Part 11 – Spring 2020 Labs

210 Supporting Mental Health in Canvas – 01.23.2020

On January 23, 2020, participants in the Active Teaching Lab met to discuss how specific features within Canvas can be mindfully used to support students. Participants shared past experiences, current practices, and suggestions for how best to anticipate the needs of our students and in ways that helps everyone in the course.


  • Be proactive vs. Reactive: You may not see or know about the issues students are facing (and they may not either!) so build flexibility into your schedule and assignments! Encourage students to work ahead when possible. 
  • Avoid high-stakes times: Break high-stakes tests or other assignments into multiple, lower-stakes assessments to lower student stress — and for better (distributed) learning. Avoid timed tests as they’re less valid, less reliable, less inclusive, and less equitable (source).
  • Ask what they need!: Anonymously please, as some may not want to out themselves to you or other students. The more you ask students (about anything, really), the more you’ll understand them, and the more they’ll feel that you care. Feeling that their instructor believes in them is a huge factor in student success (here are others)!

To learn more, visit the session’s activity sheet.

The Active Teaching Lab is a Faculty Engagement program with sessions held on Thursdays from 1:00-2:00pm and Fridays from 8:30-9:45am in the Middleton Building (1305 Linden Dr.), room 120. Check out upcoming Labs or read the recaps from past Labs. We build interdisciplinary conversations that are more emergent than a presenter and more dynamic than a panel — a conversation with colleagues sharing challenges, solutions, and experiments on topics selected by a variety of stakeholders.

Sign up for regular Lab announcements by sending an email to


Active Teaching Lab eJournal Copyright © 2016 by DoIT Academic Technology and the UW-Madison Teaching Academy; Jennifer Hornbaker; John Martin; Julie Johnson; Karin Spader; Margaret Merrill; Margaret Murphy; and Jeffrey Thomas. All Rights Reserved.

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