Blog Archive

University College’s (UCOL) Michelle Kruse-Crocker applied for a One New Thing mini grant to review the articles and textbooks for their two main research courses. Staff and instructors worked together to update the readings to reflect more diversity and inclusion. This blog post summarizes the process and outcomes of the project.

1. What were you trying to change or solve?
The two main University College research courses -4905 and 4910- contain a variety of articles and textbooks used to deliver information about types of research and social science methods exploration. The Research Practices and Applications course was taught using an outdated text that contained some publisher constraints. In addition, prior student evaluation feedback indicated and that text did not contain a diversity or inclusivity focus. Allison O’Grady, University College Senior Instructional Support Specialist, collected course evaluations from 16 sections of the research courses that allowed for a view of the quantitative and qualitative data about teaching materials and readings to help inform our discussions about new material choices. Results indicated that students were not completely displeased with the current readings, but no mention of diversity or inclusion appeared as a highlight or important factor related to the readings, although that is a goal within our unit. Therefore, we were at a crossroads of needing a new text and seeking an opportunity to select new course materials from a more inclusive and diversity-focused lens.

The goal: Determine feasibility for faculty and the program director to make changes to the reading materials for University College’s two main research courses that enrich the students’ exposure to diversity of thought, various population samples, and authors’ backgrounds.

The following were the operational definitions paraphrased from the Association of American Colleges & Universities, which helped to focus the reading group.

  • Diversity – Individual differences and group/social differences.
  • Inclusion – The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathetic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions (AAC&U, 2017).

2. What did you do?

Articles were selected by our group (all readers are Master Teachers at University College). Each article was selected for one or more of the following items: the author’s diversity, the sample diversity, or the diversity of the professional fields represented that reflect those that our students are engaged with studying while at University College. All articles were read by the group and examined through a Diversity and Inclusion in Course Readings Rubric, developed for Research Practices and Applications (4910) by Valentina Iturbe-LaGrave, Assistant Director for Inclusive Teaching Practices at the OTL. The rubric served as an inquiry tool for categorization of the authors or reading by the following criteria: Race, Gender Social Class, and Sexual Orientation. Our UCOL program assistant, Genna Madic, conducted research about each article’s authors to determine what form of diversity they represent in terms of demographics and divergent thought. We created a chart to track different aspects that contribute to author’s diversity – knowing these were surface level based assumptions to some degree. All readers were provided with the readings’ authors’ information. A determination of whether a reading or course material content met the rubric criteria led to the addition or subtraction of the reading from our reserve of potential course materials. This process was challenging and led to much discussion about meaning and intent of the project and if the readings aligned with the overall course outcomes. However, we did decide that the readings chosen can easily be incorporated into curricula because they included research conduct, the role of IRB and ethical boards, and how to recognize and evaluate ethical situations in practice as they relate to author diversity, sample diversity or inclusion, and diversity of thought.

3. How did it go, and what did you learn?
In the end, new readings were found and selected to add to the research courses to help foster a variety of ideas and inputs for students to gain exposure to diversity of thought, various population samples, and authors’ backgrounds. However, the difficulty for all readers was the application of the rubric. The readers felt it did not fit our exact purpose nor was it clear to each reader how to interpret different criteria. Based on readers’ feedback and not the rubric, they felt that the end result was a set of articles that truly did “increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathetic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions” (AAC&U, 2017).

When we started this evaluation process, we thought it would take only a matter of two to four weeks. However, it took much longer due to the back and forth discussions about interpretation of rubric language. We did find that when embarking on updating and changing readings for this class or others in University College the issue of diversity and inclusion has now been raised to the fore. This is a worthy exercise to complete for any course.

Help us jumpstart 2017 Teaching and Learning Week by sharing your inspiration for teaching! We invite you to describe what kindles your excitement to teach by visiting the #WhyITeach platform and contributing to this visual collage. As you can see, some of us are inspired to teach because we want to cultivate critical thinking and broaden perspectives. Some of us teach to deepen wonder and awe among our students. And some of us teach to engage in deeper learning ourselves.

My inspiration for teaching is very personal and stems from the work of my life partner, Scott Burke. Over a decade ago, Scott co-created Geometry in Construction, a program where students learn geometry through the progression of building a house––a real home in which people eat, sleep, and live!––for a family in need of affordable housing. One word to describe the pedagogical practices that Scott leads in his classroom every day? Transformative.

Scott transforms the lives of students because of his commitment to recognizing and remaining responsive to the strengths, potential, and unique needs of each individual student. Scott transforms the lives of students because they see the relevance of math in their everyday lives, and for some students, they feel “smart” for the first time in school, a place where people too often experience trauma and hear messages that they are “not enough”. I cannot count the number of times I have heard alumni share stories about how Scott helped them recognize the brilliance in themselves, or how they saw themselves as college graduates, engineers, construction managers, and community leaders because Scott believed in them.

These stories illustrate my inspiration for teaching because while I do not ever aim to build a house with teenagers, I do hope that I play some role in transforming the lives of our students by helping them recognize and kindle the brilliant fire within. Although my job title suggests that assessment is my one and only jam (I assure you, it is not), I view assessment as one of many entry points to making the University of Denver the most vibrant space for our students to learn, grow, and thrive. Whether I am teaching students, faculty, or staff, I teach because I hope to inspire other people to see themselves as “history-makers” (Espinoza & Vossoughi, 2014) who have the agency, vision, and expertise to texture our world with more compassion, humanity, and joy.

So that is one of my inspirations for teaching. What is YOUR inspiration for teaching? Visit #WhyITeach and let us know!


by Christina Paguyo

Espinoza, M. L., Vossoughi, S. (2014). Perceiving learning anew: Social interaction, dignity, and educational rights. Harvard Educational Review, 84(3), 285-313.

As you may know, CourseMedia is a course media management system that helps instructors organize and present media materials (images, video and audio). On August 10 2016, a new DU CourseMedia system was rolled out to the DU academic community.

This is the biggest software update to CourseMedia in years and we encourage instructors to become familiar with the new system. Here are the 5 biggest changes to CourseMedia:

  1. Instructors must share their CourseMedia content with their students via Canvas.
  2. Existing CourseMedia galleries are now organized by Groups and Personal galleries.
  3. Some old CourseMedia was removed from the system due to copyright issues. Please verify that all your old CourseMedia content is still working.
  4. CourseMedia can now search and embed Kanopy videos, a DU library video subscription of 26,000+ videos.
  5. CourseMedia content is now iPad friendly.

Additional information on new changes to CourseMedia can be found on our KnowledgeBase.

If you would like further help with Canvas/CourseMedia content, please contact our office for assistance at or at 303-871-2084.

DU CourseMedia has a fresh look and feel.

DU CourseMedia has a fresh look and feel.


When: March 4, 12:00pm – 1:30pm
Where: Ruffato Hall Commons (KRH 106)
Presenter: Aaron Dewald

Blended learning environments combine the best of the face-to-face and online learning spaces to optimize student learning and engagement.  The Modern Learning Committee at the Sturm College of Law and the Office of Teaching and Learning at the University of Denver invite you to attend a combined presentation and hands-on workshop demonstrating how the blended classroom benefits students and professors.

This dynamic presentation and workshop will be led by Aaron Dewald, the Associate Director of the Center of Innovation in Legal Education at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.   He is an expert in and lectures widely on the development and use of blended learning opportunities.  At Utah Law, Aaron conducts research on and assists faculty in innovative curricular enhancements.

Aaron explains, “As more and more professors turn to blended classrooms, we should understand how to use the online medium effectively and understand what it can and cannot do well. Multiple theories about how people learn and comprehend in online learning environments can inform how we create our videos. Our approach has been validated by our successful flipping of the first year Contracts course. We’re leveraging our educational design team to create, an ambitious, open resource for faculty and students to blend, flip, and supplement their first year of law school.”

By attending this workshop you will:

  • Learn about the Cognitive Approach to Blended Learning in Education (CABLE).
  • Understand how professors can apply the intersection of instructional design, learning science, and technology to their videos.
  • Hear about a practical framework for use in designing blended learning videos.
  • Participate in a hands-on workshop in which you’ll implement the skills and framework learned from the presentation.
  • Not be bored.  Aaron is passionate, animated presenter!

Source: DU VideoManager

February 11, 2015 – February 11, 2015

Upper Floor of Anderson Academic Commons

View MapMap and Directions | Register


DU instructors are using more active learning methods in class. In order to make the most out of class time, it is critical that students come to class prepared. However, this is not always the case. In this session, we will discuss common reasons why students do not prepare for class, and explore a number of methods instructors can use to help motivate their students.



You are cordially invited to a reception to acknowledge and celebrate
Dr. Julanna Gilbert’s career at the University of Denver,
as a faculty member in Chemistry and
as Executive Director of the Office of Teaching and Learning,
upon her retirement

 Monday, May 19, 2014
3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in the afternoon
290 Anderson Academic Commons
2150 E. Evans Avenue
*Light refreshments will be served

 For questions about the event, contact



May 12, 2014 – May 12, 2014

View MapMap and Directions | Register


This Student Learning Assessment Workshop is designed to provide support for departments and programs engaged in identifying opportunities to assess student learning at the program level.   Programs at all stages of assessment development are invited to participate.   It is not necessary to have attended any previous assessment workshop.  Those who attended the winter quarter assessment workshop will be able to continue to work on their assessment plans at this workshop.

Participants in this workshop will:

  • Think critically about the relationship between the curriculum and student learning.
  • Identify specific opportunities to assess student learning in their programs.
  • Recognize the impact of assignment design and structure on the quality of student performance and the value of the assignment as an assessment point.
  • Develop initial (draft) designs of assignments aligned with student learning outcomes.
  • Identify (and draft) assessment tools (e.g., rubrics) for use in assessing the assignment.

As always, you are encouraged to participate as a “team” with other colleagues from your program.

 Lunch will be provided.

What to bring:

  1. A copy of the student learning outcomes for your program
  2. Laptops, tablets, or paper & pencil
  3. Examples of current student assignments associated with program assessment


Contact Information:;   Ext: 1-6012
Location: Special Events Room (290) in AAC



Rob Flaherty

Because of the close ties between teaching, learning and assessment, the OTL now includes academic program assessment as part of its responsibilities. The new Director of Academic Assessment, Dr. Rob Flaherty, joined the OTL staff on October 3, 2013.

Rob has a PhD in social psychology, and his background includes 10 years as a faculty member (two as department chair) as well as several years of administrative experience with faculty development and assessment. Find out more about Rob by viewing his portfolio page:

Like all of us in the OTL, Rob is here to help (not just to collect reports). The role of the Director of Academic Assessment is to provide guidance and consultation to all academic programs at the University. For more on the purpose and function of program assessment at DU, please visit the assessment page on the OTL website. Additional resources on assessment are also available on a new assessment portfolio site:

Rob is located just around the corner from the OTL in room 317 in the Anderson Academic Commons. Drop in and say hi (or reach him by email: or phone: 1-6012).

DU faculty members show strong presence at regional teaching with technology conference

Several faculty and staff members from DU attended a one-day conference, Teaching and Learning with Technology, sponsored by the e-Learning Consortium of Colorado (eLCC) and hosted by Metropolitan State University of Denver.

The OTL’s Bridget Arend was the keynote speaker and provided all in attendance with food for thought. Her address focused on being purposeful and thoughtful in how we integrate technology in our teaching and learning practices. Bridget is also the co-author of Facilitating Seven Ways of Learning. In her talk, she urged everyone to reflect on their learning goals, while considering the percentage of time students should spend on particular ways of learning in their courses. Bridget provided attendees with a worksheet to guide this activity.

Additionally, DU was well represented by other faculty who generously gave of their time and offered enlightening and informative sessions. We want to recognize and thank these individuals for their support (in no particular order).

Scott Toney, Daniels College of Business, presented “Flipping the Lecture: A  5-minute Teaching Model”. In this presentation, Scott discussed the benefits and difficulties in implementing short, pre-recorded online lectures as the only instructor-led delivery method for course content within a blended class.

Barb Stuart, Daniels College of Business,  presented “Use Teach-Backs to Increase Engagement in Blended Courses”. Barb’s discussion focused on the pedagogical method of using teach-backs to reinforce critical content learning.  Teach-back is a simple mechanism where the learner restates or re-presents (teaches back) what he or she is supposed to know.  Her session included a rubric for assessing teach-backs.

Susan Sadler, from the department of Biological Sciences, discussed “One Approach to Hybrid Teaching/Learning in a Large Lecture Class.” She presented the strategies and tools she used to develop her hybrid course (first-year biology), as well as student reactions to the course and quantitative measures of its success.

John Kayser and Ryan Garrett, from the Graduate School of Social Work, got everyone laughing with their presentation of social work content using Google Hangouts, Jib-Jab animation techniques, and Powtoons. Their work served to better engage students in social work history and ethics.

Kellie Keeling, Business Information and Analytics, presented on the use of TopHat in hybrid courses.  Top Hat is a web-based clicker mechanism and Kellie discussed her experiences with this new, hardware independent  technology.

Susanne  Sherba, from the department of Computer Science, talked about how she survived her first online course and actually enjoyed it!  She offered her top ten tips for preparing and teaching one’s first online course.

Many thanks again to these individuals for their time and contributions!

Curriculum Hack Flyer FINAL 3

On October 19th from 9am-2:30pm, DU’s Living and Learning Communities are piloting a Curriculum Hack at Katherine Ruffato Hall.  They are looking for undergrad and grad students, DU professors and staff, community experts, and K-12 educators who are passionate and interested in participating.

What is a curriculum hack, you ask?  Combine a hackathon with education and you get a Curriculum Hack: a time and space for educators, students, and experts to collaboratively deconstruct and re-design innovative learning experiences. The outcome will be new models of courses and curriculum.

During this event, we will ponder: What is learning? What should should it look like? How should it be crafted?  The morning will be a design thinking workshop to gather collective ideas.  Afterwards, individuals will solicit themes or content topics, and then mixed teams of students and professionals will form to develop new models of the most popular topics.  Then, it will be “hack” time for teams to create new courses or redesign old ones. Finally, at the end of the event, teams will present the new models as well as post them online to a public website.

This is FREE to attend.  They will provide LUNCH, snacks, and materials. They just need you and your ideas and expertise.


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