Online Learning Initiative

Strengthening the University of Wisconsin educational experience online

The goal of this initiative is for faculty and staff at each campus to develop best practices in teaching and student support so that quality online education scales across the entire UW System, while also ensuring access and equity so that all students succeed.

Anny Morrobel-Sosa, Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs

As University of Wisconsin System universities welcome students back to campus this fall, many classes will have an online component, and some will be taught completely online. The Online Learning Initiative supports the work of UW System campuses as they strive to achieve student success in this environment.

Teaching & Advising

Faculty professional development opportunities focus on best practices in online instruction, retooling existing courses, creating new materials across multimedia platforms, delivery of synchronous and asynchronous learning, and effective support for student learning. The Teaching and Learning Centers at each UW System university are leading professional development for faculty on each campus, with $1.5 million in financial support from the Online Learning Initiative.

Professional development for Student Support staff is focused on best practices in student coaching and data-based intensive advising in online learning.


Because some students do not have the financial means to access information technology, they will gain access to laptops and tablets, as well as Wi-Fi networks and hotspots. The Senior Student Affairs Officers from each UW System university are leading professional development for student support staff, as well as need-based access to technology for students, with up to $500,000 in financial support from the Online Learning Initiative.

Best Practices

UW Extended Campus delivered professional development courses for faculty and student support staff, focused on best practices in online learning. The courses relate to online course planning, development, and instruction, and to student coaching. As a result, UW System campuses may freely use the resources delivered by these courses. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has engaged in initial discussion with the Online Learning Initiative to determine how school districts all across Wisconsin may freely use these resources. The Online Learning Initiative also will develop a certificate program based on the courses so that any UW System faculty and student support staff member can become certified in online instruction and student coaching.