Complex Times, Expert Teaching

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.  Still, successful emergency responses likely don't represent the best of what professors can achieve with advance planning and resources. 

To provide Expert Teaching in Complex Times, the University of Denver has committed $3 million dollars over the next year to help a strong teaching faculty create innovative learning environments.  Our students will have exceptional educations.

Below, we announce seven initiatives, along with the modest organizational structures and the budgets needed to achieve all these goals. DU's remarkable investment in teaching innovations will be a point not only of pride but also of national distinction.

Seven Things that DU Professors Can Do Right Now

  • Consult A DU Teaching Tool Kit, with strategies for online teaching (including in hybrid and hyflex modalities) , for both new and experienced teachers

  • Complete one of two a Hyflex Course design institutes offered by OTL. Session one begins on July 20 and session two begins August 10

  • Complete a Teaching Online Short Course. Session two starts August 3.  

  • Schedule an in-person visit to your classroom(s) with an Information Technology  expert for personal instruction on how to use the computers, projection, microphones, and sound that are installed there. Visits will start in August.

  • Build a required Canvas shell for each course you’re teaching.

  • Get up to speed with a glossary of terms associated with online or blended learning. (Hybrid? Synchronous? Pivot-ready?)

  • See a list of policies and best practices for socially distanced in-person teaching, hybrid course design and pedagogy, and hyflex strategies.

Information Services has a page of faculty resources.  You can learn how to use Kaltura to create videos, how to use Zoom, and other tools.

The Office of Teaching and Learning offers a wide range of resources, including upcoming events, scheduling one on one consultations with learning experts, and so on.

Seven New Paths to Teaching Innovations—Most with Funding!

The resources below are open to ALL faculty, including benefited professors (tenure line, teaching professor series, etc.) and adjunct professors.

  • 1. Gain additional support from the Office of Teaching and Learning

    Above and beyond its usual services, OTL will

    • Hire instructional designers to provide faculty more ample access to expertise as they create and sustain their courses.
    • Sponsor more seminars and workshops, led by faculty from across campus
    • Offer stipends to faculty for participating in relatively more sustained
  • 2. Apply for a Classroom Assistant

    At least 60 professors per quarter will have a Classroom Assistant in Hyflex courses or large online sections . The CAs will attend class meetings, monitor online class activities, bring questions/contributions to the instructor's attention, and be available as an extra resource in the event of technology or other issues.

  • 3. Apply for an Individual Teaching Innovations Grant

    Faculty may apply for stipends to addressing 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 or so on. Grants will range from $500 to $1500, depending on the scope of the project undertaken. There will be an awards pool of $250,000.

  • 4. Apply for a Team Innovative Teaching Grant

    Self-organized groups of professors, generally in teams of 3 to 10, may work together to address a common teaching challenge they identify, learn new pedagogies together, develop shared materials, or so on.  In addition to stipends of up to $1000 for each team member, funded teams will have a budget for materials, consultants, or so on. There will be an awards pool of $250,000.

  • 5. Get a Grant for Specific Teaching Materials or to Support Guest Speakers

    Individuals or teams may apply for funds to purchase equipment, software/licenses, or materials that directly support teaching.  They may also apply to bring guest speakers/presenters to classes, including virtually. Up to $50,000 will be allocated each quarter.

  • 6. Consult with a Peer Teaching Mentor—or Become One Yourself

    A group of 25 faculty recruited from across the university who are expert in one or more teaching strategies, techniques, or situations.  Their function is to supplement the help available through OTL, including by providing expertise more closely tied to subject areas or disciplinary perspectives.  TMC's will be available for relatively brief individual consultations or short (one hour or less) workshops/seminars each quarter.

  • 7. Learn New Approaches through Existing Faculty Teaching Support Areas

    Faculty development for teaching improvement already exists in several areas on campus, including CCESL, FSEM, ASEM, the Writing Center, and others.  Those areas will receive additional funding of $100,000 to foster teaching innovations within these programs.