Part 7: Spring 2018 Labs

114 Creating a Multimedia Website with Anja Wanner, Lynn Zhang, Kelsey Berkshire, and Tim Cavnar 03.23.2018

In the March 23, 2018 Active Teaching lab, Anja WannerLynn Zhang, Kelsey Berkshire, and Tim Cavnar shared how students created a multimedia resource website called Grammar Badgers using Qualtrics, videos, podcasts, and other tools as part of an outreach assignment. Everything on the website is student-created. Anja, Lynn, Kelsey, and Tim reported on the process from conceptualization to production to consolidation. Check out the session’s activity sheet to get started with your own website.


  • The concept emerged from a “Wisconsin Idea” project created and developed by students. Nineteen students took on the creation of a grammar website and self-organized into 4 groups: video, quiz, teaching, podcasts.  
  • One particularly successful aspect of the project was drawing connections with professionals in the field. Students emailed 400 linguists from around the world with inquiries aimed at answering questions for the general public. Students were surprised at the high response rate.
  • Students chose a listicle approach (“Twenty things you need to know about…”) due to its popularity in current social media and ease of digestibility.  
  • Momentum in a project like this dramatically changes the difficulty and investment required; it’s easier to add to an existing project than to create a new one. 
  • By freeing students to choose the topic and limiting instructor involvement to parameter-setting, students felt a sense of ownership and were more willing to step up and work harder. In general, students take more responsibility for the project if they are involved in decisions. Find a balance between top-down and bottom-up control, then trust students to pull it off.
  • Producing a public-facing website pushed the students to do better work. 
  • Pro tip: People are more willing to be interviewed if Bucky Badger is involved.

Active Teaching Labs are held Fridays from 8:30-9:45am in room 120, Middleton Building (1305 Linden Dr.) as well as some Wednesdays from 12:30-1:30pm in room 302 Middleton Building. Check out upcoming Labs or read the recaps from past Labs.

Similar to the Active Teaching Labs, Active Teaching Exchanges feature instructors sharing their teaching experiences with tools and techniques, but provide more time for discussion without the hands-on investigation time. Exchanges are are held Thursdays from 1-2pm in room 120, Middleton Building. See the full calendar of both events. Stay informed about upcoming Labs and Exchanges by signing up for regular 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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