Welcome to Digital Learning & Innovation
Digital Learning & Innovation (DL&I) and its affiliated units—the Center for Teaching & Learning (CTL), Educational Technology (EdTech), and Digital Initiatives—help Boston University leadership, faculty, and staff implement innovative ideas in digital education by incubating select pilot projects, and offer BU educators consultation, training and production support in the areas of teaching, technology, and online education.
Resources Supporting Fall 2021 In-person &
Select Graduate Program Remote & Hybrid Instruction
This site, developed in partnership with the Center for Teaching & Learning and Educational Technology, offers a variety of faculty-focused resources for BU’s fall 2021 in-person instruction, as well as tools to support remote and hybrid teaching modalities for select graduate programs. Resources include teaching guides, technology tools, assessment options, FAQs, and training schedules, with more to follow.
Who Should Use This Site
Fall 2021 In-person Teaching Faculty, Teaching Fellows & Teaching Assistants
Select Graduate Program Courses: Fall 2021 Remote & Hybrid Teaching Faculty
How We Can Help
In addition to the tools and guides listed below, the Center for Teaching & Learning and Educational Technology teams are available for one-on-one and small group consultations. Note: This site will be updated as new guides and resources are developed.
Examine Pedagogical Approaches
Blackboard Learn is the primary learning management system at Boston University; it is used in on- and off-campus courses, certificate programs, and clerkships. Students can access course materials at any time and from any computer with an Internet connection. Learn more.
Pedagogical Partnerships Blackboard Site
Access this series of resources—videos, guides and presentations—via the “Pedagogical Partnerships” Blackboard site managed by the Center for Teaching & Learning. Connect with BU’s Pedagogical Partnerships Blackboard site.
Teaching Guides A-Z
Active Learning Guide: Active learning is a term used to describe instructional strategies that promote students’ active participation in knowledge construction processes. Such strategies may include hands-on activities, brief writing and discussion assignments, problem solving tasks, information gathering and synthesis, question generation, and reflection-based activities, among others. Together, these approaches seek to engage learners’ higher order thinking skills through the production and articulation of knowledge, as opposed to through the passive transmission of facts and ideas. Access the guide.
Blended Learning: Blended learning is the strategic combination of face-to-face and online learning experiences and when properly implemented, the popular teaching method can result in improved student success, satisfaction, and retention. Learn more about the benefits of blended courses, get tips to enhance in-class learning, and access the tools you need for implementation here.
Case-based Learning: Case studies are stories that are used as a teaching tool to show the application of a theory or concept to real situations. Connect with the Center for Teaching & Learning and explore ways to create a case study.
Discussion-based Teaching & Learning: Discussions challenge students to develop critical thinking skills: to weigh evidence, test propositions, and reach their own conclusions. While being knowledgeable about the topic under discussion is important for leading meaningful discussions, creating an environment in which students feel comfortable engaging with ideas is even more so. Read more.
Enhancing the Course Experience Using Social Media: Looking to introduce social media into your Boston University teaching? Barbara Bickart, Questrom School of Business, Boston University senior associate Dean of Graduate Programs and associate professor of Marketing, outlines a series of social media strategies designed to increase student engagement and build community. Explore these social media strategies.
Project-based Learning: Project-based learning (PBL) involves students designing, developing, and constructing hands-on solutions to a problem. The educational value of PBL is that it aims to build students’ creative capacity to work through difficult or ill-structured problems, commonly in small teams. Learn more.
Questrom Team Learning: QTL works to enable successful academic team learning experiences by providing resources and support to both faculty and students who engage teamwork practices in their courses. Learn more.
Simplify Grading with Gradescope: Gradescope is a centrally supported software designed to streamline and simplify grading exams in large classes. Learn about the tool, how it automates grading and streamlines the workflow among teaching assistants. Read more.
STEM Guide for Instructors: The Center for Teaching & Learning and BU Chemistry Department offer guidance specifically for STEM faculty. This resource provides strategies to plan for labs, offers tips to reproduce classroom work in an online environment, and highlights tools to address accessibility issues.
Teaching with Multimedia: Why teach with video? When students have access to video content to watch outside of class, class time can be used for comprehension checks, discussion, and reinforcement of content. Multimedia content helps to vary and enhance the learning process, and leads to better knowledge retention. Learn more.
Teaching Remotely in the Arts: The Center for Teaching & Learning & BU’s College of Fine Arts offer guidance specifically for the Arts community. This resource outlines strategies to enhance the classroom experience, tips to build community, the power of online presentation, and more.
Team Teaching: Team-teaching (also often called “collaborative teaching”) is an opportunity to expose students to more perspectives and content knowledge than a single instructor may be able to provide. Collaborative teaching can take a variety of forms, ranging from inviting a colleague to give a one-time guest lecture, to dividing responsibilities according to content areas, to working together on every aspect of the course. Learn more about the approach.
Using Pronto to Enhance Student Engagement: BU College of Communication Master Lecturer Anne Danehy and Associate Professor of the Practice Amy Shanler share their experiences building classroom community using the communications tool, Pronto. Learn about the technology, watch a video, and access their how-to guide.
Flipping the Class
What is a Flipped Classroom?
The flipped model of learning is implemented in a flipped classroom. It is one in which students’ first contact with the new material is taken place outside of the classroom. This allows students to interact with the content and process the new material at their own pace. Oftentimes, the instructional content is accompanied with small, low-stakes assignments/questions, which the students submit electronically. Class sessions are carefully planned by the instructor to incorporate activities that focus on higher cognitive tasks. These activities, often aligned with active learning strategies, allow students to engage with the new content through hands-on activities, discussions, and projects. The goal of such a class is to focus not only what students learn throughout the course, but how they learn the new content.
New: Trauma-informed Pedagogy
Trauma-informed Pedagogy:As we prepare to return to campus, many of us – faculty, students, and staff alike – are still experiencing heightened levels of stress and anxiety in response to the global pandemic, financial uncertainty, sustained social isolation, racially motivated violence, and divisive politics. These challenges have exacerbated the mental health crisis at universities.
The CTL Trauma-informed Teaching Approach resource guide outlines strategies to help recognize students’ adverse experiences (past or current) and the impact these experience have on on students’ ability to learn. The resource highlights trauma-informed teaching principles, accompanied by concrete strategies used by BU faculty. Learn more.
The Center for Teaching & Learning (CTL) collaborates with faculty and graduate students to cultivate teaching that is inclusive, centered on student learning, and guided by research. We offer individualized consultations, workshops, seminars, and institutes designed to promote critical reflection and experimentation in teaching and support core initiatives across the University, such as the Hub, BU’s innovative new general education curriculum. We provide guidance on flipping large-enrollment courses, offer strategies to implement problem-based learning in STEM fields, and much more. Connect with the CTL via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Explore BU-supported Technology Tools
Technology Tools A-Z
Adobe Creative Cloud (ACC) is a suite of software and web-based applications that creative professionals worldwide use. The suite includes over twenty individual applications that allow you to edit video and audio, process digital images, create single and multi-page layouts, render 3D objects, and many more. An ACC license also provides access to cloud storage and asset management between the various applications. Access licensing information and resources.
Assessment Options: Switching to collecting information, providing assessments, and giving exams digitally provides a rapid turnaround and more accurate results. Moving tests and evaluations to an online format also saves time and is less costly and error-prone than manual data collection. Learn more.
Blackboard Ultra Base Navigation offers a more modern, intuitive navigation that provides quick access to the most critical information from across all courses. Learn more.
Digication e-Portfolio: Published on the Web, a Digication e-Portfolio is a collection of students’ selected work in BU programs and courses, designed to portray the student’s learning experiences and to make their learning visible. The web-based Digication e-Portfolio publishing platform makes it easy to capture and document evidence of academic achievements, providing unique opportunities for connection and synthesis across courses, semesters, and co-curricular experiences. Learn more about Digication e-Portfolio.
Echo360 makes it easy for Instructors and departments to record classroom lectures, meetings, speeches, and other events. You can record any combination of audio, video, and what is on your computer screen and easily publish your recordings to the Web with Echo360’s automated features. Learn more.
Examity allows instructors to give exams that are monitored by a live proctor in an effort to minimize cheating, thereby maintaining the integrity of the test. Since Examity is integrated with Blackboard, instructors can build the exam and students can take the exam in a familiar environment. Learn more.
ExamSoft provides a secure testing environment to help curb academic dishonesty, and allows instructors to easily create, grade, and analyze exams. Learn more.
Google Jamboard is a digital whiteboard that allows for remote or in-person collaboration on a shared space. Students or colleagues can sketch out ideas, problem-solve, or draw collaboratively and synchronously. “Jams” can be saved directly to Google Drive or exported as PDFs. Read: 5 Reasons to Use Google Jamboard.
Gradescope is a centrally supported software designed to streamline and simplify the process of grading exams in large classes. It can automate the grading of many kinds of questions and streamline the workflow among TAs, including on paper-based exams. Learn more.
MyMedia is a powerful video distribution platform powered by Kaltura for BU faculty, staff, and students. It includes its own easy-to-use lecture capture tool and is fully integrated into Blackboard Learn and Sakai. MyMedia is a a great platform for faculty to use to upload video content for students to access, or to encourage students to use in submitting multimedia assignments. It offers free captioning and tagging tools, and is a great alternative to YouTube or paid platforms such as Vimeo. To start using MyMedia, just go to mymedia.bu.edu and log in using your BU username and password.
NVivo is a powerful software that organizes, analyzes, and displays information for qualitative and mixed-methods social science research. Qualitative research can be a daunting endeavor, but NVivo is a powerful tool that can organize qualitative information quickly. Read more.
Pronto is a communication tool that seamlessly integrates with your Blackboard Learn course and can be used in the browser or via a mobile app to aid real-time communication. Learn more.
Top Hat’s active learning technology helps professors engage students before, during and after class. Top Hat helps you engage students in and out of the classroom through cutting-edge polling software, low-cost interactive content, flexible homework systems, and secure test-taking solutions. Top Hat also offers instructional design services to prep courses, train and work one-on-one with instructors to ensure they’re fully ready to use Top Hat for first day of class and beyond. Learn more.
Turnitin Feedback Studio is an online document submission tool that both checks student work for plagiarism and streamlines the grading process. Student work can be compared against a database of websites and previous paper submissions from within the course and other courses, as well as other schools and universities. Each paper receives an originality report that highlights passages similar to other sources and provides links to original sources. Students’ submissions are viewable only by the faculty member for the course. Instructors can also save valuable time on grading with tools that simplify repetitive grading tasks. Access guidance.
Technology Tools Available throughout BU
Explore additional technology tools supported by other BU schools, colleges, and departments.
MATLAB is a high-performance language for technical computing. It integrates computation, visualization, and programming in an easy-to-use environment where problems and solutions are expressed in familiar mathematical notation.
Qualtrics is a tool used for creating and distributing surveys. It is particularly effective for gathering qualitative research. Qualtrics allows users to create surveys online, collaborate in real time, distribute surveys, analyze the results, and export data in multiple formats.
Read&Write GOLD helps students improve their reading and writing skills through text-to-speech and speech-to-text tools, a pronunciation tutor and more. It is a great aid for ESL students and those with disabilities.
SAS is a comprehensive statistical software that provides a wide variety of analytical capabilities, data management, and visualization options. The Office of Research Computing offers a wide array of tutorials on MATLAB, SAS, and many related tools.
WordPress is the industry-standard web-publishing software. You can set up a WordPress site on BU’s sites.bu.edu domain for your courses, and limit access to the BU community or to your students if you wish. If you’d like to go a step further and add interactive quizzes or structure your site by a textbook, you can add the BULB plugin (supported by Ed Tech).
Technology Tools Available within Select Schools and Colleges
Questrom Tools is an alternative learning management system to Blackboard, used within the Questrom School of Business and based on the Sakai platform.
Access a variety of BUMC Educational Technology services including Learn from Anywhere, room capacity information, Instructional Services, Digital Media Studio, and more. View BUMC resources.
FAQs: Educational Technology support and training is available for Boston University Medical Campus faculty, staff and students in their exploration, evaluation and use of technology tools and strategies for teaching and learning. Browse our online resources below for many current technologies, or contact the Educational Media Center in L310 or (617) 358-1111 to request individual assistance. View the FAQs.
The Educational Technology team offers free consultations to BU faculty and staff interested in deploying technology in the classroom or in an educational program. After defining the challenge you are trying to solve, we can help you take advantage of existing technologies in BU’s educational technology portfolio, or research and identify other platforms that are appropriate to your needs. Connect with Educational Technology via AskEdTech@bu.edu.
Teach for Accessibility; Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Teaching for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Teaching for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: The Center for Teaching & Learning in partnership with BU Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion offers guidance on how to make learning more accessible, foster a more inclusive learning environment, and prioritize self-care when moving course materials online.
Teaching at BU: A Guide to Disability & Access Services
Teaching at BU: A guide to Disability & Access Services
Disability & Access Services (DAS) is partnering with Educational Technology and BU faculty to address accommodations and access for our students during remote, hybrid, and in-person teaching and learning.
Videos: Building the Inclusive Classroom
Building the Inclusive Classroom
Inclusive learning environments promote connectivity and growth while creating experiences and spaces for all learners to thrive. The Boston University faculty panel share their diversity, equity and inclusion perspectives for the remote teaching and learning landscape, and offer a variety of inclusive teaching strategies. Topics include:
- Minding (Disciplinary) Power and Privilege in the Classroom
- Trauma-Informed Practices in the Age of COVID-19
- Advancing an Intercultural Inclusive Practice in the Classroom
- Inclusive Engineering Classroom: Multidimensional Paths from Within and from Without
- Fostering Inclusion and Intersectionality In A Course Focused on Race Relations
- Acknowledging Disability in Diversity & Inclusion Efforts
Videos: Anti-racist Pedagogy & Class in the Classroom
Anti-racist Pedagogy: Contributing to positive change in the national conversation about race is a clear goal for BU. The Day of Collective Engagement in June 2020, the appointment of Professor Ibram X. Kendi, and the opening of the Center for Anti-Racist Research are all part of getting that conversation started within the University. What does this commitment look like in our classrooms? BU instructors share their strategies to building an anti-racist curriculum within their classes.
- Mapping the Landscape of Implicit Bias in STEM Education
- Building an Anti-Racist Curriculum for Spanish Courses
- Freeing the “Slave” and the “Master” | Removing Racism from Engineering
- Racial Justice as Religious Practice
- All in for Racial Justice: Reflections on Building Anti-racist Curriculum and Practice
Class in the Classroom: Remote and hybrid classrooms have highlighted the kind of class inequities that have always existed but have been easy to ignore in higher education. This Lightning Talk session, offered in collaboration with BU Diversity & Inclusion and its Learn More series’ theme of social class, focuses on areas of practice and content that help us understand the myriad ways that class plays out in our classrooms, with strategies to create more inclusive classes.
- Virtual Worlds, Virtual Reality and Mind Mapping to Engage Learners in the Remote-Hybrid Environment
- Three Strategies for Inclusion
- Teaching to All: Creating Classrooms Inclusive of First-Gen Students
- Teaching With and Without a Classroom
- WE Have One Job! Be Inclusive!
Looking for Blackboard, MyMedia, Turnitin, or ePortfolio workshops or want to attend a drop-in technology training session? Digital Learning & Innovation Educational Technology team in partnership with MET College Educational Technology & Innovation are hosting a series of training sessions specifically for BU Summer 2021 remote and hybrid teaching faculty, Fall 2021 in-person teaching faculty, and select remote and hybrid graduate program instruction.
Digital Learning & Innovation’s Teaching with Technology Learning Community, co-managed by CTL and EdTech, is a network where BU faculty share ideas and learn new approaches to teaching with digital technologies. The group provides an opportunity for faculty members to discuss ways in which technology tools can benefit students’ learning, as well as how to advocate effectively for teaching with technology.
Digital Learning & Innovation 2020 Annual Report highlights a variety of DL&I programs, services and accomplishments; features a letter from Chris Dellarocas, DL&I Associate Provost and Shipley Professor of Management at the Questrom School of Business, and includes an overview of remote and hybrid teaching and learning at BU, Questrom’s Online MBA update, videos, learning community opportunities, and more.
Back2BU Planning Resources
Office of the Provost
The Office of the Provost supports BU’s intellectual efforts in concert with the deans the 17 schools and colleges, and the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences, that span the Charles River, Medical, and Fenway Campuses.
Back To On-Campus Work
Our top priority, at all times, is to provide a safe and healthy work environment for Boston University faculty, staff, and students. These guidelines are intended to inform your actions as we begin, over the summer, the slow and deliberate process of returning to campus.
As we hear from employees regarding the return to campus and questions you may have, we will continue to develop resources and information that support the return to campus. The COVID-19 Employee Support Line at 617-358-4990 or email@example.com will continue to be an available resource, as will the Human Resources Service Center at 617-353-2380 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay connected and learn more about BU’s plan to reopen.