Charge: Learning Tools Group


In Summer 2017 an operational governance group was created to aid in the launch of Canvas as the UMN centrally supported Learning Management System (LMS) and to guide the transition from the then current LMS Moodle to Canvas. This LMS Operational Governance group was sponsored by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Office of Information Technology and included representation from many colleges across the UMN Twin Cities campus, system campuses, and key central unit partners including the University Libraries and Academic Support Resources (ASR).  

It became clear through the work of the LMS operational governance that there was a need for more coordination and governance in the academic technology ecosystem at the UMN, that goes beyond just the LMS, which led to the formation of an overarching academic technology governance group, Digital Learning Operational Governance, or DiaLOG. This operational governance committee is comprised of a steering committee and four subgroups: Course Content, Learning Platform, Learning Analytics and Learning Tools. This document provides the charge for the DiaLOG Learning Tools subgroup.


The purpose of the DiaLOG Learning Tools subgroup is to work with the University academic technology community and other key stakeholders to address larger topics/trends in the academic technology ecosystem that will affect faculty and students in their teaching and learning processes.  

Main outputs of this group include:

  • Providing guidance to the University community on which academic technologies should be centrally supported at the University
  • Facilitating conversations with the University community to prioritize learning tools to support a healthy academic technology ecosystem
  • Providing examples/guidelines for the effective use of learning tools

The DiaLOG Learning Tools subgroup is expected to coordinate with the Learning Platform and Learning Analytics subgroups on topics that will impact these subgroups and is also expected to consult/inform key stakeholder groups via the DiaLOG steering committee.


The scope of the DiaLOG Learning Tools subgroup concerns academic technology used in support of teaching and learning at the U. This group will focus on academic technologies that will have broad impact as well as emerging trends that will impact the academic technology ecosystem at the U.


The DiaLOG Learning Tools subgroup is charged to:

  • Engage the University Academic Technology community to provide recommendations on which academic technology tools should be administered and supported centrally by OIT.
  • Facilitate the community-driven process for prioritizing new requests to integrate learning tools with the learning platform.
  • Facilitate the sharing of best practices and lessons learned with academic technology tools and their effective use.
  • Coordinate with other DiaLOG subgroups on issues that span the purview of more than one subgroup via the DiaLOG steering committee.
  • Coordinate with key stakeholders to provide effective practice suggestions for academic technology tools supported centrally by OIT.
  • Review the focus and organization of this subgroup once a year to ensure that it is being responsive to the needs of the community in coordination with the DiaLOG steering committee.

Dependencies and Related Groups

  • OIT staff, Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost staff and academic technologists supporting system campuses, colleges or units
  • Provost’s Advisory Committee on Teaching, Learning and Technology (PACTLT)
  • Senate Committee on Information Technologies (SCIT)
  • Senate Committee on Educational Policy (SCEP)
  • Faculty Development for Online Teaching (reports to TeachingSupport Sponsors)
  • U of M Online Steering Committee
  • Academic unit and system campus IT and academic leadership
  • eLearning Support Network
  • Academic Technologies formal Community of Practice (ATfCOP)
  • University Learning Technology Advisors (ULTA)
  • Digital Arts Sciences and Humanities (DASH) program
  • Unizin Coordinating Committee

Meeting Schedule

  • Once monthly – entire subgroup
  • As needed for deep-dive groups


  • Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost (Emily Ronning)
  • Office of Information Technology (Donalee Attardo)


  • Keith Brown, Interim Senior Director, Academic Technology, Office of Information Technology
  • Matt Sherwood, IT Director, College of Continuing and Professional Studies

Chair Accountabilities

Chairs play an important role in coordinating group meetings and activities and have a responsibility to:

  • Manage meetings (schedule and communicate meeting logistics, prepare meeting agendas, assure appropriate meeting planning and follow-up, and chair meetings).
  • Assure preparation of action plans and the completion of action items and project deliverables.
  • Share meeting agendas at least 3 business days before meeting times.
  • Keep group sponsors informed on progress and request meetings as needed.

Group Member Accountabilities

Each group member has a responsibility to:

  • Attend group meetings, actively participate in meetings, and promptly complete assignments.
  • Participate in adding agenda items, frame up recommendations and prepare deliverables.
  • Consider and provide input based on the perspective of what is good for the University, not only for specific units.
  • Work to ensure group effectiveness and adherence to committee ground rules.
  • Support group decisions and actions.

Ground Rules

  • First and foremost, all group members will participate in a manner that embraces the spirit of the DiaLOG charter: finding and embracing the healthy tension that is inherent to our work, talking through the tension in order to understand the issues, making sure everyone is heard and understood, and then finding a way to move forward as a group.
  • Start on time and work to stay on schedule. Come prepared.
  • If you must miss a meeting, you are responsible for all information and assignments. Contact the chair.
  • Share high-level meeting notes within one week following the meeting.
  • Monitor digressions and refocus the discussion.
  • Handle disagreements. Poll other co-workers on controversial decisions. Treat all members with courtesy and respect – regardless of opinions.
  • Honor confidentiality if requested. Otherwise, feel free to share.
  • Take issues that involve a few people or further investigation offline.

Last edited October 2023