Restarting Fall 2020 with Learn@UW Updates

Thu August 20, 2020

It’s been a remarkable spring and summer here at UW–Madison, bringing many changes to the teaching and learning technology landscape. Over the summer months, Learn@UW–Madison has continued to collaborate with university partners on the Instructional Continuity initiative. The team works closely with instructors and know how busy they are preparing for fall. To help, the team has compiled the following updates about Learn@UW tools including the new Honorlock and LEAD tools, as well as other information and resources designed to help effectively deliver courses even in a remote format.

Updates on Tools

AEFIS – Course Syllabus Tool Updates

The university’s recommended course syllabus template has been updated to outline critical new expectations for students and guidelines for instructors, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instructors are strongly encouraged to use the campus syllabus template or incorporate the language into their own. The updated template can be viewed, edited and used via a downloadable Word document or digitally through the Course Syllabus (AEFIS) tool in Canvas.

Honorlock Automated Proctoring – Now Available

Honorlock, an automated proctoring service, is available for all UW–Madison credit-based courses as one of many assessment strategies for promoting academic integrity. Honorlock is designed for assessments built in the Canvas learning management system (LMS), particularly in Canvas Quizzes, as well as third-party assessment tools that are integrated with Canvas, such as Atomic Assessments and publisher Digital Learning Tools.

Honorlock can be configured in multiple ways to meet  instructors’ assessment needs. For example, instructors can enable a lockdown browser, whitelist URLs that are acceptable for use during an exam, allow the use of a calculator, and disable copy and paste functionality. 

Instructors interested in using Honorlock should refer to this Honorlock KB document for a technical overview, as well as this Honorlock page  for guidance and FAQs regarding usage. In addition, a virtual Q&A session about Honorlock will be held on September 9, from 11:30am-12:30pm, open to all UW-Madison instructors. For assistance when setting up exams to use Honorlock, contact Honorlock support directly via email at, phone at 844-243-2500, or Honorlock’s chat feature within Canvas. To determine whether Honorlock is right for a course, please contact

Learner Engagement Analytics Dashboard (LEAD) – Coming This Fall

LEAD provides instructors with quick views about student behavior and activity in a course. This can help to provide better or earlier insights that can be leveraged to support student learning. This LEAD KB doc offers an overview on how to use the tool. In addition, demos and workshops will be offered this fall and posted on the DoIT AT calendar. Those interested in receiving updates on LEAD and other learning analytics initiatives can join the UW-Madison Learning Analytics team or email and request to be added to the learning analytics group.

Top Hat – Free Basic Version

Top Hat, a student response system, allows instructors to ask questions, take polls, give quizzes, and receive feedback from students through their personal devices. Alongside Top Hat (Pro) that requires a student to purchase a subscription, a free version called Top Hat (Basic) will be available this fall. In this free version, some features will not be available to users that will be available for paid versions. Be aware that Top Hat (Basic) does not extend or include the integration of results into the Canvas gradebook, and therefore, results of the Top Hat discussions are for the use of classroom facilitation of discussions alone and not for the formal allocation of participation points. 

Canvas – New Functionality

In July, two new Canvas features were introduced that instructors have found useful. First, instructors can now manage notification settings on a per-course basis. Students also have the capability to manage notifications by course. Second, instructors can now bulk edit due/availability dates for assignments.

AEFIS – Direct Evidence of Student Learning

Direct Evidence of Student Learning (DESL), accessed through a Canvas course, allows instructors to link Canvas assignments to course learning outcomes (CLOs) in  AEFIS (course learning outcomes are automatically populated in AEFIS if they have been entered in Lumen). Students demonstrate their learning through Canvas assignments, quizzes and exams and these results can then be linked directly to the course learning outcomes (CLOs). Instructors are able to obtain clear, compelling and actionable information about how well students are doing using the data.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in remote instruction and learning. Instructors may want to consider incorporating DESL into their assessment efforts due to this change. For all non-technical questions regarding DESL, contact Regina Lowery or Mary Thompson in the Office of the Provost. For technical questions, contact the DoIT Help Desk.

Web Conferencing News & Information

Many instructors utilize the different web conferencing tools available at UW–Madison. Below are several announcements related to web conferencing in the teaching and learning space. 

Please be aware that many, if not most, web conferencing products will experience more technical difficulties than normal for users located in China. This is due to infrastructure, firewall, and government regulations there. To help mitigate these issues, we advise instructors to:

Next, Blackboard Collaborate Original is no longer available for use at UW–Madison and links to it have been removed from the MyUW portal and Canvas because the vendor is retiring it. Blackboard Collaborate Ultra will continue to be available and now referred to as Blackboard Collaborate.

Finally, UW-‍Madison is working toward site licensing Zoom to provide a secure, supported version of Zoom for all of university activities, including teaching. Zoom will not replace any existing tools, including Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, which will remain the only Canvas-integrated video conference tool as the fall semester starts. Timing of Zoom availability continues to evolve so check the campus IT website for updates.

Resources & Support

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.

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.

Consultations & Support

Learn@UW-Madison manages the Learn@UW suite of learning technologies including Canvas, AEFIS, Kaltura MediaSpace, Blackboard Collaborate, Pressbooks, Top Hat, Atomic Assessments, Turnitin, Honorlock and LEAD. 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, 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

Smart Restart 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 fall 2020 updates, guidance for remote courses and in-person courses in a physically distanced format, workshops, and self-guided materials. Also includes information about the Instructional Continuity teams that consist of representatives from across campus including faculty, staff, students, leadership and governance. The teams are working to provide detailed plans to guide and support safe, effective and engaged instruction and learning this fall and are overseen by Steve Cramer, vice provost for instructional continuity and academic affairs; Jeff Russell, vice provost for lifelong learning, and dean, Division of Continuing Studies; and Lois Brooks, vice provost for information technology and chief information officer.
  • Smart Restart: The main hub for breaking news and information regarding university operations as we start the fall semester. 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.