Recap: Emerging Changes in Teaching at UW-Madison

Teaching Academy banner. "Things are Different now... what are YOU noticing in you teaching?"The UW-Madison Teaching Academy held a Members+ conversation on April 24, 2024 that explored the top trends and changes participants have noticed in their educational spaces. Here are four of the key takeaways the ~30 educators discussed: 

  • Attendance: Discussants noted a shift in attendance, perhaps since the Remote Instruction during COVID. When virtual options exist, students prefer them. Others shared examples of students missing stretches of classes and trying to catch up after. 
  • Navigating Well-being: Educators acknowledged a rise in self-care and a growing impact from mental health struggles. While the consensus was to support students as much as possible, the challenge was raised of doing so effectively and equitably (while also taking care of our own mental health).
  • AI and “Cheating”: Discussants recognized that AI is changing the practices of teaching and learning — for better and worse. They noted the challenge of helping students harness it to help them through their learning processes rather than using it to shortcut those processes.
  • Personal Relevance: Some noted an uptick in student interest in personalized academic pathways that documented and showcased) their unique interests, skills, and specializations rather than one-size-fits-all degree plan. As technology develops to support this, we wonder how this might evolve and affect our teaching spaces.  

The conversation highlighted several other concerns including

  • The disparity between the cultural values of instructors raised in a less-tech-mediated world and those of students whose lives have been full of notifications and media interactions.
  • Student need for clarity and guidelines in policy (as assumptions change)
  • Time management and overwhelming demands — to what extent can/should academia flex to support the lives of its students (and educators)?


The discussion pointed to the urgent need to adapt T&L strategies and practices to fit our evolving reality. As the world continually reshapes, it is critical that the university evolves to continually foster policies and practices that support student learning, accountability, resilience, and their general quality of life.