blended approaches

AR/VR Studio

Visit the AV/VR Studio at the Harvard iLab to experience VR and to schedule a one-on-one meeting to learn more about using VR to supplement your syllabus....

Read more about AR/VR Studio

Tapping the power of virtual reality to enhance public speaking

Candace BertottiCandace Bertotti, Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, teaches The Arts of Communication, a class focusing on public speaking. To help students overcome their fear of speaking in front of others, Candace incorporates virtual reality (VR) into her classroom. Students put on VR goggles and are instantly transported to the front of a large virtual crowd awaiting their speech. Students experience a range of audiences and audience reactions. It's realistic—and feels safe.... Read more about Tapping the power of virtual reality to enhance public speaking

Using podcasts to build foundational relationships between students

Matthew PottsMatthew Potts, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and the Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church, teaches Introduction to Ministry Studies, a cohort introductory course designed for graduate students who intend to go into the interreligious ministry broadly. His course offers an introduction that spans a variety of religions and simultaneously cultivates a sense of community amongst students. While the course was traditionally conducted in a lecture format with some section discussions, Potts had to rethink the course’s structure completely when it shifted online amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. “I wanted to get people off screen,” he explains. Rather than sitting through a live lecture, students listened to podcasts of Potts and the teaching team conversing about the readings prior to each class. To ensure students would also engage with him directly, Potts also organized Oxford-style tutorials, with students meeting in groups of two or three and with a different member of the teaching team to discuss the course material. Students would write a one-page memo reflecting on the readings and present it to get the conversation going. “I wanted a place for students to come and continue the conversation and feel invested in what they had read or what they had listened to, but not in any burdensome way.”

Using asynchronous approaches to improve students’ learning experiences

Elisa NewElisa New, Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature, has ample experience blending asynchronous and synchronous learning to teach students at Harvard and beyond. Asynchronous learning happens independently from in-person class time and can take many forms. In her courses, New has incorporated on-location “field-trips,” discussions with relevant authors, and even recordings of former student discussions, which has helped current students “up their game.” “People really love those. They like to see how a good discussion works.”

Applying Pedagogical Insights to Large Online Courses

William FisherWhen William Fisher, WilmerHale Professor of Intellectual Property Law, was approached to create an online course version of his Harvard Law School Copyright course, he agreed with the stipulation that CopyrightX be paired with the residential version, that enrollment be limited to 500, and that students meet in discussion sections of 25. Both online and residential students watch the same 90-minute lecture video prior to class time. When the class meets, Fisher facilitates case study discussions with residential students and 15-20 teaching fellows do so for sections of online students.... Read more about Applying Pedagogical Insights to Large Online Courses

Research: Flipped Classroom Model in Calculus II

This article on the use of flipped classrooms combined with problem-based learning in a calculus course showed that students, in general, took the flipped classroom as a positive learning experience with slightly better performance as compared with students in traditional lecturing classrooms.

Flipping the classroom for deeper student engagement and feedback on learning

L MahadevanL Mahadevan, Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics in SEAS, and Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and of Physics in FAS used a 2017-2018 SEAS Learning Incubator LInc Faculty Fellowship to emphasize active learning in his Mathematical Modeling course. He implemented a flipped classroom approach to enable students to come to class with problems and questions to collaborate on, time to develop their own problems from scratch, and work on modeling with peers. The foundational arc supporting this process has students move from observations through abstraction, analysis and communication, and iteration.

Structuring intellectual collaboration and play

Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of the Humanities, Emily DolanEmily Dolan, Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of the Humanities, co-teaches the graduate seminar Instruments and Instrumentalities with Professor and James McGill Chair in Culture and Technology Jonathan Sterne of McGill University in which students from both Harvard and McGill (representing a range of disciplines) engage with one another via audio and videoconferencing, trips to each campus, online documents, and other tools. 

Using faculty videos in required courses to engage students at all levels

Pinar DoganLike many instructors of required courses, Pinar Dogan, Lecturer in Public Policy and SLATE Faculty Liaison for Pedagogy, teaches her section of Markets and Market Failure to students with significantly divergent levels of prior knowledge of microeconomics. Seeking a way for students “to end up at the same place even though they started at very different places,” Dogan partnered with SLATE to develop videos of Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) faculty experts explaining the relevance of math-intensive or potentially dry concepts (e.g., fixed costs or price elasticity) to public policy.