Trends and Issues in Higher Ed

Innovators Among Us: When Technology Brings Learning to Life

Teaching with Technology  |  May 2016

This report details the innovative ways instructors are working hard to engage students, using technology as a means to improve the results. They are trying something new, and it’s paying off. Their students have responded—by getting involved, making connections, creating something original, even sharing their learning online for anyone to see.

The Innovators Among Us series aims to facilitate sharing best practices and celebrate that willingness to try something new.

This latest report, When Technology Brings Learning to Life, is, in itself, an example of “trying something new” through a partnership with UW Information Technology supported by the Center for Teaching and Learning and UW Libraries.

Each of the stories presented here were released over the past year on the Innovators Among Us website. Now they are gathered in a printable report and paired with another innovation: downloadable guides with best practices culled from each teaching technique. These are practical tips that can be replicated and applied to other classrooms and in different disciplines.

UW instructors are continually experimenting to improve their teaching methods and student learning outcomes. Countless people, from teaching consultants to learning technologists to graduate assistants and so many more, join in that tireless dedication to student learning—that is one of the strengths of a great university.

We look forward to telling more stories of those classroom experimenters who are finding new ways to engage students and measure the outcomes in the search for meaningful impact.

Thank you to the innovative instructors engaged in this work and to all of those committed to improving teaching and learning at the UW.

May 2016 Feature stories


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

Teaching & Learning at the UW Libraries provides teaching toolkits and services, including Odegaard Undergraduate Library’s active learning classrooms.

UW Information Technology (UW-IT)

UW-IT Academic Services works with UW faculty and departments to use technology to improve learning outcomes. Find workshops for tools including the learning management system Canvas and the 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 Video

UW Video is a complete video production studio. They provide video development, production, publishing and more.

UW Bothell

The UW Bothell Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) offers faculty support, including resources on topics including online tools for collaboration, and digital literacy and online publishing for student work. Check the TLC schedule for upcoming events. UW Bothell Learning Technologies provides support for the integration of technology in teaching and learning. Their website includes how-to guides, instructional resources and a blog.

The UW Bothell Learning Technologies unit offers faculty support including workshops, consultations, and institutes. They also have an extensive website with resources on a number of teaching/learning and technology subjects. They also support students through the Open Learning Lab.

UW Tacoma

UW Tacoma’s Faculty Resource Center offers training and support on new pedagogy and technology. The Teaching Forum meets monthly to discuss effective practice. Academic Innovation is supported by the Teaching, Learning & Technology group for on- ground, hybrid and online teaching.

Further reading

Useful blogs:

Agile Learning, Director of Vanderbilt’s Center for Teaching
GridKnowledge, UW Tacoma’s Assistant Chancellor for Instructional Technologies
Faculty Focus, Higher Ed Teaching Strategies From Magna Publications
Prof Hacker, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Teaching Forum: Talking Teaching at UW Tacoma
UW Bothell Learning Technologies
Wired Campus, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Online publications and virtual communities:

Campus Technology
eLearn Magazine
EdTech: Focus on Higher Education
EDUCAUSE, an online research community
HASTAC: Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory
re:Learning, The Chronicle of Higher Education


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 Andreas Brockhaus and Erin Hill of UW Bothell; John Burkhardt and Colleen Carmean of UW Tacoma; Calla Chancellor and Karen Freisam of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL); Sara Brownell and Mary Pat Wenderoth in the Department of Biology; Bridgette Kern, Elise Perachio and colleagues of University Marketing and Communications; Susan McCrary and colleagues of UW-IT.

Special thanks to the members of the Innovators Among Us Advisory Board:

  • Siobhan Bauer, Katie Kirkland, Marisa Nickle and Jillian Reddish of the Office of the Provost
  • Cindy Brown, Ignacio Lobos, Jade McDaniels, Nathan McKee, Phil Reid and Jason Smith of UW-IT
  • Nicole Feodorov, Beth Kaliko and Christine Sugatan of the Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Amanda Hornby of the UW Libraries

Series editors
Gerald J. Baldasty, Interim Provost and Executive Vice President
Marisa Nickle, Director of Strategy and Academic Initiatives, Office of the Provost

Editoral advisor
Cindy Brown, Director of Communications, UW Information Technology

Editorial Director and Report Designer: Jill Reddish, Graduate Student Assistant,Office of the Provost Editorial Director and Writer: Ignacio Lobos, Communications Content Manager, UW-IT
Web Editor: Jade McDaniels, Content Designer, UW-IT
Katie Kirkland, Project Manager of Strategy and Initiatives, Office of the Provost
Siobhan Bauer, Undergraduate Assistant, Office of the Provost

Filiz Efe McKinney, Multimedia Producer, Office of the Provost
Ignacio Lobos, Communications Content Manager, UW-IT

Copy editing
Kay Pilcher, Communications Manager, UW-IT