Part 9: Spring 2019 Labs

173 Team Teaching – 04.18.2019

While often difficult to negotiate, team teaching done well benefits learners with varied perspectives and benefits instructors with less workload. At the April 18, 2019 Active Teaching Lab, 10 participants discussed how to manage the time, resources, and expertise of a team for harmonious course planning and delivery. Attendees swapped stories on navigating Canvas instructor roles, file and slide management, and design decisions with a group.


  • At the outset, team teaching may require more resources (i.e. time and planning) than individual teaching. Acknowledge and embrace this possibility going in to avoid frustrations and persevere long enough to reap the efficiency benefits of a mature, work-sharing team.  
  • Clearly establish expectations for the teaching team, including roles, who takes the lead when, conflict resolution processes, in-person and remote collaboration plans, and participation/attendance in classes.  
  • Meet with an experienced teaching team to discuss what has and hasn’t worked for them as well as to identify potential sticking points and their possible solutions.
  • Build coherence by co-planning curriculum rather than taking the divide-and-conquer approach. Likewise, decide on a consistent method of Canvas course organization and presentation to take the cognitive load of navigating different systems off the students.
  • Inform students of the purpose and organization of the teaching team. Tell them (or, better yet, help them discover for themselves!) how the team approach benefits their learning. Clarify roles and to whom they should direct questions.

For more information on team teaching, 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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