IT Connect
Information technology tools and resources at the UW

Encourage Responsibility for Learning

In order to successfully learn, students should be put in charge of their own education. Instructors can encourage students to take greater responsibility in their instruction by facilitating their access to resources, expectations, lines of communication, and opportunities for contribution and collaboration.

Common Goals

  • Provide clear expectations for students.
  • Help students find and use resources.
  • Encourage student-directed discussions.
  • Give students the opportunity to guide their own learning.


Options to encourage responsibility for learning are suggested below.

Course Web site

A course Web site can be the gateway to resources for students. By creating a course Web site you can allow students to easily access course requirements, syllabi, lecture slides, homework assignments, and announcements at any time, from home or school. Catalyst offers quarterly workshops to help you plan and develop your course website. You can also find step-by-step instructions for creating a Web site by following the links below.
Planning Considerations

Catalyst GoPost tool

With GoPost, instructors and students can create Web-based discussion boards where students can compare notes, discuss class content, and work together online. Messages can be posted and read with any Web browser. You have control over who can access the GoPost forum, and you can even allow students to use alternate screen names to make them feel more comfortable.
Planning Considerations

Catalyst Portfolio Tool

The Catalyst Portfolio Tool allows students to collect, annotate, arrange, and display on the Web a variety of digital artifacts that illustrate their accomplishments. By creating a portfolio project for your students, you can encourage them to take responsibility for their learning. Portfolios can also be published to the Web for others to view, potentially opening up the audience of the individual student’s assignment to the general public.
Planning Considerations

Catalyst WebQ Survey and Quiz Tool

WebQ makes it easy to create online, interactive surveys and quizzes. WebQ is particularly useful as a student self-assessment tool, as it allows students to auto-score their answers and verify their understanding of course material. Students can also use WebQ to create their own survey and gather information for their projects.
Planning Considerations

Catalyst UMail Tool

UMail allows your students to send emails to you or to your assistants through the Web. You have the option of making it anonymous so that your students feel free to share their opinions. By responding to student comments over email or in class, you can make your course more student-oriented.
Planning Considerations


Wikis are Web sites that can be browsed and easily edited by anyone with Internet access and a Web browser. They can be a very useful tool to encourage students’ responsibility for learning and can provide a common space for students to review and comment on a variety of course or research related materials. Not only can students easily collaborate on a project using a Wiki, they can also easily make it public and invite experts in the field to react to their contribution.

Campus Resources

  • Learning Technologies Workshops – The Catalyst team offers workshops that help you use technology to encourage your students to take responsibility for their learning. Participation in Catalyst workshops is free for all UW instructors, employees, and students. Advance registration is required in some workshops.
  • Center for Teaching & Learning (CTL) CTL offers a variety of resources and services designed to promote effective teaching and learning. The center is open to all UW faculty and teaching assistants.
  • The Educational Opportunity Program, administered by the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity, provides student services primarily for underrepresented ethnic minority and economically and educationally disadvantaged (first generation) students. Students must apply to this program. You can refer your students to the EOP Web page for details.