online learning

Enhancing Discussions in the Asynchronous Online Classroom: The Lack of Face-to-Face Interaction Does Not Lessen the Lesson

This article addresses educators’ concerns about using asynchronous online discussions in lieu of face-to-face discussions. Drawing from research on asynchronous online education and Bloom’s taxonomy, the authors introduce the system of “original examples” and “value-added comments” that they have... Read more about Enhancing Discussions in the Asynchronous Online Classroom: The Lack of Face-to-Face Interaction Does Not Lessen the Lesson

Adapting residential courses for online cohorts

image of James Honan

James Honan, Senior Lecturer on Education at HGSE, has taught courses on nonprofit management and finance at Harvard since 1991 and additionally has 15 years of online teaching experience at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). When COVID-19 forced all teaching and learning at Harvard to move online, Honan and his teaching team were uniquely positioned to adapt his in-person courses for a new modality. With a robustly developed teaching toolkit across residential and online instructional formats, Honan currently teaches two versions of his Strategic Finance for Non-Profit Leaders course—one to residential students and one to the first cohort of HGSE’s fully online Ed.M. program, the Online Master's in Education Leadership. Honan and his longtime teaching team offer the online versions of the courses in one of HGSE’s state-of-the art studio classrooms, which features multiple large video screens, voice-activated cameras, and other technology enhancements to support effective online pedagogy.
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Transferring best practices across teaching modes

Aisha YousafzaiAisha Yousafzai, Associate Professor of Global Health, launched the Early Childhood Development: Global Strategies for Implementation HarvardX course in 2021. This self-paced, asynchronous course is designed for practitioners of public health to learn about program and policy development and has enrolled over 31,000 students. Yousafzai has taught a range of course formats during her time at Harvard: residential, hybrid, online, and now an asynchronous HarvardX course. Each course type “requires its own thought process about the right pedagogy,” but Yousafzai believes that careful consideration of the various strategies available for each course and what works has enriched the learning environment across her courses. 

Building virtual community in a foundational class

Dr. Tamara KaplanMuch like all our faculty across the University, Dr. Tamara Kaplan, Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, shifted the pre-clinical neuroscience course, Mind, Brain, and Behavior, to a remote learning space this past year. In addition to considering curricular materials, Dr. Kaplan and her team agreed that it was especially important to think about the learning environment and students’ social connection with the material, the teaching faculty, and other students. As a result, they developed several systems to foster this social sense of community and “combat the sense of isolation and disconnectedness that can result from online learning” in her class. All course instructors recorded three-minute introductory videos about both their career/research and personal interests. Dr. Kaplan used Canvas to send students daily announcements with learning objectives, key points that came up that day in class, and friendly support. A balance of synchronous and asynchronous communication was used to minimize student burnout and make sure students stayed engaged. Finally, the team built in time for genuine connection with daily half-hour breaks between classes for students to get to know faculty and ask questions. Dr. Kaplan notes, “we realized that creating relationships with faculty is a huge driver of a positive learning environment.”... Read more about Building virtual community in a foundational class

Online engagement: Designing a learner-centered HarvardX course

Diane MooreDiane Moore, Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies and Education, collaborated with HDS and FAS colleagues to produce a six-module, online course offering through HarvardX called World Religions Through Their Scriptures. They designed all digital material for optimal engagement of the 130,000 enrolled students: “It’s essential to provide language and tools in order for students from diverse worldviews, religions, experiences, ages, and regions of the world to constructively interact around topics that often divide us.”

Harvard Online Learning portal

Search the Harvard Online Learning portal, an aggregator of online learning opportunities from professors, centers, schools, libraries, and initiatives across campus.  

Modules (Canvas)

Modules allow you to organize your content to help control the flow of your course. 

Modules are used to organize course content by weeks, units, or a different organizational structure that works for your course. With modules, you are essentially creating a one-directional linear...

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