STELAR Partnerships with Faculty – St. Thomas E-Learning And Research
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STELAR Partnerships with Faculty

STELAR Partnerships with Faculty

Dean Yohuru Williams Visits Media Production Students in OEC Multimedia Production Studio

Dean Yohuru Williams of the university’s College of Arts and Sciences visited the OEC Multimedia Production Studio on May 2 to observe TommieMedia staff producing two segments of their Locker Room sports report program.

TommieMedia production team with Dean Yohuru Williams

TommieMedia production team with CAS dean Yohuru Williams


During his visit, Dean Williams offered words of praise and encouragement to the students, saying how impressed he was with their level of commitment to their work and that their commitment shows in the quality of their recordings.


Mark Neuzil, Communication Journalism professor noted, “The student journalists were very appreciative of the visit by the dean. Many of them were in new roles for the broadcast, and they did their jobs well. And they didn’t seem too nervous with a celebrity in the control room.”


Inside the control room during production

“My favorite memory of his visit was when he joined me during my debriefing after the show.”, said Studio Producer MacKenzie Bailey.  “He shared his thoughts on how well our show ran in comparison with his prior experience in other high-level media productions. I’m glad we had the chance to show him part of what student media is capable of at the University of St. Thomas.”


Dean Williams is no stranger to high-level media production.

Chatting with students and staff after the day’s recording


Dan Lamatsch, STELAR video engineer and OEC studio manager noted, “It’s pretty neat to know that the dean of the university’s College of Arts and Sciences knows exactly what it takes to make high-quality media.  He’s been interviewed by many media outlets and has recorded several segments for CNN docuseries on broadcast television and on Netflix.”


STELAR supports the OEC Multimedia Production Studio in OEC.  TommieMedia is the university’s student-run multimedia news production organization.  It is an immersive on-campus employment option for students enrolled in a Communication Journalism (COJO) degree track including journalism, reporting, graphic design, public relations, media production, videography, photography, or advertising.


Watch “TommieMedia’s The Locker Room”


This post was written by Dan Lamatsch, Senior Engineer for AV Technologies for the St. Thomas E-Learning and Research (STELAR) Center at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. To learn more about this topic, please visit our website at or email us at

STELAR Partnerships with Faculty

STELAR presents workshops at the STAR Symposium

St. Thomas staff members from STELAR recently presented at the STAR Symposium, a virtual-only conference hosted by the Minnesota Online Quality Initiative.  The conference held on February 8, drew approximately 155 participants from around the state and country, with a large representation from Minnesota state colleges and universities.  The all-day Symposium was conducted in a Zoom webinar format.

One of STLEAR’s Instructional Designers, Michael Wilder, offered a workshop called “Increasing Engagement with Multimedia-based Projects & Presentations” which had approximately 58 attendees in the afternoon session.

In his workshop, Wilder heightened awareness of instructional video and the importance it plays for students. Participants learned about non-complex strategies for using video to deliver instruction. They also explored options for creating multimedia projects and presentations that can increase interaction and engagement. Taken from his workshop description:

Video is the new “text” for 21st century learners and is replacing traditional delivery systems as a way to communicate content and demonstrate authentic learning. Today’s students consume much more video than they read in text.* Using multimedia video in your course opens up options for communicating and presenting your subject in ways two-dimensional text just can’t do.

Wilder’s presentation materials can be accessed here.

Jo MontieLisa Burke, and John Kinsella presented a session called “Online Orientation Learning Sites: Student Success Resources” and shared the story about STELAR’s development of two student orientation and success sites.  

The presenters illustrated numerous benefits in using Canvas, our learning management system (LMS), to attend to student onboarding needs in online, blended and face to face programs. 

They shared a student success framework from the ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2018 Report (Galanek, Gierdowski, & Brooks, 2018). The findings illuminate ways that success tools benefit students, and emphasize ways to involve faculty and staff who play pivotal roles in helping students notice and use digital success tools.  

The presenters also shared how a self-assessment tool can assist students to better identify what they already know (which helps them to better connect new learning to prior learning) and points them to content that addresses their own prioritized needs.

Many of the 59 attendees in this session, engaged in the conversation via chat which reflects a shared commitment and high interest around creating effective orientation experiences with students.  

See the Online Orientation presentation materials.

Our St. Thomas team members found significant benefit in the task of preparing to share our collective learning (we practiced with each other!); then the actual presenting and interacting with participants sparked further learning.  

In addition, that opportunity to attend other Star Symposium sessions widened our own understandings about what is possible and might be possible. For example, attending the conference modeled numerous best practices around using video conferencing tools (like Zoom) for an entire all online conference, including the importance of having room moderators in an online conference. 

This post was co-written by Michael Wilder and Jo Montie on behalf of the St. Thomas E-Learning and Research (STELAR) Center at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. Please visit our website at or email us at

STELAR Partnerships with Faculty

Reflecting on Code and Chords

Members of Cantus perform with a projection in the background during a collaborative multimedia performance with the University of St. Thomas Playful Learning Lab and singing group Cantus at the Science Museum of Minnesota in downtown St. Paul.

One of the things I love most about being an Instructional Designer is the opportunity to create friendships with faculty members as we partner together to develop online or blended courses. One instructor that I’ve had the privilege of working with and getting to know is AnnMarie Thomas from the College of Engineering. A few weeks back, as we were wrapping up a meeting about her online course, she mentioned to me that she was working on a project called Code + Chords (you may have seen this Newsroom article about it). She and her students were planning to present the project at the Science Museum in downtown St. Paul, and she invited me to come. I jumped at the opportunity to support my colleague and gladly accepted. Little did I know that this concert would show me an entirely new way of experiencing music.

I arrived at the Science Museum with only a vague idea of what I was going to be seeing. I took my seat and a few minutes later, the presentation began. There was a screen on stage with a white circle on it. A woman then took the stage and as she sang, the circle began to change colors depending on the notes she was singing. There were a few different singers that took turns at the microphone before AnnMarie’s Playful Learning Lab students took some time to explain the effort that went into writing the code that makes the production possible. I realized what an undertaking this was for everyone involved and it made me appreciate even more the time and effort AnnMarie puts forth to mentor her students.

Emily Meuer (computer science) left, and Amanda Tenhoff (mechanical engineering) right, work at a laptop during a collaborative multimedia performance with the University of St. Thomas Playful Learning Lab and Twin Cities based singing group Cantus at the Science Museum of Minnesota in downtown St. Paul.

As the evening went on, the circle on the screen changed to different shapes. Different types of songs were sung, with increasingly more singers. We’ve all seen how well video and music work together, but static shapes with colors that change in response to the music were an entirely new experience. And with each new song, my appreciation for the way the color and the shapes enhanced the music grew. I found that I experienced music in a new way when I watched the changing colors. I also found myself thinking about how this could change the way those with hearing loss experience music and how it could reach an audience for whom music has historically been inaccessible. The potential of this project to reach those with hearing impairments, to me, is a prime example of STELAR (who helped fund the project) living out the St. Thomas mission of Advancing the Common Good. As I left the museum, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride at being part of a team that helps make projects like this possible.

This post was written by Karin Brown, an Instructional Designer for the St. Thomas E-Learning and Research (STELAR) Center at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. To learn more about this topic, please visit our website at or email us at