The Office of Teaching and Learning Winter Quarter Engagement Series

The Office of Teaching and Learning Winter Quarter Engagement Series

By Amelia Gentile-Mathew, Instructional Designer

Hello, and welcome back to a new quarter with your OTL team here at DU.  

Following this time of rest and reflection, we first wanted to thank you for the incredible job you have done this past year. Not only have you conquered in-person and emergency remote teaching, you’ve also evolved into agile and creative instructors for online, hybrid, and hyflex classrooms, too.

As we look forward towards this coming term, you may be noticing noting new levels of comfort with emerging technologies, or that you’ve successfully cultivated a teaching presence which bridges rigorous coursework with the flexibility of navigating ongoing challenges affecting instructors and students alike. After these and so many other successes as a community, we are hearing that you are ready for more!

While we may not feel fully rejuvenated mentally, physically, or emotionally (and that’s ok!), we are gearing up to take on winter quarter together. We encourage everyone to continue seeking the ongoing support they need in this time, in particular after the extremely difficult events of last week at the capitol.  

The Office of Teaching and Learning Winter Quarter Engagement Series

To respond to common questions we’ve been hearing from you, the OTL team is preparing a series of blogs. In this series, we will be highlighting your questions, ideas, and challenges around engagement in the classroom across its many modalities.

All of these posts are related to engagement in some way, with the intent to support you in cultivating a meaningful learning environment where students can be motivated, attentive, and successful.

Delving deeper into engagement means thinking critically about the types of interaction that occur in our learning environments, which Michael G. Moore (1989) helpfully groups into three categories: learner-content, learner-instructor, and learner-learner engagement. Examining these different axes of interaction can help to focus our approaches as educators onto those specific aspects of engagement which we are seeking to adjust, bolster, scaffold, or enhance. According to Croxton (2014), when we identify a lack of engagement in the classroom, we are most likely feeling the impacts of an interactivity gap either in the learner-learner or learner-instructor domains. There are some surprisingly simple modifications, especially in distance learning environments, which we can implement to not only boost interactivity, but also to better meet the needs of individual students and increase satisfaction and persistence for learners overall.

Stay tuned throughout the term for articles, blog posts, and other resources as we highlight creative solutions to these and other topics including:

  • Engagement & Interactivity Across Modalities: Synchronous, Asynchronous, and Hybrid/Hyflex
  • Setting Engagement Expectations for the Online Classroom
  • Creative Ways to Start Class
  • Collaborative Online Assignments
  • Ghosted Group Work: What To Do When Team Projects Breakdown
  • Impacts of Class Size on Engagement Approaches: Large, Medium, and Small Classrooms
  • The Zoom Problem…
  • High Impact Practices in STEM Courses
  • Student Accommodations & COVID-19
  • Level-Up Your Classroom Engagement: Instructional Strategies for Variety and Fun in Online Learning
  • And more!

Not seeing your interests or questions here? Let us know at