Learning Lab

The Bok Center’s newly launched “Learning Lab” is a space designed to house and incubate faculty-driven projects related to teaching and learning.  The Learning Lab fosters, elevates, and amplifies the teaching and learning experiments and explorations of Harvard’s faculty—helping them to build, test, deliver and disseminate learning objects and activities, new courses and new assignments.  We offer faculty resources, space and an intergenerational community of collaborators: artists and technologists, postdocs and graduate students, and—crucially—Harvard College undergraduates who serve as both testers and partners in creating the future of teaching and learning.  

 Support for new ways of making, doing and communicating

Many of the innovations we see in the classroom involve not merely new modes of delivering information from faculty to students but also new modes of student activity: new ways to collaborate and to build, new media within which to express ideas, new assignments that offer students alternatives to papers and exams.  The Learning Lab draws on the skills of the Bok Center’s Media, Literacy and Visualization team to help faculty, graduate students and undergraduates develop fluency in the new and old media they will use to generate and share their ideas: filmmaking, web design, 3D modeling, data visualization and game design to be sure, but just as crucially speech, performance, the written word, improvisation, and the use of physical space.

 Support for research, reflection, and rapid revision

We hope to rapidly prototype and assess multiple “builds” of the learning object or intervention you design, so constant reflection on and evaluation of our work is built into the Learning Lab workflow.  We build working prototypes as soon as physically possible (including paper prototypes for digital projects) so that we can offer them to our undergraduate usability testers for feedback.  The Bok Center’s Research and Assessment team will work with you from the very beginning of the project to develop ways to assess the impact of your project when you implement it in your Harvard College classroom, and throughout the entire process we will be documenting the team’s work in text, images and video so that we can share your insights and innovations with the broader teaching and learning world.

Cultivating the next generation of Teachers and Scholars

Each Learning Lab project will result in a specific intervention in a Harvard course, but the Bok Center’s goal in launching each project is to develop new resources, practices, skills and learning opportunities for the broader teaching community.  Each project will result in model assignments, grading rubrics, guides for students, and scalable workflows that can be deployed by other faculty.  Furthermore, by integrating tightly with the various fellowship opportunities on offer for GSAS students at the Bok Center (Departmental Teaching Fellows, Digital Fellows, Research and Assessment Fellows), the Learning Lab will offer valuable, project-based professional development opportunities for future faculty.

 

How to get involved

We are now accepting applications for projects to be deployed in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 classes.  You can apply by sending us a letter of intent to learninglab@fas.harvard.edu which describes the nature of your proposed project, the course you will be teaching, and your innovation’s potential impact. We will then contact you to further discuss the proposal.