A damage over time effect is one single effect dealing its full damage over a duration.
Darius' bleed is a Damage over Time.
Draven's bleed is a Damage over Time.
Cassiopeia's Q/W are Damage over Time.
Garen's Spin may deal it's damage over time, but as a channeled ability it is dealing six instances of damage individually over 3 seconds, not "hit once and then it will deal damage over 3 seconds."
Wukong's Cyclone is dealing 8 instances of damage over 4 seconds.
Amumu's tears are dealing one instance of damage per second.
So the trick is figuring out which count as "Damage over time" and which count as "Damage per instance over time"
Generally speaking, Damage over Time is fire and forget. Did the spell land? Then you get all the damages.
Damage instances require constant / sequential contact, such as Warwick's ultimate, the various Spins, and Syndra's ultimate.