High-quality, high-touch, and high-impact teaching and learning is a DU hallmark. Navigating spring 2020’s pivot to remote courses called for creative, nimble, and timely responses from faculty and DU instructional support offices, including the Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL) and IT, among others. As DU moves through its fall return to campus plans, these practices are being rolled out to support teaching and learning in the four Fall 2020 course modalities (in-person, hybrid, hyflex, and online), with the goal of providing students with high-quality learning experiences–including those that center on diversity, equity and inclusion in curriculum and course design.
The Office of Teaching and Learning
Troubled times demand expert teaching. Confronting not only a pandemic but social, economic, ethical, and personal challenges, DU's students can expect the best possible learning experiences. DU faculty can expect the help they need for teaching innovations in new environments. In spring 2020, faculty across campus responded heroically to online teaching and students rose to new challenges. For fall 2020, the Office of Teaching and Learning is focusing on helping instructors and students leverage newly-acquired Spring skills, to transition back from emergency remote learning, and to strengthen teaching across modalities to support DU’s standard of high-quality, high-touch, and high-impact learning experiences.
Key elements of OTL’s Spring 2020 activities will carry forward, including its one-on-one faculty consultations with OTL staff, peer-to-peer support from faculty partners, and instructional design guidance from DU’s University College. OTL will also continue working with associate deans to identify and support unit-level needs. It will also continue offering workshops, short courses, webinars, and other teaching development sessions, as well as supporting its teaching blogs, online teaching glossary, and the DU teaching toolkit. In July 2020, OTL launched its Inclusive Teaching Practices website, designed to support instructors in creating dynamic courses, removing barriers to learning, and dismantling oppressive practices by implementing inclusive pedagogies.
As suggested by the Fall Logistics Task Force, included below are initiatives that will support innovative, effective teaching that will continue DU’s commitment to high-quality student learning for fall 2020 and beyond. The resources listed below are open to ALL faculty, including adjunct, teaching-line, tenure-line, and graduate instructors.
OTL Instructor Supports
Classroom Assistants for hyflex and large online courses
At least 60 instructors per quarter will be assigned a classroom assistant (CA) to support hyflex courses or large online class sections. The CAs will attend class meetings, monitor online class activities, bring student questions/contributions to the instructor's attention, and be available as an extra resource in the event of technology or other issues.
Peer Teaching Mentors
A group of 25 instructors, recruited from across the University as identified experts in one or more teaching strategies, techniques, or situations, will receive stipends to supplement OTL’s staff instructional support, by providing expertise more closely tied to particular subject areas or disciplinary perspectives. Peer Teaching Mentors will be available for individual consultations or short workshops/seminars each quarter.
Enhanced Teaching Materials Production
Instructors will receive extensive pre- and post-production support as they develop teaching videos and other forms of media production. Up to 1,500 hours of expert help will be available to the community. In addition, DU will furnish an additional Video Creation Studio as well as numerous portable “Studios in a Box” kits containing a camera, lights, trip, microphones, etc.
Additional OTL instructional support
The Office of Teaching and Learning will:
- Hire instructional designers to provide faculty more ample access to expertise as they create and sustain their courses,
- Sponsor additional seminars and workshops, led by faculty from across campus, and offer stipends to faculty for participating in some OTL programming
Unit level Instructor support
Individual Teaching Innovation Grants
Instructors will be able to apply for stipends to address a specific teaching challenge or opportunity. This may include adapting in-person strategies for online teaching, designing or redesigning course materials, refining techniques and approaches.
Team Teaching Innovation Grants
Self-organized groups of instructors, generally in teams of 3-10, will be able to apply to work together to address a common teaching challenge they identify, learn new pedagogies together, develop shared materials, or similar activities.
Writing Center Instructor Support
The Writing Center will continue to support instructors in teaching writing in their courses. This support will involve its usual complement of offerings:
- Synchronous workshops in Zoom
- Asynchronous workshop materials that faculty can use in their courses
- Facilitated peer reviews for whole classes of students
- Individual consultations with faculty developing writing assignments and writing activities
- In addition, the WC is developing versions of its asynchronous offerings for 2020-21:
- An ePortfolio page with peer review activities and sequences that faculty can adapt and integrate into their courses, with activities meant for different moments in a writing process, from generating topics and developing arguments to revising to final editing.
- A “guest consultant” program, to be piloted in fall and offered in winter to WRIT and ASEM, in which a consultant participates in an online course site for up to two weeks as students work toward a particular assignment.
Self-guided tutorials for student writers on frequently used and effective strategies from writing center consultations, including building a reverse outline, integrating and synthesizing source material, editing papers on one’s own, and writing an effective discussion board post.
The Writing Center is also developing an outreach plan that will enable us to communicate what we offer to students as well as to faculty, using new advising software that allows us to communicate directly with students, even those who have not previously visited the Writing Center.
Additional Resources for Existing Faculty Teaching Support
Teaching development support already exists in several areas on campus, including CCESL, FSEM, ASEM, and the Writing Center. Faculty engaged in these areas will receive additional funding of to foster teaching innovations within these programs.