4 minutes to read | Last updated August 16, 2019
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. The Wisconsin Collaboratory for Enhanced Learning (WisCEL) also provides learning technologies support for active learning courses. Some schools and colleges have also established services for their instructors. These include:
- Academic Information Services in the School of Medicine and Public Health
- Academic Technology department in the School of Nursing
- Academic Technology (AT) in the Wisconsin School of Business.
- Collaborative for Engineering Education and Teaching Effectiveness (CEETE) in the College of Engineering
- Learning Support Services (LSS) in the College of Letters & Science
- Media, Education Resources & Information Technology (MERIT) in the School of Education
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (608) 262-5667. They are available to answer a wide range of questions including these common questions. School and college resources can be reached via the links above.
What learning technologies and tools are available?
DoIT Academic Technology’s Learn@UW-Madison team manages and supports UW-Madison’s Learn@UW, the suite of learning technologies that facilitates teaching and learning. This suite of tools 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, hosting discussion forums, tracking grades and more.
Learn@UW also includes Kaltura MediaSpace for sharing videos, AEFIS for collecting learning assessment data related to course and program learning outcomes, Top Hat for polling and quizzing students in class, Piazza for creating student-driven forums for questions and answers, Blackboard Collaborate for facilitating online presentations and web conferencing as well as Pressbooks to create and host eTexts. In addition to this guide about available learning technologies on campus, guides are also available about the pedagogical uses of student response systems like Top Hat, web conferencing tools like Blackboard Collaborate, and online discussions using tools like Canvas and Piazza.
If you want to learn more about these tools or need assistance incorporating them into instruction, you can request a consult through the DoIT Help Desk. For tech support and troubleshooting help for Canvas, Kaltura MediaSpace, Blackboard Collaborate (and Ultra) and AEFIS, please contact the DoIT Help Desk. Technical support for Top Hat and Piazza are provided by the vendors. 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 better protection of restricted data. 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 LinkedIn Learning for free.
Your school or college may also offer and support additional tools and technologies.
How do I leverage technology to support active, blended and online learning?
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 Hat, Piazza and Kaltura MediaSpace can help foster active learning. DoIT Academic Technology’s Faculty Engagement service hosts the Active Teaching Labs where instructors share experiences with teaching tools and try out the new technologies in a relaxed 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). Instructors who are assigning digital media projects can also apply to teach in one or both of the Media Studio classrooms located in College Library.
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 Fellowships from DoIT AT’s Faculty Engagement Service and Teaching with Technology from L&S Learning Support Services can help faculty and staff apply blended-learning course design 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.
Enhancing and scaling high-quality online learning experiences across summer and academic-year offerings, in partnership with schools and colleges, continues to be a significant priority for the Educational Innovation (EI) Initiative. Collaboratively led by the vice provost for teaching and learning and the vice provost for lifelong learning and dean, Division of Continuing Studies, the effort strategically supports the development of online courses in any term (summer, fall and spring) and aligns with current campus priorities. The effort provides a combination of development opportunities — from targeted course development to annual and year-round open calls for grant proposals — in combination with resources such as the TeachOnline@UW Faculty Learning Community, the Design+Teach+Engage website and the Learning Design, Development & Innovation (LDDI) service.
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 on the DesignTeachEngage website about 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 email@example.com 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 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 at any point in their project, from first concept to final touches. 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. STS also hosts drop-in sessions in College Library’s DesignLab space. Faculty, staff and students can also access thousands of instructional videos and training courses through UW-Madison’s license with LinkedIn Learning for free.
Software Training for Students (STS) works with instructors to provide custom software 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. DesignLab works with instructors to develop and assist with digital media assignments (which they call Instructional Packages or IPs). This includes developing assignment goals and prompts, providing lecture(s) on design and/or software tailored to said digital media assignment, and/or providing in-class workshops for one-on-one or small group design help.
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.
Academic Technology Centers
Schools or College units
- College of Engineering’s Collaborative for Engineering Education and Teaching Effectiveness (CEETE)
- College of Letters and Science’s Learning Support Services (LSS)
- School of Education’s Media, Education Resources, & Information Technology (MERIT)
- School of Nursing’s Academic Technology department
- Wisconsin School of Business’s Academic Technology (AT)
Related services and programs
- Active Teaching Lab
- Blended Learning Toolkit
- Design+Teach+Engage website
- Educational Innovation Program Development
- Faculty Engagement
- Learning Design, Development & Innovation (LDDI)
- LinkedIn Learning
- Online Course Production
- Software Training for Students
- Teaching & Research Application Development
- Teaching Effectively in Canvas
- Teaching with Technology Online Workshop Series
- TeachOnline@UW Faculty Learning Community