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Episode #136. Saturday January 21, 5:30 pm Eastern

How the Pandemic has shaped Leading Universities’ Integration of Digital Learning with Bharat Anand, Cindy Behrtram, and Janet Rankin

How is the pandemic changing the ways leading universities integrate digital education into their institutional strategies? This episode of Silver Lining for Learning features guests from Harvard, MIT, and Stanford discussing their recently published reports on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on teaching and learning — and the lessons learned from emergency remote instruction during that period. While much has been made of the difficulties students experienced after they left campus, this show delves into the potential for innovations and advances in learning that this disruption helped to reveal. Guests will share their thoughts on how digital education could transform their universities over the next decade.

Each report is unique in its genesis and design, and each offers a unique perspective on the impact of the pandemic. The authors will discuss the process of planning and developing their reports and the impact these reports have had, including how higher education might move forward from the pandemic with a renewed focus on meaningful and impactful transformation.

Read the reports: Harvard / MIT / Stanford

Episode Guests

Bharat N. Anand

Bharat N. Anand is the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning at Harvard University and the Henry R. Byers Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He is an expert in digital strategy, digital marketing, and corporate strategy. He has written over fifty articles and case studies, and his scholarly work has received various awards. He created Harvard Business School’s first executive program on digital strategies for media companies, and his work on digital transformation has influenced startups and established companies worldwide. His book The Content Trap: A Strategist’s Guide to Digital Change has received acclaim for its perspective on strategy and digital transformation, and was named as one of Fast Company’s top ten business books of 2016, and Bloomberg’s “Best Books of 2017.”

Professor Anand helped create and launch the digital learning platforms for Harvard Business School Online, which have been described by Fortune as the “Classroom of the Future”. In his current role as Vice Provost, he has led Harvard University’s efforts to formulate, communicate, and implement strategic priorities around online, blended, and residential teaching across the University. Professor Anand was part of Harvard’s central leadership team to support and oversee the University’s transition to remote teaching during the pandemic, and more recently chaired a Harvard wide task force exploring post-pandemic digitally-enabled transformative teaching and learning strategies for Harvard University.  Professor Anand is a renowned teacher and a two‐time winner of the “best teacher award” at Harvard Business School. He received his B.A. in economics from Harvard College magna cum laude, and his PhD in economics from Princeton University.

Cindy Behrtram

A librarian and archivist by training, Cindy Behrtram is associate director of project management in the Office of the Vice Provost for Digital Education at Stanford University, formed in 2021. She co-authored the recent report from that office, Lessons from Teaching and Learning at Stanford During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Review, 2020-21. She is passionate about the power of educational technology to impact the teaching and learning experience, and teaches an M.Ed. course on innovative educational technology and media. In her more than 10 years working in higher education, she has led complex and future-oriented projects, from a large-scale learning management system migration at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, to the development of custom learning simulations at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Cindy holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and a graduate certificate in Learning Design and Technology from the Harvard University Extension School.

Janet Rankin

As Director of TLL, Dr. Janet Rankin works with faculty and departments to integrate efforts to promote better learning at MIT with departmental needs and constraints. Her interests include evidence-based teaching, applying the science of learning, improving learning in large-classes, interdisciplinary learning and teaching, and working with departments to support the professional development of TAs.

Dr. Rankin received her Sc.B. in Engineering from Brown University in 1983, and her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT in 1989. From 1989 until 1991, she was a staff scientist at Oak Ridge National Lab in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. She was a Bunting Fellow at Radcliffe College during the 1991-92 academic year. She received a Visiting Professorship for Women Award from the National Science Foundation which funded her research at Brown during the 1993-1995 academic years. From 1998 to 2000, Dr. Rankin worked in the Office of the Dean of the College office at Brown University as Coordinator of the ExSEL Program (a program to support and encourage the participation of students from traditionally under-represented groups in math and science disciplines). From 2001-2006, she was an Associate Director for the Physical and Life Sciences in the Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning at Brown University. As a member of the Brown Engineering Faculty (1993-2007), she taught a variety of materials science courses as well as general engineering courses. Her research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. Her full CV is here.