January 21 Update

Greetings Spring 2021 Instructors,

Hello and Happy New Year! We are once again reaching out with available support for your spring courses. As before, these messages will be archived on the MERIT Instructional Support page. The MERIT Instructional Support page also contains other helpful resources. Additionally, the campus instructional continuity page offers many resources as well. Let us know if we can help you find something.

General Assistance

Connect with our instructional design staff for consults and assistance with your courses (questions about Canvas, Breakout Rooms, Course design, etc.) Also, let us know if you need any hardware (Webcams, Video Recorders, Tripods, etc.) Email us at canvas@education.wisc.edu.

Contact MERIT Library to put your course materials on reserve.

Request a TechTA, an hourly student assistant, to support the technology during your synchronous online courses.

The university’s recommended course syllabus template has been updated to outline new expectations for students and guidelines for instructors, particularly for in-person courses, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Breakout Rooms are now available in MS Teams.


Zoom is now available within Canvas. Please note, you need to enable Zoom for it to appear within Canvas. Also, please note that while you cannot preload breakout groups directly through the Canvas-Zoom integration, there is a workaround.

The Rich Content Editor within Canvas has been turned on, so editing your Canvas content will look different. Please refer to this Canvas Basics Guide for a breakdown of the new rich content editor. Additionally, this guide covers several common ways to modify text. If you’d prefer a video breakdown of the new Rich Content Editor, you may find it on this Canvas guide.

We’re excited to share that users can now select their pronouns within Canvas.

Other Canvas Tips

Improving Student-to-Student Interactions

If you are looking for ways to increase student-to-student engagement in your courses, check out the resources below.

Professional Development Reminders

There will be professional development opportunities available this semester. Please see the links below on how to take advantage of them.

We look forward to helping you and your students succeed. Please let us know how we can help.


Anna Lewis & the Instructional Support Team (Maria Widmer, Bill Weber, Jim Jonas, Julie Collins, Julie Mead, Sandra Taylor-Marshall, and Amanda Fowler)