Learning Lab

Claire Adams

Analyzing the Past Using Multimodal Projects

April 1, 2022

As a way of augmenting students' learning in History courses, Media & Design Fellow Claire Adams (PhD candidate in History) developed a series of workshops at the Learning Lab to introduce students to the fundamentals of visual communication and presenting academic findings in digital forms. Designed to work in conjunction with specific course content and the analytical methods that students need to practice, Claire’s scaffolding activities, and the...

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Xiaomeng Han

Graphical Abstracts to Teach Neuroscience

March 2, 2022

In MCB80, The Neurobiology of Behavior, many Harvard undergraduates encounter scientific papers for the first time. As a way to augment students’ understanding of influential research papers in neuroscience, Media & Design Fellow Xiaomeng Han (PhD candidate in Neuroscience) has developed “graphical abstracts”—a form that uses illustration and graphic design to explain, and in a sense tell a story about, key concepts in neuroscience.

As a Media & Design Fellow at the Learning Lab, Xiaomeng’s project...

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Flexibility in Form: Podcasting with Spanish 50

Flexibility in Form: Podcasting with Spanish 50

February 4, 2022

Over the last two years, we’ve all had to make adjustments to our plans, whether as instructors, students, or support staff. One of the Learning Lab’s Media & Design Fellows, Ignacio Azcueta, recently demonstrated the importance of developing resources and course plans that are responsive to quickly-changing conditions. At Bok, we are heartened by the adaptability of our fellows and their students.

Ignacio Azcueta (PhD candidate in Romance Languages and Literatures) has been working as a Media & Design Fellow...

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2020-21 Bok Annual Report

2020-21 Bok Annual Report

December 17, 2021

As we reflect on the year and prepare for winter recess, we are pleased to share our 2020-21 annual report, which showcases our year of remote teaching and learning. The report highlights key moments from the year as we transitioned our programming and support online, and endeavored to keep up with the needs of teachers and learners across the FAS.  We are proud of our work supporting faculty and PhD students and building community around teaching throughout these challenging times. 

We wish you a restful and restorative winter recess, and we look forward to working...

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Grace Burgin

Science through Story: Podcasts in OEB50

April 7, 2021

When OEB50: Genetics and Genomics wrapped in Fall 2019, Professors Robin Hopkins and Dan Hartl, who co-teach the course, decided to incorporate a creative project that would allow students to engage course material in new ways in the next iteration. Little did they know that the next iteration of the course would be on Zoom!

When it came time to design the creative project, Hopkins and Hartl turned to OEB graduate student Grace Burgin, a Media and Design Fellow at the Bok Center’s Learning Lab. ...

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The cover image for the Voyager Golden Record resource created by the Bok Learning Lab.

Explore the Golden Record!

October 28, 2020

"In 1977 humanity sent a mixtape into outer space. The two spacecraft of NASA’s Voyager mission include a Golden Record, featuring greetings in 55 earth languages, 116 images of the planet and its inhabitants, plus examples of music from a range of cultures across the world: from Azerbaijani bagpipes to Zaire pygmy songs, from English Renaissance dances to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, and from Louis Armstrong to Chuck Berry. The samplings of earthbound auditory culture are on their way into the unknown.”

So begins the course description for Alex Rehding’s...

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Media and Design Fellow David Forrest works collaboratively with an undergraduate student on some audio equipment.

Media & Design Fellows Program Launches

September 25, 2020

The Bok Center is excited to announce the launch of a new graduate fellow program, the Media and Design Fellows (MDFs)! As part of the Bok Center’s Learning Lab team, MDFs support innovative course development within the FAS, partnering with faculty and staff to design a variety of digital tools, course materials, and assignments for undergraduate courses and departments.

Across the disciplines, faculty and students are innovating by deploying richer media (3D models, high quality videos, well-designed infographics and illustrations) and richer interactions...

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Machine in deep sea

Dispatches from the Field: Teaching Innovation Videos

September 16, 2020

Back in July, Peter Girguis, Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, reached out to the Bok Center after a series of informal conversations with faculty colleagues about their innovative ideas for the upcoming semester, which would be taught entirely remotely. The faculty Girguis encountered were working hard across the summer to develop innovative, rich experiences for undergraduates in the fall. While some types of...

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Sam Benkelman

Celebrating Senior Learning Lab Undergraduate Fellows

May 29, 2020

Learning Lab Undergraduate Fellows (or LLUFs) are a core part of the intergenerational team at the Bok Center’s Learning Lab. LLUFs often have terrific intuitions about the pedagogy that will most engage and appeal to their peers, and they use this expertise as learners to help the Bok Center’s faculty partners design and test new learning experiences for their courses. Given the fact that many of these assignments and activities involve new or at least alternative modes of communication—drawing, speaking, coding, 3D...

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illustrated text reading "the quarantine chronicles"

distanceLab: Reimagining Remote Learning Together

May 19, 2020

In a typical year, the Bok Center’s Learning Lab houses multiple intergenerational working groups we call “Labs,” each dedicated to a specific medium or tool used by courses we support: realityLab for 3D modelling and VR/AR, codeLab for web development, theatreLab for performance-based assignments, and so on. This year, when courses moved online in March, we had each and every one of our student fellows and staff join a central team called distanceLab, which was tasked with developing responses to the new challenges our faculty and students were facing in teaching and learning...

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looking down at a table with game design books and documents and game pieces

Lessons from Game Design: How should students "play" your syllabus?

May 12, 2020

In our latest installment from the Learning Lab’s gameLab team, Graduate Fellow Clarisse Wells introduces two gaming concepts, Metagaming and Speedrunning, where players draw on their accumulated experience in order to optimize game mechanics and exploit trends in gameplay to create advantages and complete new challenges. While this might sound like “cheating,” in these posts...

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Phil Lai

Lab 3D: The Success of Virtual Labs in OEB 126

May 4, 2020

When word came that courses would be moving online for the remainder of Spring 2020, Learning Lab Graduate Fellow Phil Fahn-Lai knew that the science course for which they are a Teaching Fellow would face a particular challenge. Labs in OEB 126: Vertebrate Evolution, taught by Prof. Stephanie E. Pierce, involve visits to the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, where students view and interact with fossil specimens from the Museum’s Vertebrate Paleontology collection. The labs reinforce information learned...

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phone with video call

Poetry Month and Poem in your Pocket Day

May 1, 2020

One of the things we love most about our work in the Learning Lab is the challenge of responding quickly and dynamically to unusual requests in creative assignment design. One way we foster this dynamism is by leveraging our Learning Lab Undergraduate Fellows (LLUFs), whose intuitions about what mediums and modes will appeal most to their peers yields ideas and resources that can be translated into the classroom in surprising ways. While the LLUFs certainly aren’t as expert as the faculty when it comes to the course material, they are inarguably experts on their own experiences...

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