Ready, Set, Teach!

Start the semester with confidence and coordination

Ready, Set, Teach! is offered before the start of the spring and fall semesters. Whether you are teaching for the first time or returning, this one-day workshop will give you:

  • Focused time to think about your teaching
  • Ideas for new, evidence-based approaches you can apply right away
  • Connections with teaching colleagues

Coming August 28


Photo of the Ready, Set, Teach! program showing participants seated at round tables in Varsity Hall listening to a speaker at the podium.

What participants say

“The syllabus session helped me think about changes I can make to my syllabus to make it more clear and inclusive.”

“The group discussions facilitated learning in action … Great instructors, too!”

“I enjoyed interacting with the folks at my table. They shared a lot of experiences that enhanced my learning.”

Meet the facilitators

Julie Hunt Johnson

Position title: Program Manager

Cliff Cunningham

Position title: Learning Technologies Consultant & Trainer (DoIT Academic Technology)

Emily Hall

Position title: Director (Writing Across the Curriculum)

Todd Lundberg

Position title: Associate Director for Campus Partner Engagement

Mary Thompson

Position title: Senior Assessment Manager (Student Learning Assessment)

Thomas J. Tobin

Position title: Senior Teaching and Learning Developer

Event program

NOTE: This is the schedule from January 2024. The slate of sessions for August 2024 has not yet been determined. Please check back for updates closer to the event date.

8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, January 17, 2024

8:30 a.m. Registration and light breakfast

9 a.m. Welcome – Megan Schmid, Ph.D., Associate Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning and Director of the Center for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring (CTLM)

9:15 a.m. Session 1: Building Blocks for Engagement & Achievement – Julie Hunt Johnson, Ph.D., Program Manager, Instructor Engagement and Innovation, CTLM

Connection & belonging are not just “nice to have” – they are the essential foundation upon which student engagement and achievement are built. In this session, you will get to know other event participants and explore strategies to build connections with (and among) students on day one.

9:50 a.m. Break

10 a.m. Session 2: Enhance Learning with Low-Stakes Writing Activities – Emily Hall, Ph.D., Director, Writing Across the Curriculum and Undergraduate Writing Fellows Program

Low-stakes writing activities serve a number of important roles in the classroom, whether in biology or sociology or mathematics. Writing before, during, or after class can deepen student learning, provide valuable formative assessment, and contribute to students’ sense of belonging. As a form of active learning, low-stakes writing can help students to draw connections among course concepts; practice skills in summary, evaluation, and justification; and reflect on gaps or challenges in their learning. In this session, you’ll learn how to design low-stakes writing activities that you can add to your active learning repertoire – without adding significantly more labor for you.

10:50 a.m. Break

11 a.m. Session 3: Assessment as Feedback – Mary Thompson, Ph.D., Senior Assessment Manager, Student Learning Assessment, Division for Teaching and Learning

12 p.m. Lunch

12:30 p.m. (during lunch) Session 4: Deepen Engagement Using Instructional Technology – Cliff Cunningham, M.S., Learning Technologies Consultant & Trainer, Division of Information Technology (DoIT) Academic Technology (AT) – Learn@UW-Madison

1 p.m. Session 5: Articulate Your Course as Opportunity to Learn – Todd Lundberg, Ph.D., Associate Director, Campus Partner Engagement, CTLM

Now more than ever, teachers are challenged with designing and redesigning opportunities to learn that include and challenge diverse learners and guide learners toward skills, knowledge, and ways of being that matter in learners’ lives. Good content is necessary and insufficient. In this session you will focus on a course that you teach and

  1. reflect on a design process that centers opportunity to learn,
  2. clarify the opportunity to learn that your course offers you and all of your students, and
  3. articulate the ways in which course assessments and activities plot an opportunity to learn.

Activities: As an individual, group, or instructional team, participants will review a design process (including a template for writing “transparent” course materials) and then use the process to analyze how they assess and facilitate a course learning outcome. As part of the process, participants will work with the Transparency in Teaching and Learning framework to refine select course materials–syllabus, assessment descriptions, activity descriptions.

1:50 p.m. Break

2 p.m. Session 6: Lower Barriers for Learners – And for You – with Universal Design for Learning – Thomas J. Tobin, Ph.D., Senior Teaching and Learning Developer, CTLM

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are priorities for all of us. In this session, you’ll discover the “step zero” that makes all of our DEIB efforts possible: access. When we focus our learning interactions on how our students get access to materials, each other, instructors, support services, and the community, we strengthen their sense of belonging as learners. Through the universal design for learning (UDL) framework, you’ll learn concrete steps that you can take tomorrow that help to lower barriers, anxiety, and stress—for your students and for you. Come learn how to take some work off your plate as you engage with your students.

Activities: Identify one “pinch point”: an activity or interaction with learners that doesn’t go as you’ve planned it, over and over again. How might a “plus one” design help to lower barriers or provide more options for engagement, taking in information, or showing what learners know?

2:50 p.m. Next Steps & Closing – Julie Hunt Johnson, Ph.D., Program Manager, Instructor Engagement and Innovation, CTLM

We have set this time aside for independent reflection and table sharing. Participants will be prompted to reflect on today’s event and consider next steps. Past participants have shared that hearing ideas and plans from other instructors is one of the most valuable takeaways from this event.