Engage Remotely

In response to COVID-19, Harvard's classes have transitioned out of the residential classroom. To facilitate this transition, VPAL has collaborated with Harvard University Information Technology (HUIT) and teaching and learning centers across the University to create three websites. Teach Remotely serves as a guide for online teachers. Learn Remotely offers advice and resources for students university-wide. Socialize Remotely is a University-wide platform designed to bring our community together virtually, featuring Signature Events produced by VPAL

Upcoming Signature Events on Socialize Remotely

More events coming soon 


Recorded Signature Events on Socialize Remotely

The Events of January 6th and the Future of American Democracy

January 27, 2021

At this roundtable, leading social scientists will discuss how we understand the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol and the implications of the attack and aftermath for the future of democracy in the United States. Panelists include: Erica Chenoweth (HKS), Ryan Enos (FAS), Richard Fallon (HLS), Claudine Gay (FAS), Harvey Mansfield (FAS), and Daniel Ziblatt (FAS).

Human Bridges in the Study of Race, Religion, Art, and Politics with K. Healan Gaston & Steven Harris

December 7, 2020, 5-6pm EST

This talk will explore teaching about difference in a Divinity School course that looks at connections between the Harlem Renaissance and Mexican Modernism during the 1920s and 1930s. Using holiday-themed examples and compelling visual images, we will juxtapose the lives and works of two important figures in the course: Miguel Covarrubias, a Mexican-born caricaturist who spent most of his life in New York City illustrating for Harlem Renaissance texts and popular magazines, and Elizabeth Catlett, a U.S.-born Black sculptor and printmaker who spent her life in Mexico where she created some of the most powerful symbols and images of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Covarrubias and Catlett captured our students' imaginations in part because they serve as "human bridges" connecting the United States with Mexico as well the past with the present. Please join for a lively and wide-ranging meditation on the dynamic interplay of race, religion, art, and politics, and the cross-fertilization between history and ethics.

Roundtable: Implications of the 2020 Elections

November 17, 2020

Five experts in American politics discuss the implications of the outcome of the 2020 general elections for the United States. How will its results affect government policies? How will the campaign and its results affect American politics? Panelists include Danielle Allen, Stephen Ansolabehere, Ryan Enos, Roger Porter, and Theda Skocpol. Moderated by Jeffry Frieden.

Next Gen Success = Harvard Success: Inclusive Practices for Supporting First-Gen, Lower-Income Students In and Beyond the Classroom

November 10, 2020

Join members of the Harvard Next Gen Initiative to learn more about their Harvard Culture Lab Innovation Fund pilot program that consolidates, aligns, and enhances Harvard's institutional supports for Next Gen student populations (predominantly first-gen, low-income students) in and beyond the classroom. This session presents an overview of the Next Gen student population, pedagogical tools that promote Next Gen Student Success, and how each one of us plays a role in strengthening Harvard's commitment to inclusive excellence.

Roadmap for Recovery and Resilience for Theater with Diane Paulus and Joe Allen

October 29, 2020

Dr. Joseph Allen, Assistant Professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Diane Paulus, Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.), will be discussing the Roadmap for Recovery and Resilience for Theater that was created in partnership between the American Repertory Theater and the Healthy Buildings Program at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the principles and general guidance it offers to help theaters and other performing arts organizations promote health and safety.

How Good Accessibility Practices Enhance Online Teaching

September 30, 2020

When it comes to accessibility, it’s much better to be proactive than reactive—especially when designing major components of your courses. Furthermore, designing accessible courses helps provide equitable educational opportunities and added benefits for all learners. Join us to learn more from our panel of accessibility experts from across the University about the ways in which accessibility practices enhance classroom teaching and learning. Speakers include: Timothy Rogers, Director of Disability Services at the Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Linda Sullivan, Executive Director of Accessibility Services at the Harvard Division of Continuing Education, Kelly Wisnaskas, Assistant Director of Student Support and Services at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and Shelby Acteson, Associate Director of University Disability Resources at Harvard University.

This event was a precursor to HILT's ninth annual conference, "Championing Equitable Instruction and Inclusive Classrooms." Learn more about the 2020 HILT Conference.

Pandemics and Politics with Professor Jeffry Frieden and Dr. Tom Frieden

September 10, 2020

Two Friedens discuss the political economy of public health. Jeff is a Professor of Government at Harvard, Tom is a former CDC Director. Politics and economics have changed the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the pandemic has changed the course of politics. Why has public health become a political football in the United States? Why has global public health become the focus of international conflict?

Ask Us Anything About Cyber Security

August 11, 2020

Our work environment may have changed, but cyber security risks and challenges remain the same. We seem to have more to worry about now. Are you concerned about phishing campaigns designed to prey on our COVID-19 worries? How about the security of Zoom meetings? Maybe return to work that has you worried. What security protections will be provided for your health information as you return to the office or classroom? In the spirit of easing your concerns in a friendly and approachable way, our Cyber Security panelists will answer your questions and provide reassurance about how to manage your remote work environment securely, offer suggestions for small and easy actions that will make a big impact, and provide insight into the serious risks and what we can do about them. We'll talk about everything…from identifying suspicious email to creating a super strong password to using your own virtual network to thwart hackers. Bring your questions and concerns and share your experiences with our experts. They'll make you feel empowered to work and socialize remotely…securely.

COVID-19 and Economic Opportunity Across ZIP Codes in America: New Insights from Big Data with Raj Chetty

July 28, 2020

This talk will first discuss how the COVID pandemic is affecting the American economy at the ZIP code level, drawing on new real time data to trace the impacts of the crisis on consumer spending, business, and employment prospects. It will then discuss the impacts of major policies enacted to date to mitigate economic losses - ranging from state-ordered shutdowns to the stimulus program -- and consider what approaches will best foster recovery and limit hardship for American families going forward. Finally, Dr. Chetty will discuss his recent work on the COVID crisis in the context of his research lab's broader work on equality of opportunity and racial equity, describing how the current crisis links to broader structural challenges in the American economy. Raj Chetty is the William A. Ackman Professor of Public Economics at Harvard University. He is also the Director of Opportunity Insights, which uses "big data" to understand how we can give children from disadvantaged backgrounds better chances of succeeding.

Teaching Yourself and Others During the Pandemic with Rob Lue

June 29, 2020

In the face of COVID-19 and social distancing, it is vital to double down on the communal and self-driven aspects of education. Now more than ever, the Internet opens up possibilities to become authentic agents of our own learning. It can also help us combat the feelings of isolation that self-quarantine can induce. In this webinar, Professor Lue explores ways to connect and support one another as a social network based on learning and teaching. Robert Lue is the Richard L. Menschel Faculty Director of the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning where he is responsible for fostering innovative teaching in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and elevating its profile on campus. Additionally, Rob is a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Preventing Pandemics: From Policy to Practice

May 21, 2020

In this video, Dr. Ashish Jha and Dr. Raj Panjabi discuss "Preventing Pandemics: From Policy to Practice." Dr. Jha is a K.T. Li Professor of Global Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, and a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Panjabi is the CEO of Last Mile Health and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. They are joined by Nancy Gibbs, director of the Shorenstein Center, the visiting Edward R. Murrow Professor of Practice of Press, Politics and Public Policy, and former Editor in Chief of TIME, to discuss the COVID-19 response in Africa, lessons learned from previous epidemics like the West African Ebola outbreak, and the future of global health.

Keeping Your Laptop and Phone Secure: A Discussion of Cybersecurity with CS50's David J. Malan

May 20, 2020

In 2019, the most common password, by one measure, was 123456. And the fourth-most common password was ... password. (Are either of those yours??) Suffice it to say we can do better. Even so, there are trade-offs! Join us for a discussion of cybersecurity and learn how you can keep your laptop and phone (more) secure. Just how private are your emails and texts? What's "end-to-end encryption"? Is Zoom actually bad? And just what does incognito mode do? All this and more.

Allocating Ventilators in a Pandemic

May 4, 2020

As the current pandemic unfolds, many have been concerned that our hospitals may not have enough ventilators for all who might need one. Although it now appears likely that the supply will be sufficient for the time being, the future remains uncertain, and this is a good opportunity for a societal discussion about how hospitals will decide who will receive a ventilator, and who will not, if these decisions ever become necessary. What can we learn from other past situations where it has been necessary to ration other life-saving treatments, such as dialysis machines in the 1960s, or the current and ongoing need to ration transplantable organs?

Leading Yourself In Crisis with Nancy Koehn

April 22, 2020

Nancy Koehn discusses how real leaders are made in crisis and specifically, what you can do to access this power within, so that you can lead courageously going forward. The COVID-19 crisis and the resulting economic devastation are the defining events of our lifetimes. Professor Koehn, author of Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times, will address how can you grow, lead, and learn in the crucible of this astounding moment. The presentation will also cover what lessons we can learn about leadership in times of widespread turbulence and during this crisis.

Pandemic Ethics with Michael Sandel

April 16, 2020

Michael Sandel leads Harvard students, faculty, and staff in a lively discussion about the big social, ethical, and political questions raised by the COVID pandemic. View this University-wide discussion on Pandemic Ethics: Should we use surveillance technologies to monitor compliance with social distancing? If hospitals have too few ventilators for those in need, how should they be allocated? Should we be willing to risk some loss of life to restart the economy?