gothic archway and door


Welcome to the first Learning Innovation Annual Report. Announced in October 2017, Learning Innovation combines two predecessor groups, the Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) and Online Duke, and adds a focus on research partnerships and learning R&D. Our new name puts learning first and emphasizes our mission to help Duke students learn more, and to help more people learn from Duke.

With the help of our many partners and colleagues we have done much to advance our mission this past year. Highlights include:

Coursera for Duke

In December 2017, we launched Coursera for Duke, a new program to give Duke students, faculty and staff free access to Duke’s Coursera courses. Coursera for Duke expands the universe of learning at Duke. Online co-curricular courses complement what we offer in the formal curriculum with opportunities to enhance skills, branch out, explore a topic and challenge yourself—at one’s own pace, with no grade and no risk. Since the program launched in December 2017, 972 Duke community members have enrolled in at least one course.
>>Read more about Coursera for Duke

Duke Kunshan Learning Innovation Fellows

In collaboration with the leadership of Duke Kunshan, consultants from Duke’s Learning Innovation team organized a year-long faculty development program for the new instructors. The Duke Kunshan Learning Innovation Fellowship expanded on similar professional development programs, but also innovated. The team worked with the faculty online, developing active learning strategies, developing and peer-reviewing syllabi and testing new approaches. Complementing the online work, the whole group of founding faculty came together in person for two intensive professional development residencies with our team in Durham.
>>Read more about the Duke Kunshan Learning Innovation Fellows


A “level-up” is a short online course that emphasizes foundational knowledge within a major. Duke began exploring the level-up concept in 2017 as a tool to give students the background needed to be successful in required courses, especially gateway courses and key major courses. In Spring 2018, we worked with two professors from Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy to create a level-up on introductory U.S. civics. We found that students reported significant gains in their knowledge on every key concept the level-up covered.
>>Read more about the U.S. civics level-up


PebblePad was adopted by Duke at the beginning of the 2016-2017 academic year as the university’s e-portfolio tool. PebblePad allows students, faculty and staff to create websites, blogs and reflections to share privately or publish for public audiences such as potential employers. Over the past year the service grew to nearly 3,000 users.
>>Read more about ePortfolios

NextEd Festival of Learning

In early July 2017, Learning Innovation (then CIT/Online Duke) conceived of a month-long series of public events at Duke to take place during October focused on themes of teaching and learning innovation, online learning, digital learning, academic R&D and related themes. NextEd Festival was intended as an experiment and an alternative to the CIT Showcase. We wanted to see if a series of shorter events spread across several weeks would engage more and different audiences and better achieve our goals than one major day-long conference. The resulting festival featured over 40 events created with nearly 30 partner organizations attended by 400+ students, faculty, staff and guests.
>>Read more about NextEd

Online Duke Website

In November 2017, we launched a new Online Duke website designed to serve as a single portal for information on all of Duke’s online courses and programs. The new site is more user-focused with a searchable catalog of Duke’s open online courses as well as courses from the Center for Documentary Studies, the Nicholas School, Duke Continuing Studies, Fuqua and more. Users can find information on online and hybrid degree programs on a single page and easily request more information from school admissions departments.
>>Read more about the Online Duke website redesign

We have much more to do in the coming year. We will partner with schools and departments to launch new online courses, programs and level-ups. We will launch the first version of Kits–our effort to improve and streamline access to Duke’s ecosystem of ed tech tools. This October’s NextEd Festival will feature themes ranging from equity and inclusion in teaching to “future-proofing” our educational efforts. We will expand our R&D effort, including the launch of a service designed to streamline educational research efforts for faculty. We will introduce a new Digital Education Fellows program that offers Duke graduate students valuable digital design and development skills. We will continue to support faculty excellence in teaching and learning through our Faculty Fellows and Course Design Institutes.

We encourage you to follow along–and join in–on our website, our newsletter and at our events.

–Shawn Miller & Matthew Rascoff