New Blogs: Engagement in Synchronous Online Courses and Assessing Without a Finals Week

We continue to explore how best to engage with our students in the OTL Winter Engagement Blog Series. In our latest blog, Engagement and Interactivity in Online Synchronous Learning, Amelia Gentile-Mathew, OTL Instructional Designer, discusses various approaches that you can incorporate into your courses to enhance interactivity during your live online sessions.

You may be considering how to approach your finals this term knowing that we will not have a finals week. Dr. Christina Paguyo, OTL's Director of Academic Assessment, provides ideas and resources in the blog How Can I Assess Without Finals Week?
Teaching Online Short Course: Upcoming Session

Join us for an upcoming session of the Teaching Online Short Course! The Teaching Online Short Course contains readings, assignments, and multimedia to help participants learn how to design and facilitate online courses effectively. The course takes place asynchronously on Canvas so that participants can experience the structure of an online course as a student. All classes, even if there is a face-to-face component, will require a robust online presence. As you prepare your courses for spring term, the resources and tools in this course will help with the creation of that online presence.

You should plan to dedicate about 5 - 7 hours per module (one module per week) to this online course. You can go through the modules at your own pace throughout each week. 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 15th to Monday, March 8th.

Teaching Accountability Groups with OTL Peer Teaching Mentors

We are excited to offer several opportunities throughout this term to work with our OTL Peer Teaching Mentors. Led by Dr. Lina Reznicek-Parrado, Spanish Teaching Assistant Professor and Director of the Spanish Program for Heritage/Bilingual speakers, Peer Mentors can provide personalized, individual support along with Teaching Accountability Groups and drop-in sessions.

Teaching Accountability Groups (TAGs)

Teaching Accountability Groups (TAGs) allow participants to work with the OTL Peer Teaching Mentors to identify a teaching-related project, problem, or challenge on which they would like to make progress. They can meet with their group for support and accountability, and Peer Mentors offer collegial support based on specific teaching-related expertise and experiences. 
TAGs will meet bi-weekly for 9 weeks. Each synchronous session will be 50 minutes via Zoom, and we have limited slots. Sign up to let us know about your interests!

Seeking Participants for Spring 2021 Student-Faculty Partnership Program!

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. 

Participating faculty members will be paired with a student partner for the Spring 2021 quarter. Every week throughout the quarter, students observe their faculty partner's class, and they and their faculty partners meet to discuss their respective observations, insights, and wonderings. Last spring, we conducted this partnership work virtually to great success, and we are excited to share that we will be continuing to offer this virtual format in the coming quarter (though participating faculty members who are teaching on campus may also be able to have their student partner visit their class in-person!). 

We are currently seeking faculty participants who teach undergraduate classes in any format.  The application deadline is Tuesday, February 16, 2021. 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 Dr. Virginia Pitts, OTL's Director of University Teaching.
Upcoming Events

Using Research-Based Perspectives on How Learning Works to Inform Our Teaching
Wednesday, February 3, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

We know a lot about how people learn, based on research in fields such as the cognitive sciences, sociology, anthropology, psychology, and the neurosciences. What's wonderful is that research in these different fields points to many of the same ideas and understandings of how people learn. In this session, Dr. Virginia Pitts will discuss some of these key research-based perspectives on how people learn, and give you the opportunity to reflect upon how these perspectives - such as the notion of learning as a constructive, social process; the importance of motivation to learn; and learning as "situated" in context - might be used as "tools to think with" in designing and facilitating learning experiences for your students.

STEM and High Impact Practices (HIPs)
Tuesday, February 23, 11:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Join Megan Haskins, Faculty Developer of Integrative Learning and HIPs, and Paula von Kretschmann, Instructional Designer, to discuss implementing High Impact Practices in your course. They will provide a brief overview of best practices for HIPs in STEM. Then they will facilitate a conversation to answer questions and discuss individual experiences. Whether you are just learning about HIPs, new to implementation, or interested in hearing from other colleagues, this workshop is for you!
Canvas Coaching Sessions with Lexi Schlosser, OTL Faculty Developer of Online Learning

Moving Discussions Online
Tuesday, February 2, 2:30 - 3:00 p.m.

Join the OTL in a conversation around student engagement with regard to online discussion boards in Canvas. Discussion boards have many uses for online, hyflex and hybrid courses. At this Canvas Coaching session, we will talk through strategies for moving class discussions online. You will learn how to create discussion boards and respond to students with feedback.

How to Create Quizzes/Exams in Canvas
Wednesday, February 10, 11:00 - 11:30 a.m.

With midterms approaching, join the OTL in a Webinar on creating quizzes and exams in Canvas. We will model building a Canvas Quiz and the options available to instructors. This is a great opportunity to open up the conversation between colleagues and hear about what other folks are doing with their online quizzes and exams.

Mid-Quarter Student Surveys
Thursday, February 18, 10:00 - 10:30 a.m.

Congratulations, you have made it halfway through the Winter Quarter! Join the OTL this week for a discussion on collecting feedback from your students to understand and improve your teaching and your students’ learning. Mid-Quarter Student Feedback supports your professional reflective work for improving quality teaching and learning. During this session, we will talk through strategies for collecting feedback online and discuss ways to implement feedback in your course(s) this quarter. Specifically, you will learn how to use Canvas as a tool for collecting feedback.

Using Respondus Lockdown Browser & Monitor
Monday, February 22, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

This session will be co-faciliated by Dr. Mark Pleiss from the Center for World Languages and Cultures and Lexi Schlosser from the Office of Teaching and Learning. We are extending the session to one-hour for the inclusion of a demonstration, lessons learned conversation, and walk through of a case study from the intrsuctors perspective with the Respondus Monitor Software.

Prior to joining this Canvas Coaching session, you are highly encouraged to register for the Instructor Training on Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor.

Visit our OTL events calendar for more Canvas Coaching sessions coming up during the winter term!
Faculty Learning Communities

Teaching and Professional Faculty Tools for Success
Friday, February 5, 9:00 - 10:30 a.m.
Friday, February 19, 9:00 - 10:30 a.m.

Teaching and Professional Faculty Tools for Success is a year-long FLC designed for teaching and professional faculty in the assistant rank at the University of Denver. Led by Dr. Laura Sponsler, Clinical Assistant Professor of Higher Education and the Faculty Scholar for Teaching and Professional Faculty, the FLC will explore areas essential to the success of teaching faculty including community building, effective instruction, wellness, DU culture, promotion, national trends, inclusive excellence, and university resources. The winter sessions are organized around the book Inclusive Collegiality and Nontenure-Track Faculty: Engaging All Faculty as Colleagues to Promote Healthy Departments and Institutions (available online through DU Libraries) and learning important to advancement, promotion, and university culture.

In the spring quarter, we will focus on the scholar/teacher model of excellence. We will form a Scholarship on Teaching and Learning (SOTL) group with the intent of writing about and publishing on our experiences as teaching and professional faculty in higher education.

Heart of Higher Education
Monday, February 8, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 25, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

The Heart of Higher Education (HOHE) is an opportunity to gather as a DU community to share the challenges and opportunities of transcending the institutional, professional and personal choices that tend to separate core identity/integrity from day to day actions. The meetings are open to all faculty (of any rank) and staff (of any title). The Conversations are facilitated by Dr. Paul Michalec, OTL Faculty Teaching Fellow, and Clinical Professor in the Morgridge College of Education. The Heart of Higher Education Conversations create a positive and constructive space where staff and faculty can explore ways of re-connecting calling with professional responsibilities. In Winter 2021, we will explore the theme of connection through the lenses of self (calling), others (colleagues and students), and bigness of life (institution, family, spirit). We will have two sessions each month of this term with the same content. You are welcome to attend one or both sessions, and keep your eye out for future sessions!

Internationalization Faculty Learning Community
Wednesday, February 10, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Co-facilitated by RSECS Associate Dean for Undergraduate studies and Teaching Associate Professor Dr. Breigh Roszelle and Executive Director for Internationalization Dr. Casey Dinger, this collaborative Faculty Learning Community is structured around book chapters. Participants will take turns leading the discussion using key theoretical and applied materials supplied by the facilitators to provide a grounding in the approach and tools to implement.

This FLC is organized around exploring the practice, development, and implementation of a Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL)-based course. This can take numerous forms, but in essence COIL is a type of virtual mobility, where students from DU and a partner institution abroad are given the tools and space to engage in purposeful interaction in a course. Students from both classes may interact synchronously or asynchronously for a few weeks or an entire term through whichever technologies are most relevant and useful. Often students work together on a project, class discussions, or similar group work. COIL is a powerful opportunity to help students engage in cross-cultural learning and global education on DU’s home campus.

Library Support for Teaching

The Libraries have an existing and robust virtual service delivery model with a host of online services and resources. We have been working continuously to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak to provide faculty and other instructors with services and materials for teaching online, hybrid, or hyflex classes.
Reference librarians at the Libraries are happy to work with you to develop student-centered library instruction opportunities specific to your course and assignments. Potential topics include, but are not limited to: using library databases, effective search strategies, evaluating sources, and using information ethically. Librarians will be teaching synchronous library instruction workshops through Zoom for the Winter 2021 quarter and are also able to provide asynchronous learning materials such as video tutorials and online research guides for courses, both of which can be embedded in Canvas. Additional time might be needed to prepare tutorials or research guides, so please contact your librarian to talk about synchronous and asynchronous instruction options. The Libraries also have collections of online books, journals, and streaming videos which can be used for course materials. Please see our Resources for Faculty page for complete information.
Teaching Resources

Build your course in 4 weeks while considering the rhythm of the term with this helpful resources guide.

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.

Visit this OTL web page for helpful links to resources such as Canvas guides and Knowledge Base articles organized by task, as well as a video walking you through setting up your Canvas course. These resources can be helpful no matter how you offer your courses this term.

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.

Visit our Sample Syllabus Statements webpage for optional statements to help you communicate with students your policies around wearing masks in class, social distancing, attendance and participation, and more. Be sure to reach out to your Dean, Chair, or Director with any questions or for clarification around the use of these statements in your syllabus.