability services) to the professor.
4.)    The professor and the student should work together to incorporate appropriate strategies and tools in the classroom.

Contact information for the University of South Dakota’s Audiology Program:
Communication Sciences and Disorders – Noteboom Hall
Noteboom Hall
Phone: 605-677-5474

Contact information for the University of South Dakota’s Disability Services:
Phone: 605-677-6389

For more information on the Phonak Roger Pen FM system, please visit the following site: