University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Teaching with technology

  4 minutes to read | Last updated August 28, 2017

UW‑Madison has a rich history of transforming teaching and learning through the use of technology. This guide will help you discover the resources, services and terms needed to navigate the robust UW‑Madison learning technology ecosystem.

UW-Madison has a rich history of transforming teaching and learning through the use of technology. Since the 1990s, DoIT Academic Technology (DoIT AT) has served campus as a centralized unit for assisting instructors with learning technologies. Some schools and colleges have also established services for their instructors. These include Learning Support Services in the College of Letters & Science, Collaborative for Engineering Education and Teaching Effectiveness (CEETE) in the College of Engineering, Media, Education Resources & Information Technology (MERIT) in the School of Education and Academic Technology & Web (ATW) in the Wisconsin School of Business. The Wisconsin Collaboratory for Enhanced Learning (WisCEL) also provides learning technologies support for active learning courses.

These academic technology units partner with instructors, colleges, schools and departments to adapt, create and integrate new and emerging learning technologies in support of sound pedagogical approaches. Supported by the chancellor and the provost, the Educational Innovation (EI) Initiative also partners with faculty and staff from across campus to consider how technology can support and enhance student learning through various pedagogical approaches such as active, blended and online learning.

Learning technology consultants at DoIT Academic Technology are available to assist instructors and instructional staff throughout campus and can be contacted at academictech@doit.wisc.edu or (608) 262-5667. They are available to answer a wide range of questions including these common questions.

  • What learning technologies or tools are available?

    Through Learn@UW-Madison, DoIT Academic Technology and campus partners provide and support a collection of tools for teaching and learning. This includes Canvas, the learning management system (LMS) that instructors and course owners use to create course sites for delivering content, providing online quizzing, collecting submitted assignments, tracking grades and more. D2L and Moodle are also currently used on campus, but support will be discontinued for them in the summer of 2018. Visit canvasinfo.wisc.edu for more information about the campus’s transition to Canvas and a list of departmental, school or college instructional technology staff you can contact. In addition, the Teaching Effectively in Canvas workshops are designed to help instructors use Canvas to make teaching more streamlined and conducive to student success, and the weekly Active Teaching Labs feature UW-Madison instructors sharing their own experiences using Canvas.

    Learn@UW also includes tools such as Top Hat for polling and quizzing students in class, Kaltura MediaSpace for sharing videos, Piazza for online discussion forums and Blackboard Collaborate for facilitating online discussions and web conferencing. Guides are available for explaining the pedagogical uses of student response systems like Top Hat and web conferencing tools like Blackboard Collaborate.

    If you want to learn more or need assistance, please contact our learning technology consultants at academictech@doit.wisc.edu or (608) 262-5667. In addition, the Learn@UW KnowledgeBase offers guides for instructors, course owners and students.

    Additional suites of tools, like Adobe Creative Cloud, Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps for UW–Madison are available to you free of charge through licensing agreements and with increased protections of intellectual property. To make the most of these tools, faculty, staff and students can access thousands of instructional videos and training courses through UW-Madison’s license with lynda.com for free.

    Your school or college may also offer and support tools and technologies.

  • How do I leverage technology to support active, blended and online learning?

    Active, blended and online learning are research-supported and technology-enhanced teaching and learning methodologies.

    photo of students in an active learning classroom, crowded around computers, whiteboards and other learning aids
    Active Learning Classroom

    Active learning refers to a process where learners engage purposefully with instructors, other students and course content to promote problem-solving, application and understanding. A wide variety of technologies such as Google Apps for UW–Madison, Top HatPiazza and Kaltura MediaSpace can help foster active learning. DoIT Academic Technology’s Faculty Engagement service hosts the Active Teaching Lab where instructors share experiences with teaching tools and try out the new technologies in a relaxed, playful environment. Active learning classrooms on campus provide the technology, physical environment, instructional support and resources needed for active learning. Some schools and colleges have these classrooms, and any instructor can apply to teach in one of eight active learning classrooms in the Wisconsin Collaboratory for Enhanced Learning (WisCEL).

    In general, the term “blended learning” refers to the practice of using both online and in-person learning experiences, which can foster active learning. More information (including an overview of blended learning models), tutorials and resources are available at the Blended Learning Toolkit. In addition, programs such as Blend@UW and Blended Learning Fellowship Program from DoIT AT’s Faculty Engagement Service and Teaching with Technology from L&S Learning Support Services can help faculty and staff apply this methodology to their courses.

    Whether a course is blended or fully online, DoIT AT’s Online Course Production service can provide assistance for the entire life cycle of course development — from conceptualization of the course with research-based pedagogy through the development of course media, activities and assessments that support desired learning outcomes. In addition, the EI Program Development team, a part of UW-Madison’s Division of Continuing Studies, is a service unit whose purpose is to help academic departments explore serving post-traditional audiences and can assist faculty and staff in the creation of accessible, high-quality post-baccalaureate degrees and certificates.

    The Division of Continuing Studies along with campus partners offer two resources to help with online teaching. The Design+Teach+Engage website provides useful information and resources for online and blended course design and teaching. The TeachOnline@UW Faculty Learning Community offers an opportunity for participants will explore and apply research-based online course design and teaching best practices to their own courses, and experience technologies and online activities as an “online student.”  

    The university is also a subscriber to Quality Matters — a nationally-recognized, faculty-centered, peer review process designed to certify the quality of online and blended courses. The Quality Matters program is centered around a rubric developed by faculty for faculty based on extensive research and instructional design best practices to guide in developing, reviewing and maintaining online courses. More details are available here on how to utilize Quality Matters as a guide to develop an online or blended course or request a formal quality review.

  • How do I get help developing an app or website for teaching?

    DoIT AT’s Teaching & Research Application Development (TRAD) team partners with instructors to create innovative applications for teaching and research. This can include mobile apps for research data collection or situated (location-aware) learning, games and simulations for teaching complex concepts as well as modules for interactive educational websites that leverage a content management system (CMS), such as WordPress.

    In addition to designing and developing custom tools, the TRAD team also integrates new tools into or adapts current tools within the campus’ digital ecosystem. For a consultation with the TRAD team, email academictech@doit.wisc.edu or call (608) 262-5667.

  • How can I help my students succeed with their digital assignments?

    As you incorporate technology into your course projects and assignments, even your most tech-savvy students may need assistance. DesignLab helps students improve their digital design knowledge and skills as they produce everything from posters and videos to presentations and websites. In a nutshell, the DesignLab is for digital assignments what the Writing Center is for textual assignments. Students can make an appointment or drop-in to get help storyboarding ideas, finding resources and improving the design of their project. DoIT AT’s Software Training for Students (STS) offers free training workshops that teach students the software programs needed for coursework. In addition, the Ask a Trainer program offers one-on-one training for specific projects. Faculty, staff and students can also access thousands of instructional videos and training courses through UW-Madison’s license with lynda.com for free.

    Both Software Training for Students (STS) and DesignLab work with instructors to provide custom trainings tailored to your curriculum. For instance, an instructor could invite the STS trainers to conduct a workshop on the Photoshop and Illustrator techniques needed to complete a class project.

Get started & get help

Learning technology consultants are available to assist instructors and instructional staff throughout campus. Check with your school or college about available resources or contact DoIT Academic Technology for campus-wide support.

Contact DoIT Academic Technology