Engage your students

McGraw Commons is an online publishing platform for teaching and learning, supporting the shared creation of projects as learning activity.  Sites developed with McGraw Commons can be cumulative in which students contribute to work done in prior semesters, or serve as the product of a single course. Course projects can be made publicly available on the web or restricted to the participants of the course.

Course websites & blogs

Course sites and blogs are created in collaboration with faculty to support and encourage collaborative coursework that takes advantage of the multimedia and interactive aspects of online platforms. Course blogs can be used as platforms for publishing student work and as a vehicle for student peer-review.  In addition to the basic features of a blog such as pages, posts, comments, tags, and categories, external tools for maps, timelines, and other visualizations can be integrated, and custom tools can be developed according to your teaching goals.


Projects are sites, created in collaboration with faculty, that might not be specifically targeted toward a specific course, but that may have usefulness across a series of courses. Example of such projects include online platforms for crowdsourced image tagging and analysis, language textbooks and interactive instructional materials.

Language projects

  • ConTEXTos de Princeton

    ConTEXTos is a platform which uses a selection of mapped course readings as pedagogic frame for the independent student to navigate texts holistically in order to understand how genre, function and grammar interact.   Readings available on the website are enhanced with three layers of annotation types: structural, functional, and grammatical.
  • First Step Chinese

    This website hosts video resources produced by Princeton faculty to accompany the First Step Chinese textbook.
  • Levantine Colloquial Arabic

    The Levantine Colloquial Arabic site facilitates the study of Arabic through three popular Arabic-language films.  The site includes clips from the films, associated vocabulary lists, and transcriptions.
  • LinguaViva

    LinguaViva is the title of a collection of textbooks used in many levels of Portuguese instruction. Hosted by the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, these textbooks, written by Princeton faculty, allow students to save responses directly on the website and for faculty to review that work with students.
  • München auf einen klick

    The 'München auf einen klick' website documents undergraduate experiences during a summer study trip in Munich. Students used their newly-acquired language skills to describe their favorite places in the city.
  • SprachPraxis

    SprachPraxis serves as an online workspace for commenting, collaboration, and annotation in German 105, Intermediate German.  Students post comments on images of contemporary German society and relevant German-language films  
  • Voces de Princeton

    This collection of interviews documents the use of Spanish in Princeton University, giving more visibility to our own Spanish-speaking community. Furthermore, creating a repository of interviews and casual conversations provides a more authentic perspective of a language that has an important presence on our campus, and it becomes a venue for the voices and experiences of those who live, study, and work in Princeton.

Arts and Humanities

  • ABCBooks: ENG385, Children's Literature

    The ABC Books project makes available for research and analysis an interactive digital archive of rare children’s alphabet books. The overarching goal of the project is for students not only to interact with the archive but also actively to build and enhance it. With the assistance of staff from the Center for Digital Humanities and the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, this archive was developed for use in ENG 385: Children’s Literature. During the semester students were given opportunities to work with the archive, enhance the metadata associated with items in the archive, and to learn the basics of text encoding.
  • Crowdsourcing Trenton

    Crowdsourcing Trenton is a project related to the Trenton Project, a project researching topics relating to the history of Trenton in the 1960s. Members of the Trenton community who might have insight into the events that took place in Trenton during the 1960's and the people involved with those events, are invited to contribute information. Over the past several years, the Trenton project has collected hundreds of photos from dozens of sources. The images we’ve found have told us much about Trenton in the 1960s and answered many questions about the events of April 1968, the main focus of our work. But some photos raise further questions. https://commons.princeton.edu/harlan-joseph/
  • EAS233: East Asian Humanities

    The East Asian Studies department's East Asian Humanities course expands upon a model developed four years ago. In collaboration with staff from the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, faculty members in the department continue to develop an online space that not only presents course materials but also allows students augment course readings with multimedia annotations of their own. Teams of students also developed digital projects such as timelines, interactive narratives, and digital maps.
  • Gabriele Münter Photographer of America 1898-1900

  • HIS278: Digital, Spatial, Visual and Oral Histories

    Students in the Spring 2016, HIS278, Digital, Spatial, Visual and Oral Histories course produced digital narratives using ESRI's online StoryMaps application. Based on recorded interviews conducted by the Historical Society of Princeton, images from the Society's archives, census records, and digital maps held in Princeton University's Maps and Geospatial Information Center, these multimedia narratives tell stories about the lives of residents of the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood in Princeton.
  • History Beyond the Written Word: Unconventional Historical Sources and The Historian's Craft

    In History Beyond the Written Word: Unconventional Historical Sources and The Historian's Craft. History 278 (Spring 2015), students conducted oral history interviews and collected other materials, researching history using  unconventional sources.
  • IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework)

    The IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework) standard opens up a landscape of new opportunities for working with media in coursework.  The McGraw Center has partnered with faculty, the University Library, the Princeton Art Museum, and the Visual Resources Collection in the department of Art & Archaeology, to take advantage of this standard.

    Mirador integration in Canvas

    Mirador is a popular , open-source web-based, multi-window image viewing platform with the ability to zoom, display, compare and annotate image collections from institutions around the world and here on campus.  The McGraw Center offers an implementation of the Mirador Image Viewer asa tool integration (LTI) with the Canvas course management system.

    Course collections in McGraw Commons (Wordpress)

    A plugin developed for the McGraw Commons, McGraw's Wordpress platform for course blogs, allows IIIF image collection "manifests" to be added to the Media Library of any course blog and individual images from those collections to be embedded in student blog posts.
  • Komonjo

    This website introduces four document collections in interactive formats for teaching and study. The first, Not So Secret Secrets, explores the elaborate safeguards for ensuring that Uesugi Kenshin could know that a gunpowder recipe that he received was in fact from the shogun. These documents also reveal the rapidity of transmission of Portuguese knowledge, and show the subtle social distinctions that are evident in these records. The second, The Emperor’s Clothes, provides four generations of documents relating to a particular incident where Awazu Kiyonori rescued the imperial wardrobe. Originally a low ranking noble, this act of valor allowed his great grandson to enter the lowest echelon of the court nobility. The third, The Better Part of Valor, reproduces six documents in the Migita collection that reveals how they were called to battle and fought for both sides in a civil war in the fourth and fifth months of 1333. A fourth section, The Shogun’s Mother, reproduces a 1338 letter by Uesugi Kiyoko (Seishi), the mother of the first Ashikaga shogun, who witnessed a decisive battle. Such letters rarely survive, and the condition of this record makes it challenging to read. The site was created by Thomas Conlan, Professor of East Asian Studies and History, and is used as a teaching tool for students, who translated and annotated the document collections.   Visit: Komonjo
  • Mapping NYC Modernism: Literature and Art History

    [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none" last="no" hover_type="none" link="" border_position="all"][fusion_text] One-term project for visiting (Department of English) Professor David Ball, '07, Dickinson College. Features student-created maps and entries to create an overview of New York modernism between 1890 and 1940. [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]
  • Mapping the Golden Age of Venice

    This interactive map encapsulates work done by the students of Art 440, Venice in its Golden Age, Fall 2007. The aim of this interdisciplinary seminar was to explore the art and architecture of Renaissance Venice in the context of its rich cultural heritage and unique political and social system.
  • Playing Soviet: The Visual Languages of Early Soviet Children's Books, 1917-1953

    The Playing Soviet website presents an interactive database of children’s book illustrations drawn from little-known and rarely-seen Soviet children’s books from the collection of the Cotsen Collection at Princeton’s Firestone Library. The website supports image annotation, allowing students to contribute to the site, and data exports, enabling the development of data visualizations based on information in the archive.
  • Princeton Buffer

    This site is a student-created review of film, television, and popular culture. In the words of its creators:
    The Princeton Buffer provides reviews and conversations to advise you on what you should be watching, what’s up with what you’re already watching, or what you should stop watching this instant. We are a group of student film buffs and television nerds who care about providing thoughtful and engaging insights in the voice of our generation. As editors and writers for the Buff, we want to make your precious viewing time better—or at the very least, more fun!
    The site was created for Diana Fuss, Louis W. Fairchild '24 Professor of English. Professor Fuss teaches, among other topics, a course on American Cinema.   Visit Princeton Buffer
  • Princeton Geniza Project

    The Princeton Geniza Project website hosts approximately 4500 TEI-encoded transcriptions of Judeo-Arabic textual fragments. The archive has been used for decades as a scholarly research, teaching, and learning resource.  In 2016, the newly-created Princeton Geniza Lab in Frist Campus Center, is working with staff members from the McGraw Center to update and standardize the database.
  • Sefer Hasidim

    The Princeton University Sefer Hasidim Database (PUSHD) includes fourteen manuscripts containing different versions of Sefer Hasidim and its fragments. http://etc.princeton.edu/sefer_hasidim  
  • Tannowa Collection: The Kyoto Princeton Project

    Kyoto University and Princeton University have initiated a joint project in March 2020 in order to deepen the knowledge and awareness of Japanese history and culture throughout the world. The goal is to disseminate images, transcriptions, translations, and research about Japanese documents owned by the Kyoto University Museum. The first set of documents that are translated are 53 records of the Tannowa collection. They cover the period from the early thirteenth through the early sixteenth century, and provide insight into the actions of the Tannowa, a warrior family who resided in the eponymous Tannowa estate in Izumi province. This collection is unique in that it provides, in great detail, evidence for the actions of the warriors of the central provinces near Kyoto, which rarely survive. These document reveal much about social and political conditions during the turbulent fourteenth century, when wars were fought between the Northern and Southern courts in Izumi from 1331 through 1392. The most remarkable documents in this collection include edicts from chancelleries of the noble Kujō house. In addition, a series of documents by Kusunoki Masanori, found in scroll two, are noteworthy, as are records from Ashikaga Takauji, the founder of Japan’s second warrior government. Finally, the latest documents recount the Tannowa during wars of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as well. https://komonjo.princeton.edu/tannowa/
  • The Ōnin War

    This website includes an animated video offering a new perspective on the Ōnin War. This war, which nominally lasted from 1467 through 1477, led to the destruction of Kyoto, Japan’s capital, and according to standard narratives, ushered in a century of conflict, Japan’s Warring States (Sengoku) era.
  • URB 202: The Trenton Project

    The Trenton Project is a collaborative documentary investigation by the Princeton University course, Documentary Film and the City.
  • Venice and the Mediterranean: Crete

    This project developed out of ART330/HLS331: Venice and the Mediterranean in the Spring of 2007. The course explored the artistic and cultural geography of Venice's Mediterranean empire, known as the stato da mar, from its beginnings in 1204 to the loss of Crete in 1669. During a 9-day trip to Crete, sponsored by the Program in Hellenic Studies, students discovered a unique cultural palimpsest, with layers of physical remains from the Minoan, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, and Ottoman periods still visible in the cities and the countryside. The class then collaborated on the construction of the website, using photographs made on the trip and providing commentaries for a defined group of monuments.



    Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering    public EPICS was founded at Purdue in 2005 and introduced at Princeton University in Fall 2006 by co-founder Professor Ed Coyle *82.  EPICS is a unique program in which teams of undergraduates are designing, building, and deploying real systems to solve engineering-based problems for local community service and education organizations.  At Princeton, the Keller Center partners with Program for Community-Engaged Scholarship (ProCES) to provide students with this hands-on multi-disciplinary learning experience.  
  • The Art and Science of Motorcycle design

    In this hands-on seminar and laboratory experience about the engineering design of motorcycles, students restore a vintage Triumph motorcycle and compare it to previous restorations of the same make and model of motorcycle from other years (1955, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1962, 1963, and 1964).
  • The Joseph Henry Project

    A project website based on the engineering work of Joseph Henry (1797 - 1878).


  • Inclusive Pedagogy Symposium

    The Inclusive Pedagogy Symposium sought to answer two important questions: How do educators ensure they are providing an inclusive learning environment for all students?  How can the learner’s understanding of inclusive learning and teaching enhance the learning experience of all students?  To answer these questions, participants were immersed in literature of inclusive pedagogy, actively engaged with methods described, and reflected on their own experiences as learners and peer educators. http://commons.princeton.edu/inclusivepedagogy/
  • Mapping Globalization

    The Mapping Globalization website is intended for everyone interested in globalization. The main goal of the website is to make empirical work on globalization as widely accessible as possible. The website offers an expanding set of resources for students, instructors, and researchers, and provides a forum for empirical research on globalization. http://commons.princeton.edu/mg/
  • Principedia

    Principedia provides a unique forum within which to realize a fundamental aim of the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning: to engage faculty, staff, graduate students and especially undergraduates in systematic reflection and substantive discourse about the practices and processes of learning in Princeton’s distinctive academic environment.
  • Teach With Collections

    A collaboration between the Princeton Art Museum, Princeton University LIbrary, and the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, the Teach With Collections website highlights undergraduate coursework that takes advantage of the University special collections and archives.