Follow this link to a short video describing this teaching strategy.
Benjamin Paloff, LSA-Slavic Languages and Literatures & Comparative Literature, teaches a comparative literature course where students learn to identify structural components of poetry, such as rhythm and rhyme, that influence the reader's interpretation of the poem's meaning. Students often struggle to extract these elements, so Paloff makes the concepts more concrete using highly visual examples and practice. Using SiteMaker, a customized webpage and database creation tool, students collaboratively edit webpages to build a library of annotations of poems. Paloff provides tailored feedback on students' annotations to facilitate revisions. Students can select any poem and view its annotations for a number of literary elements. Consequently, the library created by students serves as the basis for class discussions of the literary elements and interpretations of the course material.
These annotations have been useful because: (1) students can apply the concepts that are being taught in the course to creating a resource; (2) Paloff can assess what aspects of the course students are understanding well (or not) and adjust his teaching accordingly; and (3) the website's library of annotations is a helpful resource future students and grows with each course offering.