University of Wisconsin-Madison, Educational Innovation Small Grants Program University of Wisconsin-Madison, EI Brown Bag Discussion Series



The mission of EI is to engage and inspire students through enriched learning. To fulfill this mission, we will:

  1. Enable pervasive active learning to improve the student experience
  2. Build innovative, professional-level degree programs and other lifelong learning opportunities
  3. Extend the university’s educational mission to Wisconsin and the world using new technology and partnerships.


The vision of EI is to lead the university in providing an innovative, accessible and inclusive learning environment that fosters highly engaged learners capable of addressing the challenges of the modern world.



Enable pervasive active learning to improve the student experience.

  • Intensify meaningful, active learning experiences for students in alignment with the strategic goals of schools and colleges. Develop the support structures to foster an environment of active learning.
  • Incorporate active learning and new technologies to improve capacity and quality in high-demand, high-enrollment courses.
  • Align EI-sponsored initiatives with UW-Madison’s goals for diversity and inclusion, to improve learning outcomes and academic achievement for all students.

Build innovative, professional, master’s level degrees and other lifelong learning opportunities.

  • Expand the reach of UW-Madison professional, Master’s-level degrees, capstone certificate programs, and other credentials throughout the state, nation, and the world, in alignment with the strategic goals of schools and colleges and the market demand for such credentials.

Extend the university’s educational mission to Wisconsin and the world using new technology and partnerships.

  • Expand offerings to Wisconsin residents, alumni, and the world through mutually-beneficial collaborations with public, nonprofit, and private sector partners and through innovative technologies and delivery formats.
  • Enhance global awareness through international partnerships and technology-enhanced approaches to teaching and learning.


Student Digital Ecosystem

UW-Madison is building a next-generation student digital ecosystem to better support faculty, staff and students. The ecosystem will connect university-wide systems including student information, learning management and curriculum management systems, as well as digital assessment tools. The connection of systems will allow for interoperability and flexibility, improve information accessibility and consistency, and empower faculty, staff and students with new tools and capabilities to achieve success. As shown in the figure ...

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The REACH project aims to transform large, introductory, lecture-based courses into sustainable, active learning environments that increase students’ engagement in their own learning.

The project will build on successful innovations across campus that strive to enhance the undergraduate experience through student-centered learning practices. REACH will not only reinforce the common goal among these efforts, but will extend their reach to encompass tens of thousands of first- and second-year students over ...

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UW-Madison & Unizin

In late September 2014, after a summer of exploring and openly discussing the prospect of joining Unizin with governance bodies and key stakeholders, UW-Madison officially joined Unizin, a consortium of major universities across the U.S. that are working to assemble a standards-based set of digital tools for teaching and learning.

With these tools, which span the areas of course management, learning analytics and content ...

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UW-Madison Canvas Pilot

The UW-Madison campus-wide Canvas pilot has now come to a close. Based on positive results from pilot studies and campus feedback, UW-Madison is transitioning to the Canvas learning management system (LMS) over the next two years. The plan is to adopt Canvas as the single, centrally supported LMS, and to discontinue campus licensing of D2L and Moodle by 2018. Learn more about transitioning to Canvas at UW-Madison.

Participation ...
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Blended Learning

With a goal to enable pervasive active learning and improve the student experience at UW-Madison, the EI Initiative strives to support the growing number of blended learning efforts occurring across campus. In particular, the EI partners with DoIT Academic Technology to offer Blend@UW and the Blended Learning Fellowship Program.

Blended learning can come in many shapes and forms, and can assume a number of ...

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Online Learning

Online learning is a prevalent and key element in each of EI’s three main goals. As such, EI remains steadfast in its recognition and encouragement of online learning across campus. In particular, EI partners with the Division of Continuing Studies to develop and expand high-quality, online academic programs and provides funding to support the TeachOnline@UW Program.

UW-Madison’s Design+Teach+Engage website also provides additional resources ...

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Open Educational Resources (OER)

UW‐Madison has identified the adoption and production of Open Educational Resources (OER) as a priority within the Educational Innovation (EI) Initiative, and in connection with the university’s Unizin efforts. The advantages of increased use of OER for instruction include enhanced attainment of learning outcomes, greater flexibility and more diverse pathways for students when accessing learning materials, greater flexibility for instructors to customize instructional materials, and lower course material costs ...

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Committed to extending UW-Madison’s educational mission to Wisconsin and the world, and providing lifelong learning opportunities, EI contributed significant support for the university’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) efforts. MOOCs are unique virtual teaching, learning and research experiences that are not for credit, aimed at unlimited participation and available at no cost to learners around the world.

In 2013-14, the University of Wisconsin-Madison launched four pilot MOOCs in partnership with ...

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EI Small Grant Program

The EI Small Grant Program supports faculty and instructional staff in their efforts to experiment with new technologies and new ways of learning. The program is modestly funded and plans to award 8-10 grants. The maximum amount for each grant is $10,000. This year, we are seeking proposals that focus on implementing and/or enhancing blended or online courses.

Proposal Requirements

All proposals must:

  • Address implementing and/or enhancing a ...
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2016-17 EI Brown Bag Series

The EI Brown Bag Series offers faculty and staff the opportunity to learn more about the wide variety of educational innovations occurring across campus. Please join us over the course of the year for one or more of the following events.

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EI Small Grant Stimulates Active, Student-Centered Learning

Biochemistry 501: Introduction to Biochemistry is being taught in the summer for the first time thanks, in part, to an EI Small Grant. The grant funding has helped to redesign the course and to stimulate more active learning. Additionally, offering the course in the summer has increased scheduling flexibility for students and alleviated persistent botteleneck issues. Read More


EI Brown Bag Series - Adopting Canvas at UW-Madison

Noon-1:15pm, Union South
Register now
Based on positive results from pilot studies and campus feedback, UW-Madison is transitioning to the Canvas learning management system (LMS) over the next two years. The plan is to adopt Canvas as the single, centrally supported LMS on campus, and to discontinue campus support for D2L and Moodle by 2018.

Canvas is being used in over 560 credit-based courses this ...

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EI Around Campus

Photo: Students in flipped classroom
Graduate students, postdocs and professors in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields share deep devotions to rigorous inquiry. However, many early-career investigators need a little help learning how to lead a classroom. To help them become more effective teachers, a series of free online courses is being offered by [...]
Tue, May 31, 2016
Source: EI Around Campus
Sarah Mangelsdorf
A $1.5 million gift to UW–Madison from alumni Ricky and Mara Sandler will be used to improve student learning by increasing students' engagement in large, introductory lecture-based courses. The gift from the Sandlers, both 1991 graduates of the university, is for the Educational Innovation (EI) Initiative's REACH project. The project will [...]
Tue, Mar 08, 2016
Source: EI Around Campus
Photo: Laura Schmitt and student writers
Laura Schmitt (left) with Green Bay writers participating at the Artstreet literary stage. Schmitt created The Quill — a new literary journal for middle and high school students in Green Bay. Photo: Dave Lassen On a warm August afternoon last summer, a group of nervously excited young writers took to a small [...]
Mon, Nov 02, 2015
Source: EI Around Campus
Photo: Jonathan Patz
Jonathan Patz, who will teach “Climate Change Policy and Public Health,” was a lead author for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the organization that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. “Climate Change Policy and Public Health,” the sixth and final Massive Open Online Course offered by the [...]
Tue, Oct 27, 2015
Source: EI Around Campus


Advisory Committee

The EI Advisory Committee supports the initiative in the following areas:

  • Policy – identifying, prioritizing and understanding policy issues needed to advance EI in alignment with the institution’s mission and values
  • Engagement – facilitating broad campus participation and involvement of faculty, staff and students
  • Direction and success – determining the strategic direction and progress of EI

View list of governance members…


The primary aim of the UCAAA is to support, enhance and coordinate academic and co-curricular programs and educational achievement across campus, with a focus on student learning, effective teaching and improving the educational experience of all students.  The committee also serves as an advisory council for EI.

View list of governance members…


The EI initiative continues to develop partnerships across campus in support of its core mission to inspire and engage students through enriched learning opportunities. Thanks to the innovative efforts of our talented faculty, staff and students, educational innovations continue to occur throughout our university every day. The following is an ever-evolving list of our partners. Please take a look and find out more!


EI Co-Leads:

Jeffrey Russell,

Vice Provost for Lifelong Learning, & Dean, Division of Continuing Studies (DCS)

Areas of focus: Lifelong learning opportunities, post-baccalaureate degrees and certificates, Summer Term, academic calendar, MOOCs


Find more information about DCS.

Steven Cramer,

Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning

Areas of focus: Academic affairs, teaching and learning programs, active learning initiatives, advising, academic planning, accreditation, REACH, Unizin, UW-Madison Canvas Pilot


Visit the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning’s website.

EI Senior Fellows:

Gregory Moses,

Harvey D. Spangler Professor of Engineering Physics

Areas of focus: REACH project Co-lead

Kris Olds,

Professor, Department of Geography

Areas of focus: Open Educational Resources (OERs), internationalization at home, MOOCs

Academic Planning & Institutional Research:

Jocelyn Milner,

Director, Academic Planning and Institutional Research (APIR)

Areas of focus: Course approvals; academic program planning, approval, and review; learning analytics, peer analysis, and decision-support; accreditation; accountability


Find more information about APIR.

Academic Technology:

Linda Jorn,

Associate Vice Provost for Learning Technologies, and Director of DoIT Academic Technology

Areas of focus: Technology-enhanced teaching and learning, learning technology infrastructure, REACH, Unizin, UW-Madison Canvas Pilot, MOOCs


Find more information about DoIT AT.

Sarah Miller,

Service Leader for Faculty Engagement, DoIT Academic Technology

Areas of focus: REACH project Co-lead, Blend@UW, Blended Learning Fellowship Program

Assessment, Evaluation & Curricular Redesign:

Mo Bischof,

Associate Vice Provost, Office of the Provost

Areas of focus: Student learning assessment, curricular development, faculty development, course evaluation, accreditation, EI communication strategy and planning


Visit the UW-Madison assessment website.

EI Communications:

Caitlin O'Brien,

Communication Coordinator, Office of the Provost

Areas of focus: EI communication strategy and planning, EI story development and writing, EI website management, EI Small Grant Program, EI funded projects and events coordination

Post-Baccalaureate Degree & Certificate Programs:

Katy Duren,

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, DCS

Areas of focus: Post-baccalaureate degree and certificate programs, curricular development, academic planning and approval, program revenue


Learn more at

Quality Improvement:

Maury Cotter,

Director, Office of Quality Improvement (OQI)

 Areas of focus: Goal development, strategy facilitation


Visit the OQI website.

Summer Term:

Sarah Barber,

Director, Summer Term, DCS

Areas of focus: Summer term, program revenue, academic program planning, academic calendar


Learn more about Summer Term.

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Contact Form

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