TLL Online Learning Fellows
by: Bill Wisser
When the Harvard Graduate School of Education made the decision to launch a fully-remote Master’s program we knew that we had a lot of work in front of us. The Teaching and Learning Lab’s core team of learning designers, media producers, learning technologists, and instructional coaches have years of experience designing online courses, both for the Ed.M. program and for our partners in Professional Education. From that experience we knew that creating high-quality, engaging, online learning experiences takes a tremendous amount of effort, both on the part of the faculty members and the support staff. We had to increase our staffing across the group to meet this challenge, but hiring takes time and any new staff members we brought on would have limited time to get up to speed on the specific characteristics of the School, the faculty, and TLL processes.
Each year, HGSE graduates 600+ education professionals who go off to change the world. But in spring 2020 these students were entering a historically poor job market with real concerns about relocating even if jobs were available. Given their familiarity with the School, their relationships with the faculty, and the skills and knowledge they gained in their Master’s program, we knew our students could make a significant contribution to supporting the transition to online learning.
With the support of the Dean’s Office, the TLL hired eight graduating Ed.M. students as Online Learning Fellows. The TLL Online Learning Fellows initiative provided an opportunity for new alumni to develop authentic work experience while at the same time providing a mechanism for students to give back to the School. The Fellows are professional staff members responsible for supporting tasks as varied as learning design, media production, instructional coaching, and data analysis. But unlike most staff members we hire, the Fellows bring their unique perspective as recent Ed.M. students to the work.
In a new series of blog posts the Fellows will present their own stories focused on contributions they have made to support the HGSE faculty transition the entire curriculum to online delivery in a few short months.