Teaching Tools

The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning encourages the exploration of new media and digital tools in and around the classroom with an emphasis on the tools and technology-enhanced spaces that encourage active, collaborative, and creative teaching and learning. Center staff not only offer advice on the effective implementation of new technologies but also assist in the development of online course and new digital projects exploring the boundaries of digital pedagogy and collaborate with campus partners to connect teachers with the most effective resources and expertise. Through events and workshops, the Center encourages a critical reflection on the use of those tools and fosters discussion around the impact and merits of digital tools and the teaching methodologies afforded by those tools.

Digital platforms for learning

The Online Learning Environments group support a number of online platforms for delivering course content to students as well as tools for them to engage in individual and collaborative work. Online coursework may take the form of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Flipped, hybrid or blended courses, or Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs).  For more information, visit the Online Learning Environments Initiative page.

The McGraw Commons is Princeton’s digital platform for course blogs, wikis, and galleries. Blogs can be made available publically, restricted to campus, or to the participants of the course.

Google Apps for Education provides numerous tools that lend themselves to collaborative coursework, including, Google Drive, Google Sites, and Google Hangouts.

The Educational and Classroom Technologies (ECT) group routinely works with faculty to plan,  prototype, and develop custom online platforms for teaching and learning. Examples of such projects include archives and databases, websites for public scholarship, and annotation tools.

Blackboard, Princeton’s learning management system, features assessment tools and rubrics to help you create tests that are automatically graded, and offer feedback. Rubrics help to ensure grading consistency across your instructional team. The ECT group can assist you in using these tools effectively in a way that enhances your pedagogical goals.

Instructional materials development

Staff of the Educational and Classroom Technology (ECT) group and the Online Learning Environments group in McGraw routinely assist in the development and delivery of instructional materials including the digitization of analog materials, video streaming, the creation of maps and visualizations, and course websites.

Technology-enhanced classrooms and flipped Instruction

Swivl is an easy-to-use, robotic mount for video capture that tracks the location of an accompanying remote control. With 360 degrees rotation, the Swivl ensures that the speaker is always captured on video.

The Wacom Cintiq display tablet, located in the Digital Learning Lab, but also available for loan to Princeton faculty, is a large-screen, pen-enabled display allowing you to draw and edit directly on the surface of the screen.  With an accompanying webcam and screen capture software, faculty can record instructional video with voice-over narration.

Multimedia production and digital narrative

The Digital Learning Lab provides the software, support, and expertise in support of audio and video assignments. Examples of past class projects include podcasts, video essays,  student-created mini-documentaries, and featurettes. The Digital Learning Lab not only features software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere useful in multimedia production, but also expertise and support for training.

Tools such as Knight Lab’s TimelineJS, StorymapJS from Northwestern University, Palladio from Stanford’s Humanities + Design Research Lab, and ArcGIS Online’s StoryMap platform are easy-to-use online tools that simplify the creation of maps, visualizations, timelines, and multimedia narratives.

Assessment and feedback

Classroom Response Systems allow you to prompt students with questions during class and get immediate feedback via ‘clickers’ or an online clicker analog, generating real-time graphs of responses. Classroom response systems can encourage participation and collaboration even in very large classes.

Software tools such as Piazza, accessible through the University’s Blackboard course management system, and AnswerGarden, an online tool for word cloud style audience feedback, provide simple ways to communicate with students both inside and outside of class.

The ECT group maintains an automated grading device used to automatically score multiple-choice, bubble-sheet assessments. Tests can be quickly graded using an instructor-provided answer key. Each test can have up to four variants and 100 questions. Analytical tools can help to identify “bad” questions and provide data on your class performance. Some answer sheets also have a space for subjective grading (such as a short essay) that can be manually graded and included in the auto-graded score.

Qualtrics enables the creation of elaborate, branching surveys and tools for industry-standard surveys. Simple tools, such as Google Forms or the Qualtrics Polling tool, can get quick feedback using the most commonly used types of survey question (i.e true/false, multiple choice, or short text entry.)  The Blackboard course management system offers sophisticated test and survey tools and Google Forms serves as a simple and useful tool for gathering information and even sequencing instructional materials.