Learning Tools

Many Harvard faculty are interested in experimenting with new online technologies as they rethink the learning process. VPAL works with faculty and staff across the University to develop tools and technologies that complement the classroom experience.

For more information about any of these tools, e-mail the Office of the VPAL.

Learning and Course Analytics


Canvas Student Data Dashboards (for Faculty)

This dashboard allows faculty to explore Canvas data for their courses both at the resource level (e.g., a specific video or discussion thread) and at the student level.

HarvardX Course Rollover

The dashboard presents data visualizations allowing users to compare registration, engagement, and completion related data for any two groups of HarvardX courses side-by-side.

Canvas Platform Feature Usage Dashboards (for Academic Technology)

The Canvas Usage application displays the Canvas data for Harvard courses, allowing the user to aggregate the information for any combination of schools, divisions and departments, as well as for any time-interval of semesters.

Curricular and Administrative Utilities


Enrollment View

The dashboard displays data and visualizations of a department’s course enrollment counts across semesters, which enables faculty members and administrators to track enrollment trends over time and identify common sequences of courses taken by students.

Syllabus Explorer

Syllabus Explorer allows members from participating Schools to easily search, filter, and explore the syllabi for Harvard courses. Visit Syllabus Explorer at https://syllabus.harvard.edu.

Harvard Link

Link is a dashboard that provides Harvard faculty and staff with personalized recommendations on Harvard events, news, colleagues, and courses connected to the user’s interests. Visit Link at https://link.harvard.edu.

Course Search & Trends Analytics

This application allows the user to search course descriptions, course titles, and instructor names for any combination of keywords.

Department View

The DepartmentView application is an interactive web-based visualization for departmental course scheduling and planning.

Course Schedule Balance Checker for FAS

A dashboard for administrators to upload a course schedule, which is then analyzed and shows which of the FAS scheduling rules, if any, the schedule is not in compliance with and to what extent.

Learning Technologies


Polls Tool

Polls is a Canvas tool for instructors and students to visualize students’ knowledge or attitudes in a collective way. Data is presented at the aggregate level, allowing for rapid understanding of response distribution across classes or sections.


Itero provide writing analytics on an individual’s writing process, allowing full playback of a document’s creation, and on contributions from group writing. Visit Itero at https://itero.vpal.io/.

Adaptive Learning Open Source Initiative (ALOSI)

ALOSI provides open source adaptive learning technology and a common framework to measure learning gains and learner engagement with content.


QUIP enables authoring of alternative versions of explanations on quiz answers, and then deploys these to students in a randomized A/B comparison, in order to see which explanations are rated highly by students.


DART -- Digital Assets for Reuse in Teaching -- is a strategic initiative aimed at improving discoverability of digital learning resources at Harvard. DART acts as an LTI bridge between content providers (such as edX, YouTube, SoundCloud) and learning management systems like Canvas. Visit DART at https://dart.harvard.edu.


ClassroomsX, developed in partnership between Harvard and MIT, enables the functionality of DART to be accessible by high school teachers via integration with Google Classrooms.

Other Projects


HMS Learning Objectives

The HMS Learning Objectives app allows users to explore HMS learning objectives by phase, course, and program objective.

Harvard Service Portal

The Harvard Service Portal allows the Harvard community - students, faculty, and staff - to easily search and explore opportunities from across the entire University for students seeking to engage in service opportunities. The Portal includes student groups, volunteer opportunities, events, clinics and direct services, internships, engaged scholarship courses, funding, and many other opportunities. Visit the Harvard Service Portal at https://public-service.vpal.harvard.edu.