MADISON — The University of Wisconsin System and its 13 universities will strengthen online teaching and advising while ensuring students have access to the technology they need thanks to the generosity of a confidential donor.

The online learning initiative is funded through a $2 million gift prompted by the rapid transition to remote instruction in March.

“Last March, our faculty, staff and students did a great job adapting to online teaching, advising and learning, and UW System laid the groundwork to make a rapid pivot successful,” said UW System President Tommy Thompson in a news release. “The online learning initiative will give us the tools to get better.”

UW System universities are planning to welcome students back to campus this fall. But many classes will have an online component, and some will be taught completely online.

The initiative has four parts:

Faculty professional development: Continual faculty development focuses on best practices in online instruction, retooling existing courses, creating new materials across multimedia platforms, delivery of synchronous and asynchronous learning, and effective support for student learning.

Professional development for student support staff: Professional development will focus on best practices in student coaching and data-based intensive advising in online learning.

Needs-based access to technology: Because some students do not have the financial means to access information technology, they will gain access to laptops and tablets, as well as Wi-Fi networks and hotspots.

Best practices in online learning: UW Extended Campus delivered four professional development courses for faculty and student support staff, focused on best practices in online learning. Three courses relate to online course planning, development and instruction, and one course relates to student coaching.