Academic Technology Design Team - Projects

Last Updated: 02/17/2020

We design experiences that solve high-impact learning problems. With the support of University of Colorado Boulder leadership, we collaborate with the campus community to develop scalable and sustainable innovations that realize the university’s strategic goals.

A significant portion of this work is project-based. We design and deploy prototype solutions to wicked teaching and learning problems, assess their success, and transition them to our clients’ environments.

Canvas Quiz Solution

When CU Boulder made the transition to Canvas, it did so knowing the quiz tool was not one of its strongest features. This project aims to identify a quiz solution that better meets instructors’ needs for creating and/or deploying quizzes in Canvas.

Classroom Capture User Engagement

The Classroom Capture service automates the recording of course lectures to provide students a convenient way to stream course content. After being installed in classrooms across campus, the ATDT was asked to examine how instructors and students use Classroom Capture by analyzing metadata, conducting surveys, interviews, and more.

Online Masters in Cultural and Linguistic Diversity and Special Education

This project's goal was to restructure CU's nationally accredited part-time master’s degree in Educational Equity & Cultural Diversity (EECD): Bilingual/ESL Special Education 100% online, making it more accessible to rural communities throughout Colorado.

UEAC Explorer Programming Pilot

The UEAC provides advising support for students whose major and career goals span multiple colleges. Our pilot aims to help the UEAC develop successful strategies and resources to better support this growing student population during their time at CU Boulder and beyond.

Faculty Grading Experience

In partnership with OIT’s Academic Technology Applications Program (ATAP), the Academic Technology Design Team (ATDT) is undertaking a study of the faculty grading experience at CU Boulder and how OIT can best support faculty use of grading technology.

ePortfolio Evaluation

An electronic portfolio or “ePortfolio” is a curated, digital collection of a student’s learning experiences and/or artifacts developed during his/her academic career. With several CU Boulder units already implementing ePortfolios, the ATDT researched the possibility of implementing an OIT-supported ePortfolio platform for our campus.

CSCI 1200: The Art of Computational Thinking

The Department of Computer Science, with the help of the ATDT, is designing an introductory programming course for students who might not think of themselves as “programmers” yet. CSCI 1200, The Art of Computational Thinking, will be open to students across campus and will teach Python, a programming language used in many disciplines and careers for data visualization. Students will learn how computers think, and will gain skills they can apply in a wide variety of projects and majors. The course will be designed with scalability in mind, so that students can be accommodated beyond the capacity of classroom space on campus if needed.

PlayPosit Pilot

Do you want your video content to actively support your teaching? Are you looking for a way to track student engagement with video assignments? Would you like be able to structure video lessons to improve student learning? The ATDT is piloting PlayPosit as an interactive video tool solution for the CU Boulder campus.

Kubi Innovation Grant Pilot

From time to time, students encounter situations that make it difficult or impossible for them to be physically present in class. Our pilot explored how to bring these students into class in a way that allows them to actively participate and that might scale to fit our campus population. Enter Kubi, a small but mighty solution.

EBIO 1210: General Biology

ATDT collaborated with the EBIO 1210 instructional team to further their efforts to improve student learning. Recommendations included incorporating Universal Design for Learning principles, alignment of instructional strategies with assessments, and reenvisioning TA roles and responsibilities to better support students.

Pathway to Space

The ATDT is excited to partner with Chris Koehler on the design of Pathway to Space, the kickoff course for CU’s new cross-campus Space Minor. In support of the Chancellor’s Grand Challenge Initiative, "Our Space. Our Future." Pathway to Space will welcome undergraduate students from all majors to the exciting and ever-expanding field of space studies.

Diverse Learners Awareness Week 2016

Partially funded by a CU-System Diversity and Excellence Grant, Diverse Learners Awareness Week was a project co-sponsored by OIT and Disability Services, and included partnerships with the CU Boulder Chancellor’s Accessibility Committee and the Colorado Learning and Teaching with Technology (COLTT) Conference. The initiative is now part of OIT’s Strategic Plan and will be an annual event that builds community and aligns with the Diversity and Inclusion Summit.

PSYC 1001 Redesign

Our goal is to improve the student learning experience in PSYC 1001 and positively affect student retention. We are starting with a discovery phase to better understand the overall experience of instructors and students. Then this data will inform the development and deployment of a redesigned PSYC 1001 experience.


What can CU Boulder do to increase access to our digital technologies? In Fall 2014 the ATDT initiated a pilot closed caption service to increase support for the captioning of campus materials. We are currently collaborating within OIT to transition this project from a pilot to a robust and sustainable enterprise service.


Observation Protocol for Learning Environments

Technology-based observation protocols enable objective capture of observable teaching practices and student behaviors in a classroom environment. In 2015 - 2016 academic year, ATDT in partnership with the Center for STEM Learning developed and piloted the Observation Protocol for Learning Environments to assess viability and possible applications of this tool. The pilot was successful and set the groundwork for implementation of observation protocols and the development of a protocol-based observation service at CU Boulder.


As part of a National Science Foundation grant, we are investigating how screencasts (short, narrated videos that solve chemistry problems) are used by teachers and students to support their learning; and how we could make them more usable. LearnChemE screencasts have been downloaded more than 6.5 million times.

New Student Welcome Experience

In January 2015, the ATDT was tasked with reenvisioning CU Boulder’s student orientation. Over the next six months, we partnered with campus leadership and more than 20 contributing units to build the New Student Welcome Experience, a robust and personalized online orientation environment for CU’s largest incoming class.

Reimagining Introduction to Engineering

Introduction to Engineering was envisioned as an on-campus MOOC (Massive Online Course), that integrated residential campus resources with MOOC teaching techniques in order to achieve learning objectives, scale future offerings, and provide students with a flexible and individualized experience.

Flipping International Student Orientation

In the Fall of 2014, we launched an online international student orientation environment in Desire2Learn in collaboration with ISSS. The Pre-Arrival Orientation is a learner-centered, user-driven space where students can explore CU Boulder from anywhere in the world.

Gut Check: Exploring Your Microbiome MOOC

Members of the BioFrontiers Institute approached the ATDT to develop a massive open online course (MOOC) that would increase general interest in and understanding of the human microbiome (i.e., the collection of microbes in and on your body) and further public involvement in scientific endeavors.

Transforming Student Learning in EMEN 5005

How can students be successful in a large statistics course with a mix of on-campus and distance students, graduates and undergraduates, and students from different programs? In Fall 2014, the ATDT redesigned EMEN 5005 to make it an engaging learning experience and to better tailor it to the needs of its diverse population.

Legal Writing Diagnostic

The ATDT partnered with Colorado Law School on the redesign of a legal writing diagnostic focused on retention and helping students become more successful in their academic and professional careers. The project explored cost-effective, technology-driven approaches to improve students’ writing mechanics.

Calibrated Peer Assessment Pilot

In Spring of 2015, we piloted technological and curricular aspects of implementing calibrated peer assessment on campus. After an exhaustive technology search and thorough in-course pilots, we determined that there are no workable technology solutions available at this time, but we remain vigilant for new technologies that may meet this compelling learning need.

Comic Books and Graphic Novels MOOC

Comic Books and Graphic Novels is one of the first and most successful MOOCs at CU Boulder. This MOOC focused on fostering creative expression, building community, and experimenting with innovative assessments. It brought together 70,000+ participants, who posted rave course reviews all over the internet.

Water in the Western US icon

Water in the Western US MOOC

Why is water at the heart of so much conflict in the American West? For this MOOC, we interwove the perspective of water experts from all over the US with our team from CU Boulder. Participants were led through a final project to track their water footprint.