Learning Innovation Welcomes Spring 2019 Bass Fellows

Perkins Library Duke Campus

What has impressed me the most about the use of digital technologies at Duke is the variety of pedagogical development opportunities available to graduate students. From the Bass Instructional Fellowship to the Digital Humanities Initiative, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke has demonstrated a genuine commitment to helping graduates students learn and grow as online teachers and scholars.  – Ben Richardson

Learning Innovation welcomes two Bass Instructional Fellows this spring who will partner with our team to gain valuable professional development experience in online college teaching, course development, and instructional design – PhD students Ben Richardson (English Literature) and Can Evren (Cultural Anthropology). In this post, Ben Richardson shares what motivated him to pursue this apprenticeship:

I decided to become a Bass Fellow in part because online teaching is becoming such an important part of higher education, and I thought that by engaging in this program I would get a chance to develop the different capacities needed for this field. In particular, I am hoping to learn both the best-practices for designing online learning experiences and also a set of technical skills which will allow me to implement these ideas in my own curriculum.

Richardson has recently taught English 247: Victorian Literature (Fall 2018) and English 290 Modernist Futures (Fall 2017) at Duke. He has completed seminars on “Teaching Diverse Learners” in the Certificate in College Teaching program. His interest in designing digital learning experiences motivated him to apply for the fellowship.

Ben Richardson, PhD Student, English Literature

Through participating in GS 762, a course on digital pedagogy and learning design, I was surprised to find out just how different the process of developing online courses is from in-person teaching. In actually having the opportunity to produce a learning module, I quickly learned the importance of designing learner-centered instructional lesson materials, and also just how challenging it can be to produce an interactive lecture on camera instead of face-to-face.

In addition to his research at Duke, Richardson has been an assistant to the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Science and Cultural Theory, and has also helped develop a working group in conjunction with the Political Science Department about humor and politics.

In our next post, you’ll hear from Can Evren. Learning Innovation is pleased to welcome these new Bass Fellows and to facilitate their engaging work in innovative teaching with Duke faculty.


We’ve now launched a new program – the Bass Digital Education Fellowship for PhD students, and look forward to welcoming our new Bass Digital Education Fellows Fall 2019. More exciting news to come!

Sophia Stone, Ed.D.

Author: Sophia Stone, Ed.D.

Sophia collaborates with faculty to provide pedagogical and academic technology consulting, training, and project management, for campus-based and online initiatives. She consults on innovative teaching practices across academic disciplines, and works with faculty on course planning, course design and development, and assessment strategies. Her research interests include global online education, instructional design, faculty development, distance education, and international learners.