Pilots of new technologies for teaching and learning

Last updated: February 17, 2024
Audience: Instructors


UW-IT’s Teaching & Learning Systems unit provides ad hoc evaluation and assessment of digital learning tools that are designed to meet campus needs. Instructors, students, and staff are important partners in this work; feedback from users is critical to our decision-making process and helps us to inform vendors about where their products do or do not yet meet expectations. Whether or not we recommend a technology for adoption and central support depends in part on:

  • The breadth of the potential audience for the tool
  • How well the technology meets user needs
  • How easy it is to use and support
  • How well it meets UW’s accessibility standards
  • The cost of adoption

Each year, we choose a limited number of technologies to pilot test and evaluate. While requirements for participation may vary, all pilot participants are asked to provide feedback on their experience, typically through focus groups or short surveys distributed by UW-IT.

Participant eligibility

We encourage interested faculty and staff to test our selected technologies and provide feedback. Because pilot agreements with vendors often mean we are limited in the number of users we can enroll, we seek participants who can make a firm commitment to:

  • Participate in or watch a short “getting started” webinar about the tool
  • Explore and test multiple features of the tool
  • Provide feedback at the end of the quarter
  • Invite and make time for students to provide feedback

Our goal is to create a vibrant community of early adopters who inspire one another with their teaching experiments (we enthusiastically welcome participants who want to share examples of how they used the tool in their course) and, where needed, inform the development of new features. We share what we learn from pilot participants with the vendor so that the technology can be improved and better meet user needs.

Technology pilots for 2023-2024

During the 2023-24 academic year, UW-IT will be working to support instructors who want to use Feedback Fruits’ Peer Review or Group Member Evaluation — two tools that were piloted in 2022-23 and are now centrally available. Although we will not be conducting an official pilot this year, we are available to assist anyone who would like to test two additional tools from the Feedback Fruits suite:

  • The Self-Assessment tool allows individuals and groups to evaluate their own work or skills using criteria and rubrics created by the instructor.
  • The Team-Based Learning (TBL) tool is specifically designed to support the TBL pedagogical strategy of individual and team knowledge acquisition and collaborative problem solving.

Learn more about these tools and how to add them to your Canvas course.