Part 11 – Spring 2020 Labs

218 Project-Based Learning and the Wisconsin Experience – 02.21.2020

On February 21, 2020, participants in the Active Teaching Lab explore how project-based learning can align with the pillars of the Wisconsin Experience, a cornerstone of our undergraduates’ experience. Contributors shared strategies for scaffolding student workflow, managing scale, and funding for public-facing student projects (research symposia, video editing, etc.)


  • Reframe Group work! Emphasize that team projects are not “terrible group work” but are “low-stakes chances to get better at being productive with others”, where students learn strategies for positive, inclusive behaviors that bring out and develop team members’ individual and unique expertise and experience.
  • Give students agency! Let students choose the projects that connect with their interests. When students find purpose in activities, their motivation and learning increase.
  • Move beyond the Classroom. Learning is useless unless it’s applied, but application doesn’t have to be high-stakes professional work.
  • Assign public-facing content. When students see their work accessed by and useful to others, it increases motivation, quality, and confidence. Increase student-sharing to build experiences and develop communication skills.

To learn more and discover new resources, visit the session’s activity sheet.



The Active Teaching Lab is a Faculty Engagement program with sessions held on Thursdays from 1:00-2:00pm and Fridays from 8:30-9:45am in the Middleton Building (1305 Linden Dr.), room 120. Check out upcoming Labs or read the recaps from past Labs. We build interdisciplinary conversations that are more emergent than a presenter and more dynamic than a panel — a conversation with colleagues sharing challenges, solutions, and experiments on topics selected by a variety of stakeholders.

Sign up for regular Lab 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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