Getting Ready to Teach

Course Development

Some new instructors come to UWGB with years of teaching experience, and others have never developed and led their own class. Regardless of the background you bring, CATL is here to help you prepare for your first semester teaching here. What we really encourage you to do is to set up a consultation with a member of our team to talk about your specific needs, whether that is help developing your syllabus, designing a class, logging into Canvas for the first time, or assistance with implementing your tried and true active learning strategies with the technologies we have at our institution. 

We also have many resources on our website and blog that may be helpful to you as you prepare your first courses. As you are constructing your syllabus, you can access the Provost Office guidelines and resources, including a syllabus template and checklist. Using the template is optional; however, you must include all the “required” items on the syllabus checklist. CATL also has a liquid syllabus template which can be imported into your Canvas courses upon request, and we have assembled some sample language for different policies and syllabus elements on our Syllabus Snippets page.  

When it comes to developing your actual course, we encourage you to meet with one of CATL’s instructional designers. You can also explore our Planning a Course resources on CATL’s blog. This overview page of elements of course design may be a good place to start. One of our team members can also talk with you about assignment design and approaches such as the Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TiLT) framework. In addition, we are prepared to talk to you about assessments in your classes and about creating a course, assignments, and assessments that follow principles of universal design and consider both accessibility and equity, diversity, and inclusion.   

Please also consider reaching out to our library as a resource as you prepare to teach. They offer library instruction for classes, and each college has its own liaison librarian who you should get to know. The librarians can also help you explore the wide variety of books, films, journals, and other learning materials in our collections and assist you with fair use and copyright guidelines. Using resources through the library as instructional materials can save students money and increase their access to content (e.g., using mobile-friendly digital resources).  

Teaching and Technology

Another element of getting ready to teach at UWGB is familiarizing yourself with our instructional technologies, including Canvas, our Learning Management System (LMS). All courses are automatically assigned a “shell” in Canvas and most instructors use it, whether they are teaching in person or online. You can use Canvas to share course materials, communicate with your class, set up online submissions for assignments, and maintain a gradebook that is easily accessible for students.

There are a variety of ways to get started learning Canvas. You can reach out to CATL to set up a consultation to get an overview of the platform from one of our designers or technologists. We also have a self-paced LITE 101 course that was developed to help instructors get to know both Canvas and our other instructional technologies, as well as UWGB’s course modalities. If you'd like to be added to the LITE 101 course, just email All instructors have access to 24-hour/day, 7-day/week support from Canvas itself, and they are your go-to resource since it is their product! If you have a specific question or problem, call, email, or live chat with them as your first step, and they will be able to access your UWGB course and assist you. They also have an official Canvas instructor guide and community forums. If Canvas support cannot help with your particular Canvas concern, you can contact CATL, and we will do our best to assist you. 

If your students have difficulties with Canvas, they should reach out directly to Canvas support via live chat or phone, use the Help button within their Canvas course, or refer to the Canvas student guide, rather than contact the UWGB Service Desk or CATL. Please emphasize the 24/7 availability of the Canvas live chat and help lines in your syllabus and communications with your classes.  

Canvas supports a variety of third-party tools and integrations, but all tools must go through a vetting process by UW System before they can be used in a UWGB Canvas course. Some of the most common Canvas integrations at our institution include Kaltura, PlayPosit, Hypothesis, and Zoom. If you would like to learn about any of these tools and how you might use them in your course, we encourage you to set up a consultation with a CATL team member.

The classroom technology that you have at your disposal will vary depending on what modality you are teaching in and, by extension, which classroom you are assigned (if applicable). Once you know which classroom you are teaching in, you can request to meet with one of the university’s knowledgeable IT specialists to get training on how to use the equipment and software in your space. Contact the IT Service Desk to get connected with a classroom technology specialist on your campus. 

UWGB has licenses for both Microsoft Teams and Zoom. If you are looking for a more streamlined integration with Canvas, we recommend using Zoom, but both are available as options for your virtual class meetings or office hours. Here are some resources to get you started with using either Zoom or Teams. You can also find in-depth technical guides on these tools by searching the UWGB IT Knowledgebase and on the Microsoft and Zoom vendor support websites. 


Getting ready to teach can seem challenging at first, but with the right tools and resources, you will have all the support you need to get your course ready for your students! As always, we welcome you to request a CATL consultation if you’d like to learn more about developing your course and the teaching technologies that are available to you and your class learning environment.