Hong Qu, Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, taught Data Visualization virtually last spring to over 70 students from different Harvard Schools, levels of experience, and corners of the world. To foster a close-knit community among students from diverse backgrounds, Qu intentionally curated a set of online tools and learning exercises to generate an “ambient telepresence.” For instance, he assigned group data visualization projects to promote peer learning and used VoiceThread for assigned peer critiques. During synchronous class time, students were invited to sketch with Qu using Jamboard on the shared screen—a novel form of participation to draw out the inner artist/designer in every student. “I wanted to give them a sense that we’re spending time with each other in this very challenging period to learn as a community, to work together on group projects, and to achieve organic connections and authentic relationships between all our unique places during this pandemic."
A meta-analysis of 53 studies compared classrooms that did and did not use student response systems (e.g., mobile polling, clickers), finding significant effects on learning outcomes both cognitive (e.g., measures of knowledge transfer) and non-cognitive (e.g., participation).
Researchers found that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes longhand, likely because computers encourage verbatim transcription rather than synthesis.
Laptops and other portable electronic devices are not permitted in lecture. The reasons for this policy are: (a) their use may be distracting to others around you; (b) their use may be distracting to you (who can resist the temptation to check FB or email or texts?); and (c) note-taking on a laptop often amounts to passively taking dictation,...