The Faculty Showcase Series is designed to share best practice in teaching among the DU faculty. Each showcase will feature innovative and effective teaching methods and concrete examples here at DU, while also providing a forum for the presenters to gain feedback on challenging and/or new practices.

Each session is an informal hour-long brown bag lunch session held in the OTL Conference Room (Anderson Academic Commons 345). Bring your lunch, the OTL will provide dessert!

Contact the OTL if you have suggestions for a faculty showcase.

Spring 2019 Faculty Showcases

April 24, 2019 | 11:30-1:00 | OTL Conference Room (AAC 345)
How Does a Country Recover from Genocide? Lessons in Experiential Learning in Rwanda
Nancy Wadsworth, Political Science

This faculty showcase is based on Prof. Nancy Wadsworth’s 2018 Winter Interterm Advanced Seminar in Rwanda, “Rwanda in the Wake of Genocide: Stretching to Understand the Unfathomable.” We will explore some of the opportunities, challenges, and lessons learned from immersing ourselves in Rwanda’s history, visiting many of the nation’s memorials to the genocide, meeting with organizations working toward reconciliation and healing, spending more time together than we do in a standard classroom, and hearing from Rwandans at this optimistic moment in the country’s life. With participation from some students from the class, we will think about what shifts when we move from the textbook to the sidewalk, when we are challenged to square official stories with the messages-in-between-the-lines of real people’s accounts of what’s happening, and when we encounter the reverberations of traumas bigger than most of us can comprehend, for many days in a row, and far outside our comfort zones.

May 9, 2019 | 12:00-1:00 | OTL Conference Room (AAC 345)
Student-Created Podcasts: Multimodal Composition and Collaborative Learning
Sara Chatfield, Political Science

Team-based, student-created podcasts can provide a more creative outlet for students to communicate their research. In this showcase, Sara Chatfield will discuss an ASEM-based podcast project in which teams of students listened to existing podcasts, developed topics, analyzed primary and secondary sources, and recorded and edited short podcast episodes. Students presented their research in both written and audio formats, and were forced to speak to an audience beyond the professor.

The podcast format invited students to consider how they might communicate academic research to a non-expert audience in an entertaining and engaging way. Building strong teams that collaborated throughout the quarter had various benefits, including building teamwork skills and allowing students to have support for the more technical aspects of podcast creation.

Attendees will walk away with several examples from Sara’s course including her podcast grading rubric, podcast assignment, peer review handout, and technical details.

Winter 2019 Faculty Showcases

January 24, 2019 | 1:00-2:00 PM | The Loft (Anderson Academic Commons 340)
Transformational Teaching and Learning: Turning Ordinary Classrooms into the Extraordinary
Bruce Uhrmacher, Morgridge College of Education
Paula Adamo, Department of Languages and Literatures

Based on John Dewey’s ideas on aesthetics as well as our own empirical research, we suggest that classroom teaching can be enhanced to turn ordinary classroom experiences into extraordinary ones. Instructors do not need to completely revolutionize their teaching. Lectures, as well as experiential learning activities, can be taught in notable ways in any classroom. In this faculty showcase, we share what can be done to amplify and transform classroom teaching.

2018 Faculty Showcases

October 3, 2018 | 12:00-1:00 PM
Alternative Assessment: Thinking Outside the Blue Book
Daniel Melleno, Department of History

The final exam can be a source of dread for students and faculty alike.  As much as students don’t look forward to writing them, what professor genuinely looks forward to reading 30+ blue book essays or grading a ream of traditional exams? After a truly uninspiring round of essays in 2016, Daniel Melleno of the History Department began questioning exactly what he wanted his non-major students to get out of his AI-Society course “Monks, Missionaries, and Monsters: Medieval Travelers.”

Deciding to take a chance, he chucked the essay entirely and instead designed a creative project aimed at engaging students’ interest, testing their critical reading and creative thinking skills, and freeing the class (students and teacher alike) from the tyranny of the blue book.  In this faculty showcase, Daniel will discuss how he went about creating an alternative means of assessment, some of the challenges of ditching the traditional final, and the rewards that can be had by making radical changes.

May 24, 2018 | 12:00-1:00 PM
Applied Social Entrepreneurship in the Classroom
Keith Gehring, Josef Korbel School of International Studies

While social entrepreneurship has become increasingly popular, incorporating actual practices in established curriculum can be challenging. At the Korbel School of International Studies, Keith Gehring teaches many aspects of international development but recognized a need to incorporate applied social entrepreneurship in the classroom. In this faculty showcase, Keith illustrates how he restructured an existing course to include the approaches, skills, and training required by development organizations engaged in social entrepreneurship.

February 28, 2018 | 12:00 PM-1:00 PM
Addressing Equity and Social Justice in FSEM courses
Allegra Reiber, Department of Mathematics

How do we address existing and historical iniquity in “objective” academic fields like Mathematics? In this faculty showcase, Allegra Reiber will share a group activity from her Mathematics through Fiction FSEM aimed at doing just that through critical reading of a short story about a mathematically talented student of color. We will talk about the students’ experience and responses, and how privileged and non-privileged socially constructed identifiers (age, gender, race/ethnicity, religious beliefs, social class) impact what individuals experience and think about mathematics and schooling. Together, we will consider how stories and other activities lead to important discussions of inclusivity in the classroom.

February 1, 2018 | 12:00 PM-1:00 PM
Teaching Programming Language in Undergraduate Data Analytics Courses
Karen Xie, Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management at the Daniels College of Business

Programming language is important in the information age because it defines the grammar that allows the data analysts to effectively communicate with the machines that they program. In this ONT faculty showcase, Karen Xie will discuss how teaching one programming language is transforming student learning in her hospitality technologies and analytics course. Python is a trendy and powerful programming language for business data analytics, but it may seem difficult to non-computing majored students. Karen will discuss some useful tactics in helping beginners pick up basic Python such as data types, functions, and files for improved effectiveness of data analytics. The session is open for all, with faculty and graduate students who are teaching programming languages most welcome. The format of the session will be a mix of presentation and round-table discussion for ideas/thoughts exchange.

January 23, 2018 | 12:00 PM-1:00 PM
Community-Engaged Learning
Dan Singer, University Writing Program

In this faculty showcase, Professor Daniel Singer from DU’s University Writing Program will share his experiences integrating new experiential learning and service-learning projects into existing courses. He will also discuss ongoing research about community-engaged writing across disciplines. Participants will learn about available resources to support community-engaged learning in their classes and discuss best practices for developing community-engaged projects and partnerships that effectively and ethically support student learning in and across faculty members’ individual areas of expertise.

Fall 2017 Faculty Showcases

October 25, 2017 | 12:00 PM-1:00 PM
Experiential Learning in the Classroom
Julie Anne Laser-Maira, GSSW

Experiential learning is a high-impact educational practice through which learners construct knowledge, skill, & value from direct experience. In this faculty showcase, Julie Anne Laser-Maira from the Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW), will share how she integrates experiential learning into her classroom. Julie will explain how and why she uses this approach and provide examples of learning activities that require students to take an active, hands-on approach to learning new content.

October 4, 2017 | 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Transformational Teaching and Learning: Turning Ordinary Classrooms into the Extraordinary
Bruce Uhrmacher, Morgridge College of Education
Paula Adamo,
Department of Languages and Literatures

Based on John Dewey’s ideas on aesthetics as well as our own empirical research, we suggest that classroom teaching can be enhanced to turn ordinary classroom experiences into extraordinary ones. Instructors do not need to completely revolutionize their teaching; lectures as well as experiential learning activities can be taught in notable ways in any classroom. In this showcase, we share what can be done to amplify and transform classroom teaching.

Winter and Spring 2017 Faculty Showcases

April 5, 2017 | 12:00 PM- 1:00 PM
Mindful Moments in the Classroom: Creating Space for Awareness and Reflection
Kara Traikoff, Department of Languages and Literatures
Certified Yoga and Mindful Meditation Instructor

This faculty showcase, featuring Kara Traikoff from the Dept of Languages and Literatures, will explore the use of mindfulness activities in the classroom. Opening with an introduction to mindfulness practices, the session will then discuss the benefits of incorporating these practices into any higher education course, and present experiential examples of how to do so. The practices are meant as a supplement to enhance and deepen student learning, connection, and retention through a focus on present moment awareness.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 | 12:00 PM- 1:00 PM
Teaching for Transfer: Shifting from What to How
Kara Taczak, Denver Writing Program
Co-author of Writing Across Contexts

Writing, as a high-impact practice, supports student success as students writes (s/b write?) both in and out of school in various contexts and for various audiences. To help prepare students to effectively respond to these different writing situations, they need to have a vocabulary by which they understand what the writing situation is asking of them so that they know how to frame (and reframe) their response. The Teaching for Transfer (TFT) model helps students understand which knowledge to reference and which practices to employ in every writing situation. Teaching for Transfer, an innovative writing curriculum designed specifically to support students’ transfer of writing knowledge and practice into multiple sites of writing, relies on three interlocking components: key terms; systematic reflection; and students’ development of a Theory of Writing they use to frame new writing tasks. This presentation will discuss research findings supporting the TFT model and outline its pedagogical approach, including various adaptations for different academic writing contexts.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 | 12:00 PM- 1:00 PM
Experiential Learning and Public Speaking: Using a TED Type Talk to Teach Public Speaking
Ann Vessels, Sturm College of Law

Ann Vessels teaches the Semester in Practice Seminar at the Sturm College of Law, a seminar that focuses on professional identity and public speaking for students who are working full time in the field. Public speaking is critical for all lawyers (and for students entering just about any field), and after many years of trying out various methods, Ann has found TED type talks to be a very successful means of teaching public speaking and bringing out the learning of students’ experiences. In this Faculty Showcase, Ann will share how she prepares students for the TED type talk, the assignment, and how the talks live on after the class through videos students use when interviewing.

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017 | 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Clickers in Large Classes: Dynamic Learning and Live Assessment
Erika Trigoso Rubio, Department of Geography

Peer instruction devices (clickers) are a great tool to engage large classrooms providing live feedback on the understanding of discussed topics. This faculty showcase will focus on the use of clicker devices as a way of immediate assessment that allows the instructor to identify the concepts that are clear to the students right after explaining those as well and also detecting more challenging concepts and ideas that may need more attention. This showcase presents the results of a classroom project recipient of a One New Thing grant from the Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL). The project involved the improvement of clicker questions (Turning Technologies) for both Global Environmental Change and E-Systems classes. These are large core curriculum classes. The showcase will focus on the transition between static and descriptive clicker questions to more dynamic and active inquiries that help engage a large number of students.


Fall 2016 Faculty Showcase Schedule

Thursday, November 10, 2016 | 1:00pm-2:00pm
Incorporating Tableau in the Business Forecasting and Visualization Curriculum
Karen Xie, Knoebel School of Hospitality Management & Daniels College of Business

Tableau is a trendy and powerful software tool for business forecasting and visualization.  In this showcase, Karen Xie, will discuss how Tableau is transforming the way students learn visualization and forecasting in her data analytics courses.  She will share lecture materials that help students quickly pick up forecasting and visualization concepts and solve business problems using Tableau. Karen will also discuss her well-received data analytics course projects of using Tableau and other tools such as STATA and Excel to tell stories with business data and to conduct purposeful analytics presentations.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 | 12:00pm-1:00 pm
Transformational Teaching and Learning: Turning Ordinary Classrooms into the Extraordinary
Bruce Uhrmacher, Morgridge College of Education
Paula Adamo, 
Department of Languages and Literatures

Based on John Dewey’s ideas on aesthetics as well as our own empirical research, we suggest that classroom teaching can be enhanced to turn ordinary classroom experiences into extraordinary ones. Instructors do not need to completely revolutionize their teaching; lectures as well as experiential learning activities can be taught in notable ways in any classroom. In this showcase, we share what can be done to amplify and transform classroom teaching.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 | 12:00pm-1:00 pm
Learn and Help Learn: Cooperative Peer Learning Opportunities in the Classroom
Nancy Sasaki, Department of Biological Sciences

The use of peer instruction is at the heart of learning in both testing and quizzing in Nancy’s non-major’s biology course where argumentation is used to help students’ clarify their learning and understanding of class concepts. In this showcase, Nancy will explain why she uses group exams and cheat quizzes and asks her students to “cheat” off their friends to receive full credit.

Winter and Spring 2016 Faculty Showcases

Thursday, May 19, 2016 | 12:30-1:30 pm
Student-Centered Active Learning Methodologies in a Large Lecture Course
Robin Tinghitella and Shannon Murphy, Department of Biological Sciences

Student-centered active learning activities teach through narratives and hands-on manipulation of data, rather than lectures.  In collaboration with several graduate students, we developed 5 active-learning modules (case studies) for General Ecology, which is a large lecture course required of all Biology majors. In this faculty showcase, Shannon and Robin will discuss what worked, what didn’t and how we plan to proceed in the future. The instructors received a “One New Thing” mini grant to pilot their case studies in their Autumn 2015 course.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 | 12:00-1:00 pm
Team-Based Learning
Matt Gordon, Engineering

Team-Based Learning (TBL) has been shown to be an effective strategy to engage students and improve learning. TBL includes both accountability for individuals and the benefits of working in a team. A sample lecture, using TBL, will be given to demonstrate how it works allowing individual instructors to decide if TBL is right for them.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016 | 12:00-1:00 pm
Putting Learning in the Hands of the Learner
Robin Carey, Morgridge College of Education

How can instructors help students personalize course outcomes to make them most applicable to their individual settings and roles?How can we design courses using a personalized learning/constructivist approach that keeps the learner at the center of their learning?This faculty showcase highlights how one instructor used personal goal setting as the impetus for learner engagement, retention, and efficacy in applying course content beyond the final date of class.  Specific examples of initial goal setting, reflections, and revisions will be shared.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 | 12:00-1:00 pm
Classrooms as Sacred Space for Learning
Paul Michalec, Morgridge College of Education

The faculty showcase highlights the use of deep practices in teaching to foster a sense of the classroom as sacred space for learning about self, others and content.  This interactive session will explore types of curriculum, ways to establish norms and specific teaching techniques that build and sustain a classroom where learners are called into deeper relationship with self and content knowledge.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 | 12:00-1:00 pm
Making Student Practices Visible
Juli Parrish and Sarah Hart Micke, Writing Program
Hannah Adams Ingram, Religious Studies

This faculty showcase highlights our use of a workplace app in a graduate-level writing center course. In part to bridge the gap between theory and practice, students used Slack to build a collaborative database of writing and tutoring strategies and reflections. Sharing their own best practices in this way allowed students to share their growing expertise and learn from one another. The instructors received a “OneNewThing” mini grant to pilot this collaborative technology in their Winter 2015 course.

More Past Showcases

Cultivating Community in Online Classes
Jae McQueen and Stephanie Begun, Graduate School of Social Work

This faculty showcase highlights strategies utilized to build a learning community in an asynchronous online course. The showcase will highlight a masters-level social welfare policy course adaption from classroom-based to fully-online, asynchronous delivery, including strategies that contributed to the conversion’s success and opportunities for continuous improvement. The showcase will be based on the presenters’ Interactive Poster at the 2015 Council on Social Work Education conference in Denver.

Enhancing Intercultural Communication Skills through Negotiations
Phoenix Cai, Sturm College of Law

This faculty showcase highlights the opportunities to reflect and build upon intercultural competency skills in a cross-border business negotiations setting.  Students from diverse cultural backgrounds can improve their verbal (negotiation) and writing (legal drafting) skills by mindfully analyzing their communications.

Active Learning Strategies for Large Classes
Julie Morris, Department of Biology

Education research has clearly demonstrated that active learning approaches can have significant advantages over traditional 60-90 minute lectures. This showcase will discuss the challenges related to implementing these activities in large classes, and will share several strategies and tools.

Engaging Students through a “Flipped” Classroom
Deborah Mitchell, Department of Chemistry

Flipping a classroom allows instructors to free up in person time for active learning strategies. This is especially helpful in courses where there is a large problem solving component. A partial and fully flipped classroom may allow instructors to coach students through the problem solving process.

Contact the OTL if you have suggestions for a faculty showcase.