Trends and Issues in Higher Ed

Innovators Among Us: Using Technology to Engage Students

Teaching with Technology  |  November 2014

Faculty and staff at all three University of Washington campuses are using their experience with recorded lectures, online discussions, and other teaching technologies both to improve learning for their students and to serve as resources for other faculty. “You get a handful of users in an academic unit who start to work together and then they create best practices that are disseminated to other folks in the department,” says Phil Reid, Professor of Chemistry and Associate Vice Provost, UW Information Technology (UW-IT), Academic Services. This report highlights the work of innovative faculty and staff working collaboratively to engage students through use of technology in face-to-face, hybrid, and online courses.
In all cases, the faculty profiled here put learning first: focusing on a learning goal and then determining which technology tool could help them best to reach that goal. Some find creative ways to use video, lecture capture, and Active Learning Classrooms in Seattle’s Odegaard Undergraduate Library. Others give careful consideration to guiding online discussions, replace traditional papers with digital assignments, run complex simulations, and ask students to act like professionals. Many share digital materials and expertise with colleagues department-wide. These faculty represent only a fraction of the excellent teaching at UW’s three campuses. For more profiles, see other reports in the Provost report series on “Trends and Issues Facing Higher Education.”


Teaching with Technology Fellows

Seven of the faculty featured in this report participated in the 2013-2014 Teaching with Technology Fellows (TTF) program, redesigning their courses with training and support from pedagogy and technology experts at the Center for Teaching and Learning and UW Information Technology (UW-IT) Learning Technologies. The TTF program was based on the philosophy that technology is not an end in itself, but an entry point to new ways of teaching that can engage students both face-to-face and online. Overall, 59 Fellows from 25 departments redesigned more than 40 courses (in which more than 5,000 students are enrolled), first determining which evidence-based pedagogies would best help their students learn, and only then selecting an appropriate technology tool or platform to meet their goals. They received ongoing IT tech support to assist in first offerings of the revamped courses and met throughout the year with TTF peers. They then shared their experiences with faculty outside the TTF program. The result was an increase across the UW in innovative teaching. TTF participants featured in this report are: A.J. Boydston, Colleen Craig, Colleen Dillon, Miriam Hirschstein, Dian Million, Lynn Hankinson Nelson, and Stefan Stoll.


The Center for Teaching and Learning: The Center for Teaching and Learning offers workshops and Faculty and Professional Learning Communities (FPLCs), as well as extensive resources on teaching with technology, active learning, large lecture instruction, and flipping the classroom.
UW Libraries: Resources at Odegaard Undergraduate Library include active learning classrooms, a new sound studio available for recording voice and instruments, and the newly remodeled video studio, which offers video recording, web conferencing, and media viewing.
UW Information Technology (UW-IT): UW-IT offers workshops for learning technologies including the learning management system Canvas and the new lecture-capture system Panopto. UW-IT Learning Technologies also offers one-on-one consultations for faculty and instructors looking to use technology for teaching. Faculty interested in speaking with a specialist in educational technologies can email
UW Bothell: The UW Bothell Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) offers faculty support, including monthly Teaching in Progress Seminars (TIPS), and resources on topics including online tools for collaboration and publishing to make student work public. For upcoming events, check the TLC schedule.
UW Tacoma: UW Tacoma’s Faculty Resource Center offers individual consultation and workshops on pedagogy and technology. Teaching Forum at UW Tacoma is a faculty-led group that meets monthly. Past forums include “Work smarter, not harder: Using technology to be a more productive teacher.” To join the conversation, post comments on the Forum blog.


Many thanks to the UW faculty, students, and staff who contributed their stories, and to the UW subject matter experts who lent their advice to this report series, including Colleen Carmean of UW Tacoma; Andreas Brockhaus and David Goldstein of UW Bothell; Beth Kalikoff and Christine Sugatan of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL); Tyler Fox and Cara Giacomini from UW Information Technology (UW-IT); Tomitha Blake, Academic & Student Affairs; Katy DeRosier of the Graduate School; and the members of the steering committee for the Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century Initiative, part of the UW Sustainable Academic Business Plan: Beth Kalikoff, Linda Martin-Morris, Phil Reid, Robert Stacey, Tom Stritikus, and Ed Taylor.


Series Editors

Gerald J. Baldasty, Senior Vice Provost for Academic and Student Affairs, Office of the Provost; Professor, Department of Communication
Marisa Nickle, Project Manager, Office of the Provost
Research, Writing, and Design
Kris Freeman, Public Information Specialist, Office of the Provost

Editing and Proofing

Elizabeth Barrett, Research Assistant, Office of the Provost
Ignacio Lobos, Communications Content Manager, UW Information Technology
Kay Pilcher, Communications Manager, UW Information Technology


Filiz Efe McKinney, Multimedia Producer, Office of the Provost
UW Today, Jeni Zaffram, and Miho Wright