A paper from Freina & Ott surveys the literature on outcomes for using virtual reality in education, especially in higher education environments, finding that it “increases the learner’s involvement and motivation while widening the range of learning styles supported.”
Candace 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
Matthew 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.”
Elisa 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.”
When William Fisher, WilmerHale Professor of Intellectual Property Law, was approached to create an online course version of his Harvard Law SchoolCopyrightcourse, he agreed with the stipulation that CopyrightXbe 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
In his general education courses, Jay Harris, Harry Austryn Wolfson Professor of Jewish Studies, posts two different videos prior to class for students to view: pre-reading videos contextualize and provide guidance for the week’s readings, and lecture videos replace Harris’s in-class lectures on the...
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.
A meta-analysis of 225 studies published in PNAS found that active learning applied in college STEM disciplines increased student performance on examinations and concept inventories, and the likelihood to pass a course.
L 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 Modelingcourse. 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.
Emily Dolan, Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of the Humanities, co-teaches the graduate seminar Instruments and Instrumentalitieswith Professor and James McGill Chair in Culture and Technology Jonathan Sterneof 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.
Like 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.