Teaching in the Digital Learning Lab

“There are so many opportunities to incorporate technology in the classroom to enhance how faculty teach and how students learn. It is not about employing technologies simply as bells and whistles. It requires thinking hard about what we want students to learn and how technology can help achieve that.”

Rebecca Graves-Bayazitoglu
Director of the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning


At the McGraw Center's Digital Learning Lab (DLL), we view creative expression with multimedia tools as an essential component of 21st-century academic training.  To help integrate digital assignments in Princeton coursework, we offer a technology-rich classroom space paired with a staff of multimedia enthusiasts who are passionate about teaching. Our process for working with a course involves developing a plan, first, based on the faculty member's teaching style, syllabus, and learning goals. Listening, before offering technical solutions, allows the DLL to more effectively help build collaborative strategies that work for students and faculty through Dean’s Date. 

Since multimedia projects tend to be process-oriented, partnerships with the DLL often involve hands-on workshop sessions.  With experience in a wide range of creative and technical skills, DLL staff can teach a variety of topics and skill levels.  For those topics that are not dependent upon desktop software in the DLL, staff can also visit your classroom.  Recent course-partnerships have involved McGraw staff teaching video production and editing, audio recording and podcasting, digital storytelling, digital mapping and timelines, and web development. The DLL also regularly hosts workshops and we are always looking for curriculum-driven suggestions.

The Digital Learning Lab works with faculty to effectively utilize existing digital tools or, when necessary, develop new tools to address pedagogical goals.  We believe that good technologies for teaching and learning are rooted in the same principles as sound pedagogy, encouraging creativity, exploration, discovery, and collaboration.  We aim to promote and develop tools that are pedagogically effective, but also intuitive, sustainable, work well within the campus technology infrastructure, and are well-suited to the Princeton University community. 

The McGraw Center's DLL maintains a wide range of established platforms for teaching and learning such as blogs, wikis, and media curation tools on the McGraw Commons platform.  We also work with faculty to host specialized software on the DLL computers for teaching purposes. If existing online platforms or software are not sufficient, our educational technologists work with faculty to prototype, develop, and implement custom applications for teaching and learning. For those faculty members who may be interested in developing a custom teaching tools, the 250th Anniversary Fund for Innovation in Undergraduate Education may be a helpful resource.  The DLL often partners with recipients of this fund to plan and develop the technology aspects of their proposals, but an award is no way a prerequisite to collaborations with the Digital Learning Lab or the McGraw Center.

A Selection of 2016-2017 courses:

  • Martha Sandweiss, Freshman Seminar “Princeton and Slavery”(Fall 2016) – Visit the project website
  • Alison Isenberg and Purcell Carson, URB 202: “Documentary Film and the City” (Fall 2016, Fall 2017) – Visit the project website
  • Catalina Méndez Vallejo, SPA 211: “Varieties of Spanish” (Spring 2017) – Visit the project website
  • M. Christine Boyer, ARC 525: “Mapping the City” (Fall 2017)
  • Pedro Meira Monteiro and Charlie Hankin, PORS 304/LAS 311 “Topics in Brazilian Culture and Social History: Sound and Sense” (Fall 2017)

To learn more about teaching with technology in DLL: