LEarning Innovation sign

What’s Next

A few things we’re excited about for 2019-2020:

  • Welcoming our first Bass Digital Education Fellows – a new PhD student development program (featuring a course and year-long fellowship with Learning Innovation). Read more about our new Fellows.
  • Partnering with Bass Connections to help faculty design, develop and teach Collaborative Inquiry courses through the Collaborative Project Courses Faculty Fellowship.
  • Expanding our rollout and development of Kits
  • Ramping up offerings and faculty partnerships as part of our new Teaching and Learning Innovation Lab
  • Rolling out hive.duke.edu – a place for Duke University alumni and students to virtually connect to campus and one another for professional development
  • Planning MEM online certificate with Pratt and discussing possible new online programs w/ NSOE, DGHI and Sanford.
  • Launching “NextEd Labs at the Bullpen Powered by Embark x Learning Innovation” new space for Triangle cluster and Duke students working in educational innovation (at the I&E space in the Imperial building)

In the coming year, we will continue to focus on our strategic priority areas (see section below). We’re eager to continue to partner with the Duke community on these efforts and more.

Current priority areas for 2017-2020

While Learning Innovation offers many core services and programs supporting teaching and learning at Duke, our current strategy takes the best of what we’ve learned from innovative teaching, learning technology and online learning and commits to exploring and expanding what’s possible for Duke. At the heart of our current strategy is the concept of the ‘arc of learning.’ We imagine an arc of learning opportunities that begins with prospective students, peaks with the on-campus student experience, and supports alumni throughout their lives. With digital tools, we can offer learning in this more holistic way, retaining and deepening the social ties that learners make even as they move from one phase of their lives to the next.

Blue Bridge (Redesign College Access Through Digital Learning)

Pilot digital learning programs and/or experiences for talented, low-income high school students that would allow them to sample Duke learning experiences, gain college-readiness skills, and introduce them to our community of learners. Duke’s learning community begins with an individual’s decision to apply. Through online learning the university has the potential to influence those decisions and to reach new audiences of prospective students who might not otherwise have considered Duke or its peer institutions.


  • Fall 2017 – Partnered with RePublic High School to pilot using Duke Coursera content in high school classrooms.
  • Fall 2018-Spring 2019 – Reviewing potential projects and partners for next pilot.
  • Fall 2019 – Planning a pilot project with Duke TIP focused on data science skills for high school students.

Using Digital Learning to Impact Duke Students

A shift towards student-centered learning should yield new abilities to measure and evaluate learning. We know that learning does not just take place only in the classroom. Duke affords students multiple opportunities to enrich their academic endeavors through both curricular and co-curricular experiences. We will partner with Duke faculty to design, develop and offer online learning experiences to transform learning for Duke students in and outside of the classroom. We are particularly focused on learning experiences that prepare students in areas of need and offer opportunities for deliberate practice. We see much potential for redesigning common bottlenecks to STEM majors, especially for underrepresented groups.


  • 2017-2018 –  Designed and launched Civic Engagement in American Democracy – our first “Level-Up” – a short digital learning experience that helps students meet the prerequisites of a course or program.
  • Fall 2017 – launched Coursera for Duke – providing free access to all of Duke’s Coursera content to Duke faculty, staff and students.
  • Fall 2018 – Launched the first in a series of Duke-created machine learning Level-Ups. Plus Data Science (+DS) project: Introduction to Machine Learning course hosted on Coursera and Coursera for Duke; visit the +DS website (developed by DWS) for more info on upcoming events
  • Fall 2018-Spring 2019 – invested in making Sakai more flexible for co-curricular courses
  • 2018- present – continue to pursue pilots for leveraging more Open Educational Resources (OER) in Duke courses
  • Fall 2019 – Collaborating with OIT CoLab to create new Level-Ups for intro Pratt courses.

Forever Duke Online

Use online learning experiences to strengthen the connection between Duke and Duke alumni. We envision a future of learning unbound from time and space, in which Duke strengthens its connections with – and among – learners throughout their lives.  Through social learning platforms we offer, alumni might grow their relationships to Duke and to Duke faculty, and with one another. Through just-in-time learning opportunities, alumni can learn relevant material at critical turning points in their lives. (Think how much more useful it might be to offer a leadership course to alumni who are 47, as they are stepping into significant positions, rather than at 27, a typical age of an MBA student.) We can also continue to challenge alumni with the timeless, foundational questions that are meaningful in different ways throughout life. In this vision, graduates may leave Durham but they will never leave Duke.


  • Spring 2018 – Collaborated with Duke Alumni Association and Sanyin Siang, Executive Director for the Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics, to create a new four-week online course for alumni on how to launch an idea (e.g., new business venture, career change, a personal life project)
  • Fall 2018 – Launched a pilot program (November 2018) providing free access to Duke’s Coursera courses and Specializations for Duke Alumni.
  • Spring 2019Fall 2019 – (in development) Physician Thriving and Wellness (with the Duke Alumni Association and School of Medicine  Alumni Affairs); exploring platform(s) for virtual 1:1 mentoring network to link alumni and Duke students together more effectively through virtual collaborations, web chats and virtual campus visits.  

Kits: The Duke Learning App Store

The current state of learning technologies focuses primarily on meeting faculty’s teaching needs through the Learning Management System (LMS). This contradicts our vision of the ideal university IT and academic culture: a culture of technological plurality and choice. Kits is an effort to modernize Duke’s learning technology ecosystem using the Next Generation Digital Learning Environment (NGDLE) approach. In partnership with Duke’s Office of Information Technology, Learning Innovation is developing a unified learner dashboard that supports all learning experiences and embraces all learning technologies someone might encounter in their life’s journey with Duke. For faculty, Kits takes the pain out of getting the people in your community access to the apps you’re using to facilitate learning; you can connect your community to apps with one click. For learners, Kits gives you easy access to all your learning apps.


  • 2017-2018 – Partnered with Duke OIT to develop a “Discovery Overview” detailing the overall need, requirements and development plan. Licensed GradeScope, a grading app, campus-wide. Continued partnership w/ Duke OIT to develop Kits.  Presented the Kits project at the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Annual Meeting 2018 and EDUCAUSE Annual Meeting 2018. Added 10 apps to the app store (as of Fall 2018).
  • Spring 2019 – Launched first Duke-wide beta of Kits (https://kits.duke.edu/); Hired a Product Manager.
  • Fall 2019 – Expanded beta and larger roll out to the Duke community.
  • Future – enable remaining integrations in Duke’s ecosystem; allow schools or departments to pre-select apps; enable Kits for non-course use; iterate on administrative backend and new user requested features.

Learning R&D Incubator

Establish a research, evaluation and development incubator to test new teaching and learning practices and develop new approaches to instructional challenges. The science of learning is emerging as a new scholarly field. Through targeted investments, we can tie learning to the Duke research enterprise as a new “applied science.”  By positioning Duke at the forefront of advancing the research and applying it we might attract new funders seeking to advance this field; faculty would gain research publications; and students would benefit from our experiments in improving learning.


  • 2018 – Establishing faculty partnerships, e.g., with Dr. Bridgette Hard in Psychology and Neuroscience for the BRITE Ideas series. Co-PI on grant w/ Office of Naval Research to improve collaborative peer review (developing Re.View software/website). Piloted “Nudge,” a Duke-developed technology designed to text or email students a single question at regular intervals after a lecture. Developed first beta of WALTer (We Are Learning Together) – a streamlined process for faculty to gain IRB approval for teaching and learning research.
  • Spring 2019 – Hired a Program Coordinator to support our ongoing evaluation and data collection efforts. Joined the Empirical Educator Project and contributed our work on WALTer.
  • Fall 2019 – Announced our new Teaching and Learning Innovation Lab.

Online Professional Programs

Many institutions are looking to their graduate and professional programs as the next wave of online innovation. We too should seize the opportunity to develop new and innovative online offerings in partnership with schools and in support of school-level strategies. Learning Innovation will partner with Duke schools to co-develop online and blended masters or certificate programs and support the development of these programs with an internal Online Program Management model providing a suite of shared services (instructional design, production, market research).


  • 2018 – Assisting Pratt in the analysis of a potential new masters program. Hired a Market Research Analyst to support new degree and certificate program opportunity analysis. Supported Fuqua with consulting and research services for new Coursera specialization. Explored marketing potential of new C Programming specialization w/ ECE. Supported Master in Interdisciplinary Data Science (MIDS) faculty and staff in development of inaugural MIDS bootcamp (“Level up” for incoming MIDS students).
  • 2019 – Currently working with DGHI, Pratt MEM, NSOE and Sanford on market-research, planning and/or development of online certificates and degrees.

Digital Education Fellowship

Provide PhD students with professional development opportunities in the growing area of digital teaching and learning. The Bass Digital Education Fellowship Program helps graduate students develop new skills to distinguish themselves in the academic job market and to explore emerging career paths in education technology, digital publishing, and teaching and learning innovation. Fellows will consult with Duke departments and/or individual faculty to uncover needs, research solutions, draft project proposals, and upon acceptance, execute a digital project in support of undergraduate education. Fellows who complete the program will also partially fulfill the requirements for the Certificate in College Teaching.  


  • Summer-Fall 2018: Designed year-long program; secured funding; solicited applications
  • Spring 2019: Graduate class GS762: Digital Pedagogy launches
  • Fall 2019: first cohort begins internships

Duke Kunshan University

Support the launch and success of Duke Kunshan University’s new undergraduate program and help connect Duke and Duke Kunshan faculty and students through sharing of innovative pedagogical practices and the development and/or sharing of online and digital learning experiences. Duke Kunshan University (DKU) represents an unusual opportunity to design learning experiences focused on the learner from the beginning — incorporating all we know about engaging students, working in groups, using educational technologies, and connecting student learning and research. We have the chance to partner with Duke Kunshan faculty in defining a new standard of teaching excellence in liberal arts education. Central to our vision is the creation of a strong learning community that includes new Duke Kunshan faculty working with Duke faculty and staff who are committed to fostering the “bidirectional educational innovation” highlighted in Duke’s new Strategic Plan: Together Duke. Through this learning community, we anticipate the sustained and continual sharing of new pedagogical approaches, better understanding of teaching and learning in a 21st century global context, and increased collaborations and conversations between Duke and DKU students, staff and faculty.


  • Fall 2017 – Learning Innovation consultant Haiyan Zhou launches Duke Kunshan’s Center for Teaching and Learning. Learning Innovation staff participated in interview process for first cohort of Duke Kunshan faculty.
  • Spring 2018 – Learning Innovation, together with the Duke Kunshan Programs Office and Duke Kunshan’s Dean of Curriculum and Faculty Development, created a successful six-month faculty development program called Learning Innovation Fellows for the first cohort of 22 Duke Kunshan undergraduate faculty. Learning Innovation staff participated in interview process for second cohort of Duke Kunshan faculty.
  • Fall 2018 – DKU undergraduate programs began. Provided access to Coursera for Duke for Duke Kunshan students.
  • Spring 2019 – Second DKU Learning Innovation Fellowship (March-May). Learning Innovation staff participated in interview process for third cohort of Duke Kunshan faculty.
  • Fall 2019-Spring 2020 – Next DKU Learning Innovation Fellowship.

Organize and Strengthen Learning Networks at Duke

Learning happens in networks of colleagues, cohorts, peers – in communities of practice, not hierarchies. We plan to organize faculty development and support to strengthen learning networks across the entire University. We envision several components that enhance coordination and strengthen network ties to achieve common strategic goals. This approach represents a shift from “service provider” to networked “platform provider,” in which we bring together groups, organize alliances, manage projects, and achieve university-wide goals.


  • Fall 2017 – launched the first NextEd Fest – a month-long Festival of Learning; partnered with Duke’s Vice President for Interdisciplinary Studies to rework the process for Duke’s TeachX program; began an extended partnership with the Office of Faculty Advancement to collaborate on events focused on inclusive and equitable teaching practices; co-sponsored several events with other Duke organizations (i.e. Thompson Writing Program; Duke Service Learning). Launched the BRITE Ideas series with Bridgette Hard in Psychology and Neuroscience. Learning Innovation staff participated in a Bass Connections project w/ the Open Source Pedagogy, Research, + Innovation Lab (OSPRI). Established the Learning Technology Advisory Council (LearnTAC) to bring together faculty and administrative staff to discuss learning technology strategy.
  • Fall 2018NextEd Fest 2018 included 4 weeks and over 15 events focused on 4 ‘grand challenges’ facing teaching and learning
  • Fall 2019 – Collaborating with other faculty development centers and departments to strategize the next wave of Duke faculty development and programs.