Part 7: Spring 2018 Labs

102 kbAdmin as LMS? with Michel Wattiaux – 02.16.2018

In the February 16, 2018 Active Teaching Lab, Michel Wattiaux shared how he uses the kbAdmin tool in small enrollment, flipped classroom courses. To dive deeper into this topic, follow along with Michel’s lesson plan and work through the session’s activity sheet


  • Teaching is about students, not the instructor or the discipline.
  • A course website offers a consistency and reliability that learning management systems can’t if they’re changing every few years. 
  • A flat structure keeps it simple; try three main pages students need to visit (syllabus, schedule, quizzes). It’s not about flashy technology, it’s about pedagogy. See this discipline main page and this course main page as examples.
  • PowerPoint lectures are comfortable but often don’t cultivate student curiosity and motivation. A course is an ongoing story, not disparate slide sets. Getting rid of PowerPoint has helped students draw connections from class to class.
  • The first activity of the semester should require students to get to know each other AND demonstrate competency with the site; provide a photo roster on the internal site so they can put faces to names.
  • Pre-class blogs on preparatory readings help students to organize and reflect on impressions from those readings.
  • The purpose of reading quizzes is to prepare students for discussion; don’t go back over reading material in class if the expectation is they’ve already read it. Reserve class time for new information and problem solving.
  • Allow multiple attempts at quizzing to shift the focus from mastery to engaging with the material. 
  • Blog posts can be copied into Wordle to get a quick picture of what students are talking about
  • A website creation project that requires students to interpret their academic writing in layperson terms for online viewers teaches students how to convey message for multiple audiences.

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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