Blog Archive

DU Portfolio community members Cristin Espinoza and Andi Schlut have been recognized with the Distinguished Public Good Scholar award in recognition of outstanding critical reflection on community-engaged experiences that contribute to the public good. Their excellent portfolios had much to do with this award. We extend congratulations to Cristin and Andi on their achievements!


From Pathways to the Public Good:

A DU education offers students community-engaged opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to the public good across their professional and civic lives. Students work in mutually beneficial and reciprocal partnerships with communities both in and out of the classroom. From community-engaged FSEMs and capstone projects to multi-year civic, diversity, and leadership development programs, community-engaged opportunities span the undergraduate experience. This Pathways to the Public Good Project provided a way for students to receive mentorship from faculty to reflect on community-engaged experiences, make meaning of the sum of their work, and integrate their learning. Students had the opportunity to reflect on their public identities and potential to contribute to the public good.

Students participating in the project registered for a one credit independent study (SS 3890 – Public Good Pathways). The culminating product of the independent study was the development of an ePortfolio. The purpose of the ePortfolio was to serve as a demonstration of the integration of students’ learning across their DU experiences, especially as they related to their contributions to the public good and their development of a public good identity.

All students participating in the project were recognized as Public Good Scholars at the annual Pioneer Awards Ceremony. The top three students were honored as Distinguished Public Good Scholars.


The OTL has updated our media playback modules within CourseMedia as of April the 4th, 2017.


Revised and updated tools include the Audio and Video playback components… and a complete revision of the video clip editor. All of these updated modules are available via Canvas and CourseMedia itself and include the following improvements:

  • JWPlayer core updated to version 7.10
  • All playback defaults to using Flash Player for improved media delivery (with fallback to native browser)
  • All 3 modules rewritten from basic HTML/CSS/JS and Angular2 to Vue.js 2
  • Video Playback now only shows the expanse of the clip constraints and not the full video duration
  • General improvements to Audio Playback module
  • Video Clip Editor completely rewritten to be much more visually usable
  • Video Clip Editor includes captions and subtitles for video titles (when available)
  • General tweaks and fixes

Here is a quick overview video from a Canvas perspective:

The Office of Teaching and Learning has released a major update to the DU Portfolio system early this morning. Long time users of DU Portfolio will see some significant additions and enhancements as even more customization options are now available. We’ve also spent considerable time on both visual and procedural refinements.


So what’s new?

  • The ability to place Page navigation along the top or side of your portfolio.
  • The ability to hide your portfolio banner.
  • The ability to apply a custom color to Item titles.
  • The ability to specify descriptive alternate text for image accessibility purposes.
  • The ability to copy single items.
  • The ability to copy entire Pages and Categories including all items within.
  • Folders and Albums now appear as a separate view and not within a modal overlay.
  • Folders and Albums are now link-able.
  • Department Template Pages can now include custom security groups.
  • Departments can run basic reports on their Template Page usage.
  • Clarification of policy, rights, and usage language in various places.
  • Revisions to Help / About views.
  • Many improvements to speed up data and file retrieval.
  • An update of all front-end functional and display libraries.
  • Removal of support for Internet Explorer 10 and under. We recommend the latest Chrome, Firefox, or Edge browsers.
  • Miscellaneous other bug fixes and enhancements.

The Office of Teaching and Learning was pleased to host the first Teaching and Learning Week at the beginning of the Spring quarter. During the week, DU faculty and staff members were engaged in over 20 different workshops and roundtable discussions on a variety of topics, hosted by different departments and support units across DU.

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Many of the workshop materials and follow-up resources are now linked from the program schedule page on our website next the appropriate session.

In addition, video-recordings from the talks given by our special guest James Lang are available online:

Although there were many good ideas shared during the week, comments in our feedback survey indicate that many participants appreciated James Lang’s concept of “small teaching” – the idea that even small changes can make immediate and important impact in your teaching practice. Here are a few comments sharing what some faculty members have already implemented:

“I have already implemented two things I learned from the final keynote lunch. I have used the association exercise and also the method of asking students to speculate before giving them answers.”

“I’m thinking about improving learning in my course through the little changes I do to circle back through material or ask pre-quiz questions.”

“Enhance my minute papers based on research of increased learning from open questions about content. More time for faculty/student and student/student connection based on that research.”

“Loved the final presentation with the small changes ideas where you don’t have to implement something big to make a difference.”


If you participated in a session during Teaching and Learning Week and have not yet had a chance to do so, please take a moment to share your feedback with us.

We want to thank everyone who took some time this week to share their ideas, network with others, and learn something new!


Mark your calendars for James Lang’s sessions during Thursday and Friday of Teaching & Learning Week. James is a professor of English and the Director of the Center for Teaching professor of English at Assumption College in Worcester, MA. He is also an author and columnist for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Thursday, April 2, 2015 –  1:30 – 3:30 pm
Workshop: Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic DishonestyPhoto of James Lang
Ruffatto Hall Commons Room (104/105)

Abstract: When students engage in academically dishonest behaviors, they may be responding to subtle pressures in the learning environment that interfere with deep learning and nudge them toward cheating. Hence if we can gain a better understanding of the reasons for academically dishonest behavior, we can use that knowledge to improve our course design, teaching practices, and communication with students.  This workshop will review current statistics on cheating in higher education, consider the role of the learning environment in influencing academic integrity, and discuss practical suggestions for how to design and teach courses that foster intrinsic motivation, facilitate mastery learning, and create a growth mindset in students. Reception immediately following the workshop.

Friday, April 3, 2015 – 9:00-11:00 am
Workshop: Becoming a ‘Quick Starter’: Challenges and Opportunities for New Faculty
Anderson Academic Commons Main Event Room (290)

This workshop will begin by communicating the findings of a large-scale research project that studied faculty who were “quick starters” on the job, and identified what work habits enabled them to begin their careers so effectively.  Faculty will then be asked to identify and articulate the primary challenges they are facing in their careers, and we will work together to brainstorm and analyze potential solutions.  The session will conclude an overview of resources that new and early-career faculty can use to maintain a successful career.

Friday, April 3, 2015 – 11:30 – 1:00 pm
Lunch Keynote: Small Teaching: From Minor Changes to Major Learning
Anderson Academic Commons Main Event Room (290)

Ongoing calls to revolutionize and revitalize higher education need balancing with the everyday work that many faculty do in educating their students in traditional classroom spaces or online environments.  A small number of key principles from the learning sciences seem to have the power to make a substantial impact on student learning in almost any type of course, from traditional lectures to flipped classrooms.  This lecture will introduce some of those principles, drawing from recent publications in the learning sciences, and focus especially on how to use three key moments of the class period or online learning session–the opening, closing, and midway marks–to provide powerful learning experiences for students of all levels.

This Fall the OTL will offer a series of “Lunch and Learn” sessions on various topics related to teaching and learning. Bring your lunch and your curiosity and join us for one or all of the sessions!

Methods for Encouraging Self-directed Learning: Assignment Wrappers

Facilitated by: Bridget Arend
Wednesday, October 8, 12:00-1:00 pm
OTL Conference Room (AAC Rm 345)
“Wrappers” are short handouts or surveys that students complete along with an assignment or exam. The wrapper focuses on the learning process rather than on the content itself. In this session we will look at a number of assignment wrapper examples and discuss methods for using them effectively. If you’ve already used wrappers in your course, please contact before the session.

Register here

How Research on Learning Can Inform Our Teaching

Facilitated by: Virginia Pitts
Wednesday, October 15, 12:00-1:00 pm
OTL Conference Room (AAC Rm 345)
In this interactive workshop, we’ll discuss some key research-based perspectives on how people learn that can be used as “tools to think with” when it comes to designing and facilitating learning experiences for our students.  An initial 20-minute presentation on these research-based perspectives will be followed by an opportunity for faculty to discuss how these perspectives might apply to their own work with students.

Register here

Using Canvas for Assessment

Facilitated by: Rob Flaherty & Ryan Shiba
Tuesday, October 21, 12:00-1:00 pm
OTL Conference Room (AAC Rm 345)
This workshop/roundtable event explores the tools available in the Canvas system for building program assessment into the evaluation of course assignments.  Learn how outcomes can be designated and then aggregated at the program level as part of your assessment plan.  An initial overview will be followed by a Q&A discussion that can focus on the needs of individual programs.  This initial conversation will help the Office of Teaching and Learning identify current and future needs for assistance in this area.

Register here

Assessment as Scholarship

Facilitated by: Rob Flaherty
Wednesday, October 29 12:00-1:00 pm
OTL Conference Room (AAC Rm 345)
Description:   Serious assessment projects can provide opportunities to present or publish the findings.  Come and talk about ways to translate your work in assessment into additions to your vita.  Topics may include:  Working with the IRB, where to publish or present, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Register here


The Office of Teaching and Learning and the University Libraries Classroom Technology Services Department collaborated with the University Architect’s Office and the University Project Management Team to reconstruct Sturm 133 and 134 into one large classroom with amazing features that facilitate active learning, complete with movable furniture, multiple LCD flat panel displays and whiteboards, and power sources for laptops and other mobile technology. Classes with larger enrollments (i.e., 45- to 80-students) that involve a significant amount of active, hands-on group work will benefit from this fabulous learning environment.

Sturm 134 Classroom

Sturm 134

Some of the highlights include:

  • 80 New Rolling Chairs
  • 40 New Tables
  • Power to all Seats
  • 1 – 90″ LCD Flat Panel
  • 2 – 80″ LCD Flat Panels
  • New Teaching Station with Touch Panel Capability
  • Audio Amplification System
  • Upgraded Wireless Network
  • Blackout Shades for Windows
  • New Carpet
  • Mobile and Wall Mounted Whiteboards
  • Revised Lighting

If you wish to use the new classroom, request Strum 134 when you are scheduling your classes, or have your departmental representative email your room request to the Scheduling Coordinator in the Office of the Registrar.

If you would like a one-on-one tutorial on how to use the technology in Sturm 134, contact Classroom Technology and Library Systems support at 303-871-3595, or schedule an appointment online at

As always, if you are interested in figuring out ways to incorporate more active, collaborative learning into your courses, please don’t hesitate to contact the Office of Teaching and Learning (303-871-2084), or email Virginia Pitts ( or Bridget Arend (

softwareAs faculty members, you may want to include multimedia (video, audio or graphics) materials in your courses. However, you may not be comfortable creating and editing such materials. Thankfully, the new Digital Media Center located on the main floor of the Anderson Academic Commons can help. These digital ninjas can work with you and your students to create media content for your classes and class related assignments.

To learn more, visit:

Looking for existing multimedia content?

Don’t forget DU CourseMedia™, a web-based tool for organizing and delivering high quality images, audio recordings and video clips. All DU instructors have access to DU CourseMedia’s™ extensive multimedia repository that includes over 10,000 videos, 60,000 images and 3,000 audio works. New search capabilities make it even easier to find content related to your subject area.

Sample class activities using multimedia:

  • Digital Storytelling
  • Lab Demos
  • Speech Presentations
  • Moot  Court
  • Interview Skill Assessment
  • Software Demonstrations
  • Role Playing
  • Language Exercise Skits



IMG_3694A presentation by the OTL’s Virginia Pitts won Best-in-Track for the Teaching & Learning Effectiveness focus at the Online Learning Consortium (formerly Sloan-C) Blended Learning Conference this summer. The session focused on the first year’s work in the Hybrid Learning Project, an initiative sponsored by the Provost’s Renew DU process.

Her paper, Asking the Right Questions: A Tool for Examining Student Motivation and Engagement in Hybrid Courses, presented the design of a theoretical framework and survey instrument for examining the nature of student motivation and engagement in hybrid courses. This work fills a gap in our current understanding of hybrid courses by beginning to explore questions such as “How does the nature of student engagement vary between between hybrid and non-hybrid courses?” and “What are the differences in, and influences on, student motivation and engagement within hybrid courses?”

To learn more, check out this short interview in which Virginia shares more about the presentation.  Or, you can view Virginia’s full presentation at the OLC Website (you will need to create a free login to view the video, or contact Virginia Pitts directly if you have trouble accessing it).

Presentations by DU Faculty

In addition, faculty members from DU took advantage of the location of this national conference to attend and present their own work. DU presentations included:

Factors That Contribute to Students Selecting Blended Over Traditional Course Options
Elizabeth Anderson and Scott Toney, Daniels College of Business

Using Mindfulness and Top Hat to Focus Group Problem Solving
Kellie Keeling, Daniels College of Business

Harnessing the CoI Framework to Increase Student Engagement, Trust, and Critical Thinking
Carol Johnson, Daniels College of Business

How to Strategically Choose and Integrate Course Discussion Mediums
Bridget Arend and Kim Hosler, Office of Teaching and Learning

Online Learning Consortium (OLC) Membership

DU has an institutional membership with the Online Learning Consortium, which means all DU faculty members have access to membership benefits.  The membership gives you access to an extensive set of resources for professional development and institutional advancement of online learning, including original research, leading-edge instruction, best-practice publications, and free webinars, as well as member pricing for all OLC conferences and workshops (including Blended Learning Conference and The International Conference on Online Learning).  For more information, or to create a free account associated with DU, you can go to the Online Learning Consortium website (


On June 30, the first of four candidates for the Associate Provost for Advancement of Teaching and Learning will be on campus interviewing for the position that will oversee the Office of Teaching and Learning. The visits will conclude the second week in July. You are encouraged to participate in the review of candidates by attending their presentations which are open to the University community.

Please visit the DU Portfolio ( site to view materials about each candidate. You must log in to DU Portfolio using your webCentral credentials to view the full Associate Provost for Advancement of Teaching and Learning search site. Each candidate will present for 30 minutes on “Contemporary Issues in Higher Education and the Influence on Private Institutions” followed by a 30 minute Q&A session.  The presentations will be held at the Anderson Academic Commons Special Events Room, room 290, on the main floor on:

Monday, June 30, 10-11 a.m.
Tuesday, July 1, 10-11 a.m.
Monday, July 7, 10-11 a.m.
Tuesday, July 15, 10-11 a.m.


During the interview process, we invite everyone who participates in the on-campus interviews or attends the presentations to complete an online feedback survey, which will be available on the DU Portfolio site.

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