Much 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
Student perceptions of online activities in a blended graduate seminar revealed the most effective to have four distinct design features: they promoted higher-order thinking skills and learner-learner interactions and provided personalized content and feedback on contributions.
Study showing that intermittently breaking up online lectures with quizzes reduced the occurrence of mind wandering, increased the frequency of note taking, and facilitated more efficient learning (by Harvard psychology professor Daniel Schacter and former fellow Karl Szpunar).
Diane 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.”
Canvas brings welcomed new functionality and provides a rich set of tools previously unavailable within course sites, including an instructor dashboard called “course analytics” that shows both aggregate course and...
The goal of the edX as an LTI Provider project, aka the HarvardX Hybrid, was to include edX content in a Canvas course. The results were initially piloted in fall 2015 with courses at HKS, FAS, and Harvard Chan. Though the scope of initial pilots has been modest, it is...
This site is designed to show some of the ways in which we have used Canvas and other tools to enable blended learning in a course at the Harvard Kennedy School: Professor Dan Levy's API-209 Advanced Quantitative Methods I course.