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Teaching with technology

  5 minutes to read | Last updated October 6, 2021

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 the university as a centralized unit for assisting instructors with learning technologies. The Wisconsin Collaboratory for Enhanced Learning (WisCEL), part of the Center for Teaching, Learning and Mentoring, also provides learning technologies support for active learning courses, while the DesignLab works with instructors to develop and implement digital design assignments. Some schools and colleges have also established services for their instructors. These include:

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. Learning technology consultants at DoIT Academic Technology are available to assist instructors and instructional staff throughout campus and can be contacted through the DoIT Help Desk. 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.

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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. The full list of Learn@UW tools is as follows:

In addition to this guide about available learning technologies on campus, guides are also available about the pedagogical uses of quizzing tools like Atomic Assessments and Canvas, learning analytics tools like LEAD, student response systems like Top Hat, web conferencing tools like Zoom, 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, please contact our learning technology consultants at 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 as well as tools like Zoom are available 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 learning?

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.

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), which is part of the Center for Teaching, Learning and Mentoring. Instructors who assign digital media projects can also apply to teach in one or both of the Media Studio classrooms located in College Library.

What trainings and other opportunities are available to learn how to use technology in instruction?

Learning technologies can improve the student experience no matter if the course is taught in-person, online or as a hybrid. They can also help instructors complete tasks more effectively with features like Canvas’s SpeedGrader. With so many learning technologies and new features added regularly, it can be overwhelming. 

To help instructors make the most of the Learn@UW suite of tools — that includes widely used ones like Canvas to newer additions like the Learner Engagement Analytics Dashboard (LEAD) — the team provides trainings primarily in August, January and May. The team also provides guides on pedagogical uses of tools, the Learn@UW KnowledgeBase and recordings of previously held trainings. Individual consultations with the Learn@UW-Madison team is also available through the DoIT Help Desk year round.

As technology becomes increasingly common in all forms of instruction, the Center for Teaching, Learning and Mentoring regularly includes information about technology in their programs that aim to improve learning for all students by advancing the craft of teaching at UW-Madison.

What resources are available to build online courses?

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 university.

In collaboration with schools and colleges, the Center for Teaching, Learning and Mentoring provides instructional design services and resources for online undergraduate programs, professional degrees and certificates, and Summer Term. Additionally, the center offers resources such as TeachOnline@UW Faculty Learning Community and the Design+Teach+Engage website

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 Design+Teach+Engage 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

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

If you need support with how to design your assignments, the Center for Teaching, Learning and Mentoring can assist through individual consulting

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 supports students in completing digital assignments just like the Writing Center supports students in completing textual assignments. Students can make an appointment, start a chat/text 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.

Contact DoIT Academic Technology