University of Wisconsin–Madison

WSB Faculty Teaching Innovation Survey – Spring 2021

Mid-spring semester 2021, a survey was sent to all WSB faculty and instructors who have taught during the pandemic, and general trends were taken away and analyzed. The response rate was 64% with 79 responses. The survey consisted of one question asking if the pandemic had made them a better teacher and four open-ended questions to express how they coped with the challenges of the pandemic and what lessons learned they plan to keep.

Three out of four faculty found the challenges of the pandemic had made them better teachers. A majority of instructors found the biggest challenge was engaging students without in-person interactions. Some instructors indicated that technology was what hindered their teaching the most. A few other instructors were hindered by the delivery of assessments, making of asynchronous videos, and various problems with Canvas.

Responses to the survey indicated three popular intentions to continue post-pandemic

placeholder imageSmall Group Discussions
A little more than a third of instructors plan to continue to utilize small-group discussions to increase engagement in their face-to-face and online classrooms. Learn more about engaging students through small group discussions in face-to-face and online sessions.

placeholder imagePre-recorded Video Presentations
Continue using pre-recorded videos to present course materials and use class time for interactive discussions. A flipped classroom approach.

placeholder imageIncreased Student Communication
Instructors plan to continue a higher level of communication with their students. During the pandemic, instructors become more structured and proactive in their communications. This included modular/topic organization in their Canvas course websites. They found their communications with students to become more clear, concise, and consistent.

A smaller number of instructors also mentioned two additional approaches which they plan to continue to utilize post-pandemic. 

  • Redesign assessment to more low-stakes quizzes with less memorization.
  • Using additional technologies to increase synchronous engagement, such as live interactive documents and real-time polling.

Overall instructors are exploring how to incorporate their newly learned technology teaching methods into their post-pandemic face-to-face courses. Many mentioned intentions to continue to utilize online meetings, especially for faculty office hours.

Just as the transition to remote delivery of courses was challenging, finding the new normal with lessons learned during the pandemic will present some challenges.

While transitioning back to in-person instruction in the fall will be a bumpy road for everyone, there are many possibilities for incorporating the skills learned from remote delivery to the post-pandemic environment. Overall student engagement should be increased, synchronous lectures will resolve many communication issues, and interacting face to face with students will greatly enhance the teaching and learning experience.