February Edition | 2020
The Trefny Center has moved!
Please visit us in our new office suite in Green Center 211. Our space includes two audio recording studios and a dedicated green screen room which will enhance our capacity to produce high-quality media for instructional use.
We will be hosting an open house on March 19 from 2–4 PM. Save the date and look for more details in the Daily Blast.

Read on to learn more about accomplishments so far this year, upcoming events, and further opportunities to work with us. Be sure to check our website ( regularly to keep abreast of current news and events.
Many thanks to everyone who has worked with us so far this semester. Let us know how we can best serve your needs related to teaching and learning at Mines.

RMS ASEE 2020 @ Mines

The Trefny Innovative Instruction Center is hosting the Rocky Mountain Section of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) regional conference at the Colorado School of Mines, May 17–19, 2020.  

We have a wonderful lineup of pre-conference workshops, active engagement sessions, papers, and more highlighting research from across the region. We welcome anyone who has an interest in engineering education to register for the conference. If you are a current Mines faculty or staff member, please use your Mines code at registration. If you do not have a code, please email Sarah at

For more information about the conference, visit the conference website.

Welcome, Dr. Rico!

Dr. Rudy Rico is the new Online Learning Experience Technologist (OLET) at the Trefny Center. In his role, he will be developing online courses and modules as part of the Center's NSF Production Engineering Education and Research (PEER) Grant. Rudy looks forward to collaborating with faculty and working with the grant team to develop content that will prepare students to meet Advanced Manufacturing industry needs.
Rudy's background includes teaching and experience as a technology coordinator for Chicago Public Schools. He received his doctorate in Learning Design and Technology from Purdue University, where his research focused on the use of digital badges for teacher professional development and facilitating problem-based learning. On his down time he enjoys riding his bike, hiking and nature photography.

Perceptions of the Trefny Center

During October of 2019 the Trefny Center distributed a campus-wide survey to determine how the Trefny Center is seen by faculty and staff at Mines. This report provides a summary of faculty and staff’s awareness and perception of the Trefny Center. Key open-ended responses are highlighted and future steps are discussed. Overall awareness of the Trefny Center is high across campus and overwhelmingly positive. Thank you to all who participated in the survey!

ASEE National Conference

This summer, we will be sharing our work at the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition in Montreal, Canada. At this national conference, we will facilitate a workshop on course design using the Engineering Learning framework, share research on practices from the summer intensive that faculty continue to implement years after participating in the program, facilitate a special session for faculty developers on how to design interactive workshops, and facilitate a special session on ways that teaching and learning centers work. We are looking forward to opportunities to share the work of the Trefny Center and learn from peers at other institutions.

For Mines faculty attending the conference in Montreal, we will again be hosting a dinner event. Look for more information in the Daily Blast or email Sam (

Supporting Diversity, Inclusion, and Access at Mines

The Trefny Center is excited to support diversity, inclusion, and access (DI&A) at Mines. We believe that there are opportunities for us all to help make Mines more diverse, inclusive, and accessible.
Over the past few months, we offered several workshops designed to help faculty create more inclusive classroom environments, including:
·         Engineering Inclusive Classroom Environments (2-part workshop series)
·         Spring into the Semester with a Student-Centered Syllabus
·         Embracing Challenges: Helping Students Persist in the Face of Obstacles
In addition, we are excited to support and partner with other efforts on campus. For example, Ariana Vasquez is the co-chair for the Mines Latinx Community Alliance and Amy Hermundstad Nave has regular meetings with DI&A leadership and other campus units to identify ways to collaborate and support each other’s programs.

New Graduate Professional Program

The Finite Element Analysis (FEA) Professional program is a fully, online sequence of courses housed in the Mechanical Engineering Department. The initiative is being led by Dr. Anthony Petrella, with the help of Dr. Stephen Geer and Susannah Simmons. Two of the program's four course requirements have been taught, while the third course will go live during the second part of this Spring 2020 semester. The FEA program is eagerly awaiting the Higher Learning Commission's (HLC) accreditation, but in the meantime, there's no shortage of industry professionals looking to hone their skills.

Online Teaching and Learning Update

Over the last several months we’ve been busy collecting data and evidence to support our resubmission to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Mines’ regional accrediting agency, for approval to begin offering multiple online programs. In September 2018, we received approval to offer multiple online courses and one program (Space Resources). We are confident that we addressed the four areas HLC identified as initial challenges for Mines as newcomers to online teaching and learning:
  1. Experience in offering online courses
  2. Data around online student success
  3. How the online programs map to our program review process
  4. The validity of our enrollment and financial projections
We will share some of the data and evidence that was collected for HLC with campus beginning in March as a part of our Online Teaching and Learning sessions. Keep an eye out in the Daily Blasts for more information on those events. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek:

  *Online participation notes the number of students who took one or more online courses at an undergraduate, graduate, or non-degree level. For additional information on past enrollment data, please visit:

NSF PEER Grant Update

The Trefny Center, along with our Co-PIs Drs. Blacklock and Brice (Advanced Manufacturing), is hard at work on our NSF ECR: PEER project entitled, “Engineering Online Learning Pathways in Advanced Manufacturing and Data Science.” This grant affords us the opportunity to partner with advanced manufacturing companies, community colleges (Red Rocks and Colorado Community Colleges Online), and a team of faculty who specialize in advanced manufacturing and data science.

We had an introductory meeting with our partnering companies:  Boeing; Adaptive Innovations Corporation; Electro-Mechanical Products, Inc.; Microbial Pulse Diagnostics, LLC; Stratasys; and Kong. After a lengthy search for an Online Learning Experience Technologist (OLET), we were able to welcome Dr. Rudy Rico to our team on January 6, 2020. Over the past few months we have been planning, conducting, and coding interviews with individuals serving in focused roles from our partnering companies. It has been fun and interesting to visit their facilities and talk with numerous employees. Information gleaned from the interviews will be used to inform the development of  online modules.

Engineering Learning: Design

In this issue, we continue our review of Engineering Learning with the second phase: Design. 

When designing a course, there are three components that must be aligned and reinforce one another: learning outcomes, assessments, and instructional activities. Learning outcomes describe what students should know and be able to do when they leave the course. Assessments reveal the level to which students have achieved the learning outcomes. Instructional activities give students opportunities to: grapple with the content, practice skills, and use feedback to prepare for assessments.

The steps of Design are intended to be done in order. We begin by clearly defining the course-level learning outcomes; outcomes provide the intended targets for what students will know and be able to do by the end of the course. Next, based on the cognitive level of the outcomes, we identify appropriate summative assessments; these are the assessments that will be used to measure and provide definitive evidence of the level of mastery students achieved for each of the course-level learning outcomes. Then we consider our learners and think about the knowledge and skills that they will bring to the course, points where they might stumble and need extra support, and ways in which we can build upon and support the learning of all students. With these first three critical steps in mind, we then map out a pathway of instructional activities designed to provide opportunities for students to achieve the course-level learning outcomes which will be measured by the summative assessments. The pathway helps us think about how the course will take students from where they are when they enter the course to where they need to be at the end of the course for each of the course-level learning outcomes. Once the pathway is established, we are ready to design lessons or modules that will make up the course learning sequence.

Using the intentional design process of Engineering Learning helps instructors ensure alignment of learning outcomes, assessments, and instructional activities in order to meet the needs of their students and develop high-quality courses that meet Mines standards and expectations.

You can read more about Engineering Learning on the Engineering Learning page.

Course Feedback Opportunity

Spring Semester Highlights

Friday Afternoon Club
Join your colleagues for informal discussions about teaching and learning. Snacks and beverages provided.
Friday March 13, 3:00–5:00 PM (Register)
Friday April 24, 3:00–5:00 PM (Register)

Alderson Hall 362
Workshop - Bouquet of Bloom's: Picking Active Learning Strategies
There are so many active learning strategies - how do I pick the right one? Join us to practice aligning active learning strategies to intended outcomes. 
Friday February 28, 1:30–3:30 PM (Register)
Student Center Ballroom D
Pedagogy Practice: Using Relevant Examples in Class 
Add specific strategies to your teaching toolbox for making course content more relevant for students.
Monday March 9, 1:00–2:00 PM (Register)
McNeil Room, Student Recreation Center
What Have We Learned About Teaching At Mines?
Come to this session to see results from three years of classroom observations at Mines.
Monday April 6, 2:00–3:00 PM (Register)
Tuesday April 7, 2:00–3:00 PM (Register)

McNeil Room, Student Recreation Center
Debrief Your Student Evaluations
Review your student evaluations with pizza and sympathetic colleagues! You will leave with a plan for incorporating the constructive feedback the next time you teach.
Thursday May 14, 4:00–5:00 PM (Register)
Location: TBA

Plan Your Summer Professional Development (PD)

MAY 18–JUNE 21, 2020
We are offering a paced, asynchronous online course titled Engineering and Facilitating Online Learning (EFOL) for you to experience online learning from the perspective of a learner as you work through your initial course design aspects. This five-week online course for faculty is intended to support the development of the highest-quality online courses. Completion of this course is required before building or teaching an online course at Mines in order to meet our regional accreditation regulations. Full-time faculty are eligible to receive PD funds after successful completion of the course. Fill out an application to register.
Interested in systematically examining what’s going on in your classroom? After participating in the Teaching as Research Institute, you will be able to answer: What data can I use to study student learning in my classes? How do I set up a rigorous study design within an authentic classroom? How do I navigate the Human Subjects Research process? How do I collaborate with the Trefny Center to conduct classroom-based research? No prior experience with education research is necessary. Faculty who complete the Institute will receive PD funds and are eligible for mini-grants and other supports. Fill out an application to register.
During the Course Design Institute, participants will learn about principles of course design and will begin to apply these principles in a course of their choosing. In particular, the CDI will focus on the development and alignment of learning outcomes, course activities, and assessments. The principles you will learn can be applied to individual class sessions, course modules, and entire courses. Faculty who complete the Institute will receive PD funds and are eligible for mini-grants and other supports. If you are interested in joining us for this adventure in improving teaching and learning at Mines, please complete an application.

Reserve your space now for signature spring and summer events

Click here for the full 2020 Schedule and Event Registration
The HIVE is a talented group of student workers who Help develop Instructional resources, Video and Educational media for students, faculty, and staff at Mines. In the past three years, the impact of the HIVE has expanded. They have become an integral part of Mines instruction. In 2019, the HIVE served over 225 Orediggers on campus and created/edited about 600 videos. As Mines’ faculty continue to add multimedia to their courses and our online course offerings grow, 2020 should be a significant year. Check out the far-reaching effects of the HIVE on Mines’ instruction below.

Featured HIVE Video

The Writing Center received a grant from the Colorado Department of Higher Education to create Open Educational Resources (OER). With this grant, the Writing Center is developing The Online Technical Communication Center (OTCC), which connects students and faculty with resources to develop their oral and written communication skills in STEM.
The OTCC includes a variety of videos, handouts, and exercises so that students can comprehend and apply these skills in their own work. Skills range from IEEE citation to concise sentence structure. Under Writing Pedagogy Support, we also have videos that promote active learning and can be used by faculty to supplement class activities. The HIVE helped support this important OER initiative by recording and editing the videos included on the OTCC site. Check out the video below to see an example!

Looking for Support or Wanting to Know More?

Do you want to get involved in engineering learning at Mines? Schedule a time to meet with a faculty developer, the HIVE, or assessment specialist, drop by the Trefny Innovative Instruction Center on the second floor of the Green Center (RM 211), and stay up-to-date on events on our website, or email us directly.

Request Support
Trefny Innovative Instruction Center
Colorado School of Mines
Green Center 211
924 16th Street, Golden, CO 80401

Copyright © 2020 Colorado School of Mines

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Trefny Innovative Instruction Center · 924 16th Street · Green Center 211 · Golden, CO 80401-1887 · USA

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