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OTL Celebrates Black History Month

The intention behind Black History month is to spotlight the experiences of Black people in America— honoring both their achievements and their misrepresented or completely absent lived histories under oppression. As educators, how do we integrate this practice into our classrooms year-round, to honor and represent those who have been traditionally asked to assimilate to a dominant culture? It is good to remind ourselves that students aren’t marginalized by their identities; they are marginalized by their instructors and peers for what their identities represent to those within dominating groups. Those who commit to teaching through a culturally responsive framework aim to consistently represent multiple perspectives in the content and structure of their courses. By including those perspectives, we communicate to students that how they frame their worldview matters.  

We invite you to explore two resources that may help you develop relevant teaching practices.

  • Scientist Spotlight Initiative was created by a community of students, pre-college teachers, university and college instructors, and scientific professionals committed to making the sciences more inclusive and more representative of diverse communities. Check out the "Implementation Tips and Strategies" for ideas on how to bring this resource to your classroom.

Resources for Student Absences

Now that we are mid-quarter, and looking ahead to the middle of the semester toward the end of this month, you may be handling student absences during critical exam, project, and assignment times. Visit our updated blog Using Canvas to Navigate Student Absences and our Navigating Student Absences infographic for ideas and resources.

We are also hosting drop-in hours today to brainstorm strategies for supporting absent students.

Thursday, February 3, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Online via Zoom

Join the Zoom link at any time during the drop-in hours for individualized assistance. We can support you with:

  • Sharing course materials in Canvas
  • Using assignments and discussions as alternative forms of engagement
  • Planning online exams
  • Implementing student accommodations
  • And more!

It is also a great time to consider creating a mid-term survey to get feedback from your students. The feedback you receive at this time can have a positive impact on your course and your students' learning community.

Don't forget that you can also schedule a 1:1 with an OTL Instructional Designer for individual training, or reach out to [email protected] with questions.

OTL Seeks Department Action Teams

The OTL is seeking departmental applications for a 10-month pilot project to re-evaluate teaching evaluation practices. This project supports the work of the Teaching Excellence Task Force and guides departments through a change process known as “Department Action Teams” (DATs). Participating departments/programs will determine ways to apply the Teaching Quality Framework and ensure three voices (self, student, peer) are reflected in teaching evaluation for annual and consequential review.

These DATs will be facilitated by Dr. Virginia Pitts, OTL's Director of University Teaching, Dr. Kayoung Kim, Director of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and Faculty Learning Communities, Dr. Jared Del Rosso, Associate Professor and OTL Faculty Fellow of Teaching and Learning, and Dr. Barbekka Hurtt, Teaching Associate Professor and OTL Faculty Fellow of Teaching and Learning.

Participating teams will begin their work in March 2022. The application deadline is February 4. To learn more and apply, visit the DAT Call for Proposals web page.

If you are interested in participating but are unable to complete the application by Friday, February 4, please reach out to Dr. Leslie Cramblet Alvarez, the Director of the Office of Teaching and Learning, at [email protected].

Teaching Online Short Course Starts Next Week

Are you thinking about how to keep your students engaged and considering your strategies for providing feedback as we approach mid-term? Join us for the Teaching Online Short Course to learn about best practices around engagement and feedback in courses with online elements!

The course is primarily self-paced with the opportunity to connect with other faculty participants. Participants who turn in the final assignment will receive a course review facilitated by an Instructional Designer.

Upon completion of the course review, participants will receive a stipend. The course will run from Monday, February 7 to Monday, February 28.

Register for the Teaching Online Short Course today!

Seeking Participants for Spring 2022 Student-Faculty Partnership Program

Do you wish to better-understand your students and how they experience your class, particularly in this current context? In the Student-Faculty Partnership Program, students and faculty members learn and work together as partners in addressing the question of how we can create more engaging and inclusive learning environments. Now in it's sixth year at DU and backed by 20 years of research, this program is premised on the idea that students and faculty members can learn much from each other regarding the experience of teaching and learning, and that it is through dialogue and sharing of different perspectives that this learning can occur.   


Participating faculty members will be paired with a student partner for the Spring 2022 quarter. Every week throughout the quarter, students observe their faculty partner's class, and they and their faculty partners meet - either virtually or in person - to discuss their respective observations, insights, and wonderings.


We are currently seeking faculty participants who teach undergraduate classes in any format.  The application deadline is Tuesday, February 15, 2022. To learn more about this program and to apply, please visit our Student-Faculty Partnership Program web page. We are also seeking student participants for this program, particularly students from groups that are under-represented in shaping higher education, so if you know of any undergraduate students whom you would like to recommend, please contact Virginia Pitts.

How’s your SoTL? Aspirations, Challenges, and Plans for the Next Steps

Please come meet Dr. Kayoung Kim, OTL’s Director of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and Faculty Learning Communities, and join us as we gather to discuss our journeys in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). Come find and meet your partners in SoTL as we review some of the challenges and brainstorm ways to continue our scholarly work.

Thursday, February 17, 12:00 p.m. - 12:45 p.m.


Register for our upcoming SoTL talk session to participate!

What is Kurzweil3000 Software?

Kurzweil3000 is a comprehensive reading, writing, and learning software solution for anyone who needs support getting through large readings, has a learning disability, or enjoys audio format!

Kurzweil3000 users can:

  • Simultaneously listen to and read scanned text, image text (such as PDF files), digital files and Internet pages while visually track words and phrases on screen as they are read aloud.
  • Support strategies for note taking, organization, editing.
  • Create MP3 audio files for use with iPods, iPhones and iPads.
  • Hear their own writing read aloud to them.
  • Take advantage of the language learning supports such as multiple English and bilingual dictionaries, Google® Translate and voice note tool.
  • Improve study skills by using the research and writing functionalities such as sticky notes, extraction of outlines and column notes, auditory spell check and word prediction.
  • Support students with text to speech or AFT accommodations.

Kurzweil3000 is available via Desktop, Online, or through the Read the Web Plug In. Students, staff, and faculty can request the use of Kurzweil3000. If you are interested in learning more about incorporating Kurzweil3000 in your course, please reach out to Ellen Hogan, OTL’s Accessibility Technologist, at [email protected] or schedule an appointment! Check out Kurzweil3000.com to learn more!

Upcoming OTL Events

Canvas Coaching: Mid-Quarter Feedback

Tuesday, February 8, 11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.


Heart of Higher Education

Wednesday, February 16, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Hyflex - join us online or in person at Anderson Academic Commons 345

Check the OTL Events Calendar for more information and to discover other upcoming events!

Respondus LockDown Browser Update

An update to the LockDown Browser client for Windows has been released: version This update fixes an issue related to a recent Microsoft Windows update.

Existing installs of LockDown Browser will NOT be auto-updated at this time. To obtain the latest version ( use the "Check for Update" feature or run the full installation program.

For more information, visit our Respondus LockDown Browser Knowledge Base article. Respondus is hosting several training webinars throughout the next month.

Teaching Resources

Teaching Tool Kit

This tool kit provides practical steps for readying your courses, no matter the modality. From Canvas basics to hyflex considerations, and complete with worksheets to guide you, this toolkit is a great starting point for course planning.

Creating Instructional Videos

This Knowledge Base article provides helpful tips and tricks you can use as you create pre-recorded videos, lectures, and demonstrations to enhance the asynchronous components of your course. You can also learn more about the various tools you can use to create your videos, such as Zoom and Kaltura.