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2) Getting Started Workshop


Thirty-four faculty, instructional staff, and teaching assistants participated in a workshop series called TeachOnline@UW: Getting Started. This was the first of a series of workshops to share best practices for designing and teaching fully online courses. Participants were recipients of summer online course development grants and those who participated in a year-long online course design learning community.

The participants completed three online units over a two-week period before they met for a full-day to discuss course design and research-based best practices. The agenda for the June 4 in-person workshop (pictures to the right) included a panel discussion by experienced online instructors, campus speakers, and an overview of Learn@UW technologies.


  • Explored what a quality online course is and what types of technologies and resources are available at UW-Madison.
  • Identified enduring ideas, skills, or abilities that students will remember five years or more after the course.
  • Reflected on how an online course can transform teaching and learning.

Key findings from the evaluation survey indicated:
  • 100% said the experience as an online student will help them develop strategies for their own course .
  • 100% said the experience helped them understand what it is like to be an online student.
  • 100% gained practical knowledge they could apply to their own courses.
  • 100% found the faculty panel discussion "very useful."
According to Karen Skibba, TeachOnline@UW Project Lead, “The online course was impactful for many of the faculty, instructional staff, and teaching assistants who never experienced being an online student."

What Participants Said

Following are a few participant quotes (from the workshop evaluation survey) about what they learned participating in the online course and June 4 in-person workshop:
“I am much more aware of the challenges of being an online learner and will design my course to meet those challenges the best I can.” 

“I saw strategies that personally impacted me - that I will plan to use. Things like the "suggested" completion dates were very helpful and motivating. It also helped me feel comfortable with the D2L environment, and that makes a big difference for me to help overcome the worry about whether I can do it from the technical side.” 

“Be organized! Be clear! Be goal-specific! I also learned how many resources are available to use.”

“How to construct a course that has 'big picture' relevance, solid, meaningful and clear learning objectives and how to design content to meet those objectives.” 

Organizing courses "backwards", around key objectives. Using the opportunities afforded by distance format rather than just thinking of it as a simulacrum of F2F.”

“The concepts, tools, strategies and pedagogical concerns I have learned both by the online modules and the face to face day will change the way I teach all of my courses.”

Many contributed to make the "Getting Started" series a success.

Skibba explained, “It was truly a team effort with many who volunteered their time and talent to make this event a success."