The mission of Educational Innovations is to identify, seed, and support innovative technologies and talent to drive and enable the highest-quality teaching and learning experiences for students across Minnesota State. We do this by:

  • supporting collaborations that enable and advance student success
  • supporting faculty in multiple ways to ensure that all students have high-quality learning experiences
  • coordinating enterprise opportunities and solutions that add value for Minnesota State colleges and universities 

Please take a look below at the multiple ways we help support innovation in the Minnesota State system.


D2L Brightspace is a learning management system (LMS), for all Minnesota State institutions. The system’s common LMS involves a mature centralized hosting environment, highly capable enterprise-level operational and support staff, and an engaged campus network of over 200 local administrators, elearning directors, trainers, and CIOs.

The impact/reach of the system’s LMS is immense, evidenced by such endeavors as an innovative load balancing system, collaborative curriculum offerings; enterprise-wide training programs; and faculty and student support. The Minnesota State contract runs until August 31st, 2018 with the option to renew for up to four years, one year at a time.

Questions about the D2L Brightspace contract should be directed to Lesley Blicker.


Minnesota State ASA Connect page (login required).



More Information

Minnesota State ASA Connect page (StarID required)

During the 2014-2​015 academic year, the Academic and Student Affairs - Technology Council recommended to the Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs that institutions identify a "campus academic technology team" in response to ongoing concerns from faculty and students about effective communication regarding D2L and other academic technologies. In April 2015, the Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs sent a memo to campus administrators to establish groups or identify existing bodies that already existed. These groups were to be comprised of individuals in various roles at each institution, including teaching faculty (id​e​ally those engaged actively in relevant faculty development), academic administration, students, eLearning or IT technology staff, LMS or academic technology trainer, LMS site administrator, and CAO/CSAO/CIO, as your structure warrants.

Monthly Statewide Meetings

Groups are encouraged to meet regularly at each campus to discuss campus specific topics related to academic technologies and professional development.  In addition to campus specific meetings, System Office staff organize one-hour, monthly web conference sessions that are open to all Minnesota State institutions.  See the Minnesota State ASA Connect page (login required) for more details.

Campus Contacts

A spreadsheet and listserv ( of individuals who participate on their local campus academic technology team (groups may be identified by a different name on each campus) is maintained by Educational Innovations staff.  The primary contact for each campus is asked to notify System Office Staff ( of any changes that are required on this list.

For any other questions please contact Scott Wojtanowski

What is an Open Educational Resource (OER)? 

Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OER include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge. (William and Flora Hewlett Foundation:


Minnesota State promotes textbook affordability for students at Minnesota State colleges and universities by supporting and facilitating adoption of open, low-cost, high-quality materials. We strive to do through faculty development, adequate resources, and grants.


If you have questions about Open Educational Resources and Faculty Development please contact Karen Pikula, Ph.D, or Kimberly Johnson, Ph.D.

If you have questions about Grants please contact Stephen Kelly.

If you have questions about Resources please see our Minnesota State ASA Connect page (login required).

OER Cost Savings

Each year Minnesota State conducts a survey to gather data related to the cost saving effects of open educational resources.  This data is then shared in aggregate with partners at the University of Minnesota’s Open Textbook Network.  The cost saving goal for academic year 2018 was set at $1,000,000.

Questions related to this program may be directed to Stephen Kelly.

Academic Year 2017 Savings: $751,120

$1,000,000 Goal
66 # Faculty Reporting
$906,674.85 Savings Reported
$93,325.15 Away from Goal
Days to Go

Captioning Assessment Project

In 2015, the System Office initiated a system-wide project to explore options for the provision of transcription and captioning services to Minnesota State institutions for teaching and instructional purposes.

Under the charge and direction of the Academic and Student Affairs Technology Council, an Ad Hoc Captioning Assessment group was formed. The group includes faculty, IT and design staff, disability services, and support staff from 17 Minnesota State campuses.

For more information please contact Lesley Blicker.

Next Generation Learning Environments

Three interrelated events lead to the conclusion that Minnesota State should begin work immediately to look at Pathways for the Next Generation Learning Environment: the landscape is changing, learning environments are trending toward the cloud, and our self-hosted D2L instance is experiencing some issues.

For more information please contact Lesley Blicker.

Softchalk Pilot

As a result of an RFP concluded in 2016, the Minnesota State System Office has entered into a contract with SoftChalk, an eLearning Authoring Tool. The award is for a 2 year Minnesota State pilot beginning July 1, 2016.

For more information please contact Lesley Blicker.

What is MOQI?

The Minnesota Online Quality Initiative is a project sponsored by the Educational Innovations Unit of Minnesota State. Coordinated by personnel from Northland Community and Technical College and Winona State University, MOQI provides faculty and staff from Minnesota State institutions information and resources to promote quality course design and delivery. MOQI also coordinates the Statewide Subscription to Quality Matters.


The purpose of MOQI is to improve the quality of courses and learning experiences for students in online and blended courses through professional development and opportunities for collaboration and shared expertise.


Information about the MOQI sponsored-professional development or QM course peer review opportunities can be found at the MOQI website. For more information, please contact MOQI Coordinator: Elizabeth McMahon.

Kim Lynch, Ph.D.
Senior System Director for Educational Innovations

Tim Anderson, Ed.D, MBA
System Director for Student Success and Technologies

Scott Wojtanowski, Ph.D.
System Director for Innovative Teaching and Learning

Kimberly Johnson, Ph.D.
Director for Faculty and Instructional Development

Lesley Blicker
Director of Learning and Next Generation Technologies

Michael Olesen
Project Manager

Stephen Kelly
Open Education and Innovation Program Coordinator

LaShawnda Ford
Administrative Coordinator

Megan Babel
Administrative Coordinator