STAR Symposium Committee Receives Excellence Award

The STAR Symposium Committee received an “Overall-in-All” Excellence Award at the 2018 Minnesota eLearning Summit. The committee received the award for the work they’ve done to plan and successfully implement the STAR Symposium All Day Virtual Teaching and Learning Conference for the past three years. The “overall-in-all” designation indicates excellence in all three award categories: innovation, collaboration, and impact.

eLearning Summit 2018

The STAR Symposium is a virtual one-day conference hosted annually by the Minnesota Online Quality Initiative (MOQI). Coordinated by the MOQI Coordinators (Elizabeth McMahon and Robin O’Callaghan), the STAR Symposium celebrates excellence in teaching and learning by providing an avenue for individuals to share best practices, ideas, and resources with colleagues within and outside of Minnesota. The Symposium includes a keynote address, featured session, and multiple concurrent sessions in an easy-to-navigate format that provides participants opportunities to learn and share strategies that positively impact face-to-face, blended, and online courses and/or programs.

The idea for the STAR Symposium grew out of a desire to find better ways for faculty from Minnesota State institutions to share and learn about effective practices in teaching and learning. Lacking resources to provide a face-to-face conference, the MOQI Coordinators assembled a team to design and deliver the STAR Symposium as a low-cost, virtual, interactive one-day conference. A radical departure from a traditional conference, this required creativity and imagination to build an infrastructure, market and sell the value of the new idea, and provide supports to presenters and participants to ensure a high-quality, user-friendly, engaging experience. After only three years, the very successful Symposium has expanded beyond system borders to include national and international presenters and participants.

The award was given to the following individuals to recognize their contributions, creativity and innovation, exceptional collaboration, and extraordinary impact on teaching and learning:

Elizabeth McMahon, Northland Community and Technical College
Dorinda Sorvig, Northland Community and Technical College
Robin O’Callaghan, Winona State University
Mary O’Brien, Winona State University
Rita Rahoi-Gilchrest, Winona State University
Angie Anderson, Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Miki Huntington, Minneapolis Community College
Carla Johanson, Distance Minnesota Support Center
Kimberly Johnson, Minnesota State System Office
Carrie Miller, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Darcy Turner, University of St. Thomas
Roseann Wolak, Saint Cloud State University

SIG and MOQI Earn Two Regional Awards

Recently the Instructional Technologies and Learning Spaces Special Interest Group (SIG) and Minnesota Online Quality Initiative (MOQI) efforts earned two regional recognition: a D2L Brightspace Impact Award at the Connections Conference and Special Recognition at the eLearning Summit.

Established at the Minnesota State IT Conference in 2014, the Instructional Technologies and Learning Spaces Special Interest Group (SIG) has been managed by Winona State’s Teaching, Learning and Technology department from the outset and is a growing learning community and social network designed for faculty and staff who work with academic technology, inside and outside the classroom. The SIG provides opportunities for those at all Minnesota State schools to collaborate and share best practices through online resource sharing and webinars. The SIG also works closely with the MOQI to offer free webinars that focus on teaching, learning and technology.

“This past year one of the goals of the SIG was to enhance our collaboration efforts with the Minnesota Online Quality Initiative,” O’Callaghan said, “It was a natural fit for us to work together to provide webinars across Minnesota State. We are both trying to help the same audience so it just made sense to find ways we could work together more closely.”

The SIG is co-coordinated by Robin O’Callaghan (Winona State University) and Carrie Miller (Minnesota State University, Mankato). MOQI is co-coordinated by Robin O’Callaghan and Elizabeth McMahon (Northland Community and Technical College). Working together, the coordinators directed every aspect of these projects, including coordinating and training presenters, scheduling webinars, creating and managing the registration site, promotion and communication, and conducting post-webinar surveys. The combined efforts of the co-coordinators of these projects as well as what each of the presenters contributed are what earned the SIG and MOQI this recognition. Continue reading