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Update: Digital and Online Strategy Task Force

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University of Denver

May 29, 2020

News  •
Internal  •


David D. Thomas
Executive director, online program management

Kate Willink
Vice provost of faculty affairs


Therese Mashak
Executive assistant, Office of the Provost


The Digital and Online Strategy Task Force has worked in conjunction with the chancellor’s other University Planning Framework task forces to ensure the highest quality learning experience for students.

The task force’s focus has been on identifying opportunities to support fall approaches, but with an eye to how these approaches can mature and evolve over the next 12–36 months as a part of a concerted effort to transform the DU educational experience.

Following is a short summary of the committee’s four desired outcomes and key ideas:

  1. Develop a system for collecting and disseminating best practices and lessons learned during the spring.

    We are working closely with the Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL) to align longer-term strategies for digital and online excellence. This includes evaluating short-term offerings for long-term application as well as advising the other task force leads on apparent, sustainable approaches.

    Key ideas include:
    1. Work with the OTL on a standard glossary of online teaching modalities and terms to ensure alignment between planning, policy and support.
    2. Ensure all faculty support approaches are symmetrical with similar supports on the students’ side—such as online success courses, conduct policies, and minimum technical requirements for online modalities.

  2. How can we “live into the DU brand” in an online world?

    Protecting and evolving DU’s ability to deliver high-quality educational experiences, regardless of modality, must remain a key focus during the current shifts in teaching strategy. We have outlined key themes in the DU teaching approach that must be retained and enriched as we explore new learning modalities.

    Key ideas include:
    1. Our current approaches to teaching and learning have demonstrated success in delivering a high-quality educational environment.
    2. As we move into new teaching and learning modalities, we must focus on the aspects of connection, individualized practice-based-education, and overall professionalism to ensure quality across these emerging modalities.
    3. We need to transparently and actively lean into a set of strategies that preserve DU’s commitment to high-quality education across a range of registers.
    4. The 4D student experience can and should live inside and across all learning modalities.

  3. Evaluate solutions and opportunities across technology, instructional design, rewards and recognition and policies.

    To meet diverse faculty needs, the University should invest time and resources into: improved support for current technologies, enhanced and more-organized instructional design resources, systems of professional development, and evolved policies and guidelines that enhance our commitment to our high-quality learning environment.

    Key ideas include:
    1. We have an abundance of tools, support, resources and materials. However, we need to invest in central, coordinating services to increase discovery, application and efficacy of these resources.
    2. Further investment of time and resources will be required to fully support the high-quality educational environment across new and emerging modalities.

  4. Coordinate with the other COVID task forces to ensure alignment of recommendations

    This is, perhaps, the Digital Task Force’s primary desired outcome. While timing and resources will largely dictate direction over the next three months, this task force has cast its collective eye toward a horizon of 12–36 months in the future. We have asked: How can the change we are undergoing now turn into a transformational force helping drive DU into the 21st century of education? Our charge remains to look over the horizon and harvest the best and most practical of our current efforts and help shape these approaches into the habits of the future.