Be Prepared to Spring into the New Semester

Tue January 12, 2021

The Learn@UW–Madison team is (virtually) here to help instructors start a new semester off right! Instructors may want to add the following back-to-school reminders to their list as well as the DoIT Help Desk to their contact list to prepare. 

Get key information about accessing the course syllabus template in Canvas, the new archival process for Blackboard Collaborate media, using Honorlock for automated proctoring, and an update to the Canvas Rich Content Editor feature below.

The Learn@UW-Madison team provides technical and consultative support to help instructors effectively use the full Learn@UW suite including Canvas, Kaltura MediaSpace, AEFIS, Top Hat, Blackboard Collaborate, Engage eText, Pressbooks, Piazza, Atomic Assessments, Turnitin, Honorlock and the Learner Engagement Analytics Dashboard (LEAD). Instructors can contact the DoIT Help Desk for technical assistance or to schedule a consultation with the Learn@UW-Madison team. There’s also a full schedule of trainings available prior to the semester. 

Pre-Semester Reminders

Spring 2021 Course Syllabus Template in Canvas

The university provides a standard syllabus template that is strongly encouraged for all instruction. Recent updates have been introduced to this template to outline critical new expectations for students and guidelines for instructors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are two ways to employ the syllabus template – by downloading the Word version or setting up the digital AEFIS syllabus in your Canvas course. Instructors using Canvas to teach a course will be best served by the AEFIS syllabus as it is easy to use and is always the most up-to-date version of the university’s syllabus template. 

New Archival Process for Blackboard Collaborate Media

To address dramatic increases in the volume of recordings and strict vendor limits, the UW System instituted a new media management process in which recordings created and saved in Blackboard Collaborate Ultra (BBCU) are now automatically archived in Kaltura MediaSpace before being deleted from BBCU 45 days after creation. This includes existing recordings as well as any new recordings. Learn more about how the media management process works and how to manage your BBCU archives in Kaltura.

BBCU recordings can be set to either allow public access or not. If this setting has been changed from the default setting, which is to allow public access, a recording will not be copied over to Kaltura MediaSpace before being deleted at the 45-day threshold. To retain recordings which are set to not allow public access, a user should download it themselves or change that setting before the 45-day retention period has elapsed.

Using Honorlock for Automated Proctoring

Honorlock, an automated proctoring service, is available for all UW–Madison credit-based courses as one of many assessment strategies for promoting academic integrity. 

As with all technology, it’s critical for new users to read the documentation on how to properly set up and use it. In addition, it’s strongly recommended that instructors use practice Honorlock exams with their students to allow them to get familiar with how the tool functions in a low-stakes situation before using it for real exams. The following new and updated resources are available to review prior to using Honorlock:

Update to Canvas’ Rich Content Editor 

On January 16, Canvas’ Rich Content Editor (RCE) will change permanently to the new version of the RCE we announced in our November update. To date, using the new version of the RCE has been an opt-in feature. After January 16, RCE will become the default and every user will notice different icons in the content editor user interface. For a description of how the new RCE works, please refer to this document from the Canvas Community. In addition, a side-by-side comparison of features between the old and new RCEs can be found in this document.

It had been initially thought and announced in our November message that the new RCE would impact Canvas course storage quotas. However, further discussions with the vendor clarified that storage quotas will behave the same as before – specifically, video files that are recorded and uploaded in the new RCE do not not count against a course’s storage quota.

Resources & Support

Virtual Learn@UW Trainings

Prior to the new semester, the Learn@UW–Madison team is offering a wide variety of virtual trainings. In addition, Active Teaching Labs are available to facilitate discussions that go beyond the technology. 

Learning Analytics Community of Practice

The Learner Engagement Analytics Dashboard (LEAD) is part of the Learn@UW suite of learning technologies and can provide actionable insight to instructors. However, it is only one element of the learning analytics work occurring at the university. Held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 11:00am-12:00pm, the Learning Analytics Community of Practice is designed to connect colleagues in sharing learning analytics experiences. Learn about topics for upcoming sessions.

Recordings of Learn@UW Trainings Available

In May, the Learn@UW–Madison team delivered several hours of remote instruction on many of its supported learning technologies. Those sessions were recorded, and are now available for on-demand viewing in our new Kaltura MediaSpace channel, Learn@UW–Madison Training.

Student Tech Modules

Learn@UW–Madison can help students understand how to use supported learning technologies in Canvas with the new Student Tech Modules. An instructor can choose which ones to download from Canvas Commons and add to their course as a starting point for communicating with their students. There are Tech Modules available for Blackboard Collaborate, Kaltura, Honorlock and more.

Consultations & Support

Learn@UW–Madison manages the Learn@UW suite of learning technologies. Our team is available via the DoIT Help Desk to consult on selecting and using the right learning technology to improve student success. The DoIT Help Desk also provides technical support and troubleshooting help for Canvas, Kaltura MediaSpace, AEFIS, Blackboard Collaborate, Engage, Pressbooks, Atomic Assessments, Turnitin and LEAD. For Honorlock, contact the vendor via email at, phone at 844-243-2500, or Honorlock’s chat feature within Canvas. For Top Hat, contact the vendor at For Piazza, contact the vendor at or visit

COVID-19 Response Resources

The following links connect to important and regularly updated resources to help as UW–Madison continues remote instruction due to the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Instructional Continuity: Access spring 2021 updates, guidance for remote courses and in-person courses in a physically distanced format, workshops, and self-guided materials. 
  • COVID-19 Response: The main hub for breaking news and information regarding university operations. It also includes a section for students with information about health and safety, academic support, and emergency funds. 
  • Canvas Vendor Contingency Training: A collection of instructor-focused training tools and resources provided by Instructure, the Canvas vendor.
  • Student IT Guides: Refer students to this series of guides that will help them navigate technology requirements, tools and processes at UW–‍Madison.