COVID-19: Harvard College World Health Course Goes Online

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, my general education undergraduate course at Harvard College (Gen Ed 1063) was rapidly transitioned to an online-only remote format for 150 students. I will use this page to periodically share glimpses into the process, various improvised studio modalities, and the teaching and learning experiences of "World Health: Challenges & Opportunities" -- online!

At-Home Mini Studio 

The didactic course content is asynchronous, allowing students the flexibility to learn at their own pace and schedule -  a deliberative design decision given the class size, multiple time zones, and various real-world constraints students are facing. A few different media styles are used. There are three mini-studios scattered throughout the house and a mobile "makeshift" studio in the truck. Here I am capturing two angles - an ipad mounted on a swivel chair provides a front close-up, and an overhead iphone camera allows students to see notes, sketches and diagrams.

Our emphasis on conceptual diagrams to tackle complex interdisciplinary topics has carried over from our brick and mortar class....but creative adaptations were needed to be suitable for the online "personalized" platform. Here is a quick example of one of several videos on the opioid epidemic in the U.S. 

Sharing Lessons Learned

I was recently invited to participate in an interview series led by the Harvard Bok Center's Learning Lab, designed to prepare Harvard faculty for remote learning in the upcoming academic year. In the following videos, I explain the strategic approach I took to adapt remote learning practices, provide advice to other faculty as they mount their own courses online, and ways to create an engaged, optimal experience for students.

Video 1: What advice and encouragement would you give to your colleagues who will be teaching online this fall?
Video 2: What was your strategy for developing your course?
Video 3: Are there any special tips and tricks to share with the teaching community?

COVID-19 Snapshot of the Week 

Being somewhat pragmatic about the social distancing realities that limit live guest appearances (but certainly allow for coersion of one's spouse), students have a weekly COVID-19 "conversation" with Dr. Aaron Waxman. Aaron, a critical care physician with expertise in acute lung injury and pulmonary vascular disease, runs a special pathogen's ICU at the Brigham, focused exclusively on COVID-19. Sometimes humorous, sometimes sobering...questions addressed range from "What is going on with COVID-19 testing" to "What is life like in the ICU this week"?