Exploring ePortfolios at HGSE

by: Brandon Pousley

Over the past 12 months, the TLL has been exploring the potential benefits of ePortfolios within various programs at HGSE. For our purposes, we have defined an ePortfolio as a digital repository for the collection, organization, and sharing of student artifacts to facilitate personal reflection, assessment of learning outcomes, multimodal and peer learning, and academic and career development. We have directly engaged faculty and staff in the CAEL, HTF, and Data Wise programs in technology pilots that have enabled us to surface multiple teaching and learning needs and technical requirements. These pilots have also allowed us to develop best practices, identify and solve technical and pedagogical challenges, and begin measuring impacts on learner outcomes.... Read more about Exploring ePortfolios at HGSE

The Learning Loop: An Iterative Dialogue Between Faculty and Design Partners

by: Bonnie Anderson

“[A] thermostat that automatically turns on the heat whenever the temperature in a room drops below 68°F is a good example of single-loop learning.

A thermostat that could ask, "why am I set to 68°F?" and then explore whether or not some other temperature might more economically achieve the goal of heating the room would be engaged in double-loop learning.1”... Read more about The Learning Loop: An Iterative Dialogue Between Faculty and Design Partners

T-127 Student Experience

by: Jillian Rubman

Back in September, as new students in the HGSE master’s programs, we found ourselves face-to-face with a huge array of courses and activities to consider. Should we spend most of our time at the Ed. School or doing off-campus internships? How many courses could we take, really? Four? Five? Six? In the midst of all that wonderful chaos, the T127 Teaching and Learning Lab Practicum course stood out for me. I was looking to get hands-on experience with media and learning design in higher education; the class looked like a great way to step into that world. So I enrolled in a semester of experiential learning with the TLL — and I enjoyed it so much I decided to stay there through the spring semester!... Read more about T-127 Student Experience

T-127 Practicum: From Theory to Action

by: Andrea Flores

In a recently published article Analise Shrout, a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Davidson College, describes her experiment in letting students design and run a new course called Death in the Digital Age. The idea for the course, which was interdisciplinary in nature, was prompted by her own research questions about what it means to die in the Internet Age given that so much of what is created has a digital footprint living beyond one’s physical existence. To achieve her learning outcomes Shrout chose a pedagogical design that gave students a more equal role in shaping the course content, collaboratively defining best practices for digital scholarship, and deciding on the metrics for success through a co-created personalized rubric.... Read more about T-127 Practicum: From Theory to Action

A Glimpse of Innovations in Education: The Silicon Valley Edition

by: Joanna Huang

The Journey - A Path Forward

An ongoing discussion at the Teaching and Learning Lab revolves around education innovation - what does it look like and how does it manifest? This past March I embarked on a week long trip with a group of 30 Harvard graduate students visiting 25 schools, education non-profits, think-tanks and companies. For many, it was the first time soaking in the California sun and buzzing through the hub of tech-giants. For me, I was home again with a fresh set of eyes. The trek gave me a peek into what types of education innovation were happening in the area.... Read more about A Glimpse of Innovations in Education: The Silicon Valley Edition

The Making of a Learning Designer: Part 1

by: Bonnie Anderson

One of the questions we ask prospective learning designers is, “If you get this job, how will you describe your new role to your friends and family?” The way a candidate answers this question can reveal much about their understanding of and approach to the work of learning design.

What does a learning designer do, exactly? What makes this role distinct from that of an instructor, program developer, learning technologist, or media producer? How does a person become a dedicated learning designer….and why might they want to do so?  In this series of posts, I will explore these questions with the aim of helping both prospective designers and those who collaborate with designers to understand the work, approach, and skills of those in this role. Specifically, I will look at the most common roles and responsibilities of learning designers (also known as instructional designers), the attributes and competencies of effective learning designers, the art and science of learning design as a collaborative process, and developmental paths toward becoming a learning designer.... Read more about The Making of a Learning Designer: Part 1

The Challenge of Teacher Development

by: Steven Sofronas

Here at HGSE and at educational institutions around the world, there is a lot of talk about providing adequate structure in order to promote student agency. It is an issue that educators at all levels and contexts grapple with when designing learning experiences for their students, and it is as important to professors at graduate schools of education as it is to elementary school teachers across the country.

As the field of education continues to move away from memorization-based pedagogy in favor of strategies that promote personalized learning and increased metacognition, educators are facing challenges in implementing strategies that encourage their students to think critically, collaborate with others, and solve real world problems. Many educators have little experience in moving beyond traditional instructional strategies. This lack of experience and training poses a formidable barrier to significant change.... Read more about The Challenge of Teacher Development

Challenging Assumptions (with Vertical Video)

by: Elias Polcheira

Let’s talk about audience. It is important to recognize the trend that vertical video is becoming more popular because of social media apps such as SnapChat and Periscope. If we look at the demographics of SnapChat, for example, we know that it has been quite popular among Millennials aged 18 to 34. It’s still behind Facebook on the number of hours spent in-app, but it’s already ahead of Twitter. Keeping that in mind, I would like to ask: can we leverage mobile vertical videos in education?... Read more about Challenging Assumptions (with Vertical Video)

Designing Teacher Education

by: Arti Sharma

Mobile Application WireframeThe expectation to set aside three full days for a design workshop was enough to arouse the cynic in me. It was a frigid January morning and I arrived at MIT’s W20 wearing my skepticism on my sleeve. What could possibly be learned by having a group of educators, engineers, design thinkers, and administrators congregate around and deliberate on the challenges of preparing teachers to be 21st century educators? It did not take long to realize that I had landed in a room full of people who in spite of their disparate professional backgrounds had one important thing in common — they had the audacity to believe that a long established system as complex as education could be reimagined and reinvented.... Read more about Designing Teacher Education

Learning from Experiments in Outcome Linking

by: Brandon Pousley

As the TLL portfolio grows, so too does the diversity of digital learning experiences we produce. Some experiences exist at the course level. Many more, however, are intentionally modular — comprised of unique multimedia, web, document, curriculum, and assessment objects. This modularity enables reusability, which supports flexibility in implementation and ample return on investment. However, as the MIT Office of Digital Learning is discovering, it can also support learner agency, informed instructional decision-making, and effective business development.

Last week, I had the opportunity to hear Karen Wilcox, MIT Professor and co-Chair of the MIT Online Education Policy Initiative, present on MIT’s efforts to develop systems to map undergraduate learning outcomes and link curricular topics and resources. Through a real-time, guided exploration of these existing and emerging systems, I caught a glimpse of the impact that such well-connected, open, and adaptable tools can have.... Read more about Learning from Experiments in Outcome Linking