How does DoIT Academic Technology help instructors?

Last Updated: Fri July 23, 2021

DoIT Academic Technology (DoIT AT) advances the University’s mission, strategic priorities and the Wisconsin Idea by wisely applying technology to the ever evolving academic environment. Many of our services are tailored to help instructors strategize, design, develop and integrate technologies to improve learning outcomes. This video provides an overview of DoIT AT and the below guide explains six key ways we support instructors.

1. Manage the learning technologies

The Learn@UW-Madison service oversees the Learn@UW suite of learning technologies that help instructors manage course materials and grades, engage with students in and outside the classroom, author learning materials, and distribute videos and audio files. That includes the following tools:

  • Canvas: This learning management system (LMS) is UW-Madison’s single, centrally supported LMS. The other tools listed all integrate with Canvas to provide a streamlined user experience for instructors and students. A growing number of tools are integrated to work with Canvas and are listed in this KnowlegeBase document.
  • Kaltura MediaSpace: The video management service platform allows users to upload, organize, stream, embed and share audio and video materials. Kaltura Capture offers simple screen and webcam recording capabilities to create media that can be uploaded to Kaltura MediaSpace.
  • AEFIS (Assessment, Evaluation, Feedback & Intervention System): This web-based assessment management solution is used to provide campus-wide digital course evaluation survey tools, course syllabi and more.
  • Top Hat: The mobile device-based student response system (SRS) can help instructors engage students in the classroom with polls, quizzes, bias assessments and more.
  • Engage: The eText reader provides integrated access to publisher eTexts via Canvas, as well as access to other publisher-provided tools and resources – typically at a fraction of the print cost.
  • Pressbooks: Faculty, staff and students can create and host eTexts, which can be viewed through a web browser, downloaded as a print-ready PDF, or exported as another digital-ready format (such as EPUB).
  • Piazza: Focused on student-to-student interaction, Piazza is a modern discussion platform. Students post their questions, other students respond and instructors endorse answers to keep the class on track.
  • Atomic Assessments: The advanced quizzing tool allows instructors to develop and deliver a wide variety of questions and efficiently keep track of student performance.
  • Turnitin: An assignment evaluation tool integrated with Canvas that promotes originality in student work by comparing student submissions with similar content and helping students check for proper citation.
  • Honorlock: Integrated with Canvas, the automated proctoring solution helps instructors foster academic integrity when providing remote assessments to students.
  • Learner Engagement Analytics Dashboard: The course-level learning analytics dashboard displays Canvas, Kaltura MediaSpace and Unizin Engage e-text data in Canvas.

2. Help conceptualize ways technology can improve student success

Due largely to the ever-increasing amount and complexity of technology, teaching and learning is changing at a rapid rate. Instructors are often left wondering which tool to use and how best to use it to ensure they get results equal to or greater than the effort required to incorporate it into instruction.

The Learn@UW-Madison team provides guides to explain the pedagogical uses of student response systems like Top Hat, web conferencing toolsonline discussion tools like Piazza and learning analyticsGuides on the DoIT AT website help instructors discover the resources, services and terms needed to navigate the robust UW‑Madison learning technology ecosystem.

3. Strategize online and blended courses

Whether a course is fully online or blends online and in-person components, the Learn@UW-Madison consultants can help instructors plan high-quality, effective courses that engage and challenge students. Consultations can be set up through the DoIT Help Desk.

4. Develop or adapt tools when no current ones fit the needs

Even with a full suite of learning technologies, sometimes instructors need a modified or custom tool. The Teaching & Research Application Development (TRAD) team are experts at developing software solutions that integrate within the complex ecosystem of academic systems and applications.

With the team’s deep understanding of the concerns and considerations specific to developing tools that support instruction, the TRAD team partners with instructors to find technical solutions that make the instructor’s vision a reality. That can result in a mobile app for location-aware learning, games for teaching complex concepts, interactive educational websites using WordPress or assessment tools for learning analytics.

Another possibility is an interactive tool like the Brain Atlas App that TRAD worked with Gary Weismer on for Communication Sciences & Disorders courses. The tool allows users to navigate through different cross-sections of the human brain in addition to highlighting and identifying various regions. The tool is unique, but since TRAD built it to integrate with a variety of learning management systems, it can seamlessly fit into our ecosystem.

Contact TRAD via email to discuss your vision, timelines and estimates.

5. Teach students software skills so they can excel in courses

In addition to offering in-person technology workshops, one-on-one consultations and online tutorials directly to students, the Software Training for Students (STS) team also works with instructors to create Custom Technology Workshops.

Whether students need to know a specific software for an assignment or a variety of programs for a semester-long project like a website, STS can customize a training and deliver it during one of the regularly scheduled classes or at a different time.

This allows instructors to focus on being content experts instead also needing to be software trainers. And it helps students succeed in the particular courses, other courses and future endeavors.

Instructors can request a Custom Technology Workshop using this online form.

6. Work with campus leaders on strategic curricular initiatives

Many of our services and programs are designed to support an individual instructor, but we also partner on major projects like REACH that focused on school-, college- and campus-wide efforts before completing in 2020.

The REACH initiative aimed to improve student learning by increasing students’ engagement in large introductory courses. Two and a half years in, REACH had already benefited tens of thousands of undergraduate students, and will continue to do so into the future as the redesigned courses are continued to be used. In partnership with schools and colleges, and the Office of the Provost, the REACH project is co-sponsored by the Educational Innovation (EI) Initiative and DoIT Academic Technology. Our team members contributed through a variety of roles including project co-lead, strategic learning technology consultant, instructional designer and videographer.

These are only some of the ways we support instructors on campus. Contact our learning technology consultants via email to discuss ways we can help you.