Teaching Assistant Professor,
Biological Sciences

Dr. Barbekka (Barb) Hurtt is Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. She earned Bachelor degrees in EPO Biology and Kinesiology and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Dr. Hurtt’s career has included faculty positions in undergraduate biology programs and graduate health professions/medical schools, as well as simulation development and online education development for life sciences disciplines. At DU she has taught a mix of common curriculum (general education) courses with an emphasis on biology of healthy aging, and Biology major courses including Physiological Systems, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Neuroscience of Movement. While at DU she has co-founded the Health Professions Highway program and founded the STEM Mentoring program, both of which provide opportunities for high school and DU college students from historically underrepresented backgrounds interested in health professions careers. Current research interests include biological factors of healthy aging and integration of technology in education.

Describe a change to your general teaching practice as a result of the pandemic that worked well or better than expected.

Broke down exams into smaller, more frequent quizzes which the students indicated they appreciated. I integrated MS Teams into almost all of my classes – this was useful once the students felt comfortable.

Describe a change to classroom activities or assignments that worked well or better than expected.

Across multiple courses, I had students integrate scientific readings from valid secondary resources, summarize and present to their peers as a way to make some sense of the material they were learning and also as a way to create community within the classes. In another class, I also had students choose a topic to present based on the material they were learning. In both types of examples, the students did so well and really brought a breadth of information and perspective to the course. This also allowed students to choose a personal topic of interest related to content we were covering in the class.

What change/s have you made to your teaching practice during the last year that you anticipate continuing beyond the pandemic?

Using MS Teams; having students read & present secondary scientific information; more frequent quizzes instead of big exams.

Dr. Barbekka Hurtt, Teaching Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences
Dr. Barbekka Hurt