Mission of the Vice Provost Office for Advances in Learning
Support faculty, students, and academic professionals in their creation of the highest-quality 21st century learning and research environment on-campus, online, and beyond; promote cross-School synergies, shared technologies, and joint-teaching; convey Harvard’s commitment to teaching as a paramount priority and ensure the long term financial sustainability of the University’s innovative efforts.
Past Activities – FY14
- Expanded digital scholarship. Produced 24 open online courses and 45 HarvardX learning experiences (more than 1 million global students engaged) representing diverse topics from 10 different Harvard schools and built cross-University tools to support digital annotation and manipulation of materials from Harvard’s museums and libraries.
- Provided faculty support. Bolstered efforts to support innovation in teaching and learning by integrating the staff of HarvardX, the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching (HILT), the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, the Division of Continuing Education, and Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT), at 125 Mt Auburn Street to promote collaboration across programs and platforms. Offered opportunities for faculty development (social media workshop, HarvardX Town Halls, HILT speaker series) and grants (through HILT). Opened the Hauser Digital Teaching & Learning Studio in Widener Library to support faculty digital projects.
- Advanced the science of learning. The collaborative research efforts of HarvardX, HILT, Faculty of Arts and Science, Graduate School of Education, and MIT, produced: the Harvard-MIT working papers on MOOCs and corresponding data visualization tools; studies of 6 blended classroom environments (4 College, 2 Public Health); and internal reports for faculty, instructors and students on how psychological science can inform University-level learning and teaching.
Goals for – FY15
- More digital experimentation. Further integrate online learning materials and experiences into residential education, leverage technology to promote cross-school teaching and cover “interstitial” in-demand topics (e.g., leadership, management, mathematical refreshers), and study the efficacy of blended modules and new assessment techniques in enhancing the student experience and learning outcomes. Engage learners from around the world via a Harvard Online gateway.
- Network expansion and engagement. Provide more varied avenues for faculty across Harvard to engage with innovative teaching and learning. Some examples include the future HarvardX Faculty Academy, as well as the development of a formal learning support network of academic professionals on campus who support faculty and instructors, currently being coordinated by HILT and to be launched this Fall.
- Sustainability. Refine and implement fundraising and revenue strategies that will be adequate to support the HarvardX program with the hope of eventually generating a positive revenue flow without losing the “open” and “massive” character of HarvardX. Define University and school-based policies to best meet the needs of faculty engaging in the new digital learning space.