Carry the Innovation Forward is a new program focused on sustaining and expanding the learning innovations that arose at Duke during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-21. 

During a period of change and uncertainty, Duke faculty, staff and students sought to build purpose and meaning through the adoption of new teaching methods and learning technologies, as well as stay connected to one another while physically apart. While the end of the pandemic will bring much to celebrate, we also know that out of crises new opportunities and innovations can emerge. In light of this, we are partnering with faculty who seek to use experiences from pandemic teaching to innovate the future of teaching and learning at Duke. 

We are providing support for projects that align with one or more of the following four tracks (see Requirements & Information for additional details):

1. Research on Innovative Learning

Many new approaches to teaching and learning emerged in 2020. Sometimes referred to as ‘pandemic pedagogy,’ experimentation was not only welcome but necessary. We now have the opportunity to analyze those experiments to understand their impacts. Did learning improve? Did our efforts have the impact we intended? What unanticipated outcomes did we see at Duke, and were those different at DKU? What new experiments can we design based on our “pandemic pedagogy” experience?

These are the projects and partners DLI will be supporting and collaborating with in this track:

  • Laboratory kits as an aide to student in-person laboratory learningKip Coonley, Chris Bingham, Lisa Huettel, Stacy Tantum, Michael Gustafson, David R. Smith, Steve Cummer, Shani Daley, and Krish Chakrabarty
    • Study the effectiveness of Integrating hands-on learning using real hardware outside of the laboratory as pre-lab exercises to be completed prior to attending an in-person lab section. 
  • A systematic review of Zoom pedagogy: Digital divide revisited in the COVID-19 eraJennie De Gagne and Leila Ledbetter
    • Examine the barriers and facilitators to Zoom pedagogy perceived and experienced by health professions students from the lenses of the digital divide, digital equity, and digital inclusion to guide pedagogical and curricular updates.
  • Evaluation of in-person versus online learner-led small group activities in RadiologyJonathan Martin and Robert French
    • Investigate the impact of the shift from in-person to online learner-led small group activities, as well as the creation of new, individually completed online clinical cases, on radiology education.
  • Understanding the student experience in STEM courses during the pandemic: a comparison of traditional face-to-face versus online course versionsThomas Newpher, Minna Ng and Dorian Canelas.
    • Investigate the impact of transitioning from in-person to remote instruction in STEM courses, especially among under-represented groups in STEM.
  • Connecting reading and application: using social annotation to foster knowledge construction and higher-order thinking skills in an online Global Health Ethics graduate course at Duke UniversityKarrie Stewart
    • Examine the extent to which social annotation activities in online classes support knowledge construction and higher-order thinking skills through collaborative sense-making and applying knowledge in new situations, particularly ethical-decision making in collaborative global health research.
  • Building community and self-efficacy through inclusive teaching practicesMaria Tackett and Shira Viel
    • Engage in research on building community and self-efficacy through inclusive teaching practices in introductory STEM courses.

2. Exploration of New Learning Technology

While most Duke and DKU faculty used Zoom and Sakai to establish their online presence, many faculty also experimented with new technologies to create connections between students, better relay content and ideas, and ultimately provide better learning experiences for students. What tools or technologies would you like to continue exploring? What if you had funding and additional resources to explore similar tools? What problems or needs do you have that new technologies might address? (NOTE: If you are a student and/or an instructor working with students looking to fund innovative technology projects, consider applying for a CoLab Innovation Grant.)

These are the projects and partners DLI will be supporting and collaborating with in this track:

  • Knowledge vs. Knowledge Structures — Across the DisciplinesRuth Day
    • Creating an app that facilitates a card-sorting exercise to map knowledge retrieval throughout a course.
  • Light Board Studio WorkerMark Hart
    • Develop a library of lightboard videos used to flip classes in Sanford courses -in particular with heavily quantitative content.
  • Scaling up entrepreneurial coaching with technologySteven McClelland, Sharique Hasan and Aaron Chatterji
    • Expand the use of digital technologies (e.g. Slack, Airtable and Zoom) to serve entrepreneurial coaching to local and affiliated organizations (e.g., NCCU, DKU, Helius Foundation, Audacity labs).
  • Virtual NasherJulia McHugh, Mark Olson and Wendy Hower
    • Create four new virtual experiences of museum exhibitions: two interactive, immersive virtual tours of exhibitions (one each semester) and two virtual video tours of exhibitions. 
  • A Template for Designing Virtual Escape RoomsJacqui McMillian-Bohler, Christine Leonard and Stephanie Gedzyk-Neiman
    • Develop an online resource library to support educational uses of virtual escape rooms. 
  • Taking the intelligent classroom assistant to the next levelJon Reifschneider
    • Support the expanded development of the  Intelligent Classroom Assistant (more info) and pilot broader use within Duke via a Sakai integration.
  • Approaches to Participatory Learning in Virtual EnvironmentsAugustus Wendell, Benjamin Bacon and Vivian Xu
    • Explore VR technologies, test content modules, and build foundational tools to support courses centered on aspects of Virtual Reality, Interaction Design, User Experience and Game Mechanics at both Duke and DKU
  • Industry 4.0 Open Education Resource Publication InitiativesLuyao Zhang, Haiyan Zhou, Brandon Fain, Kartik Nayak, Fan Zhang, Haley Walton, Tianyu Wu, and Yinhong Zhao 
    • Create Open Educational Resources (OER) for DKU Economics courses, Duke Computer Science courses and co-curricular programs, using Duke and DKU undergraduates to code the materials.
  • Virtual Reality Health Professionals Skills TrainerMichael Zychowicz 
    • Development of a virtual reality task trainer for health professional students to learn and practice essential clinical skills such as suturing, putting a cast on an injured limb, and injecting a body part

3. Re-envisioning a Course or Program for Flexible or Online Learning 

In 2020, most faculty gained experience with digital learning of some sort—be it fully online, hybrid or some other combination. We know that successful online learning requires time to plan, design and prepare. We also know that the most successful efforts don’t happen in a vacuum—they require collaboration with colleagues who can bring new ideas, expertise and production assistance to the course or program. We welcome proposals for courses or programs that grow digital learning experiences from the seeds of the innovations gathered during remote learning, either Duke only or Duke-DKU collaborative courses.

These are the projects and partners DLI will be supporting and collaborating with in this track:

  • Graduate Public Policy Video LibraryMatthew Bunyi, Cory Krupp, Eddy Malesky, Sarah Bermeo, Subhrendu Pattanayak and Marcos Rangel
    • Establish a Graduate Public Policy Video Library, creating a repository of high-quality, flexible teaching material for instructors across the school.
  • Learning Together Apart: Rethinking the Asynchronous ModuleDella Chambless, Luciana Fellin, Mattia Begali, Laura Bilanceri and Laura Casa
    • Redesign six lower-level Italian courses as hybrid courses to include multiple asynchronous modules to accomplish learning objectives via a diverse selection of activities, including interactions with peers at other institutions, and with native Italian speakers. 
  • Extending and maximizing effectiveness in virtual language learning beyond the pandemicRebecca Ewing, Joan Munné and Lisa Merschel 
    • Revise Spanish 204 to include more inclusive and accessible activities and assessments for online or hybrid teaching, and to ensure an inclusive “digital habitat” for the course, using principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). 

4. Faculty Learning Communities 

We know that change and learning come from reflection and collaboration. We also know that most faculty didn’t have the time, bandwidth or energy to dig into the deeper changes they wanted to see in their courses and teaching in 2020. In this area, we will provide support to convene faculty learning communities at Duke or Duke-DKU, focused on rethinking pedagogical approaches  to continue and expand pandemic-inspired innovations.

These are the projects and partners DLI will be supporting and collaborating with in this track:

  • Transformative Learning at DukeJoan Clifford, Liliana Paredes and Cori Crane
    • The Transformative Learning Intellectual Community will expand and continue to learn about Transformative Learning particularly in underrepresented student groups at Duke, and host speakers and faculty discussions to increase interest and uptake of transformative learning principles in Duke courses. 
  • Assessing and Creating Classroom Climates that Support Learning through Diversity, Inclusion and BelongingBarb Hooper and Lindy Norman
    • Creating and assessing classroom climates that support learning through diversity, inclusion and belonging, and comprised of the entire faculty and academic support staff for their new doctoral program.
  • CDS Anti-Racism Faculty Learning CommunityChristopher Sims and Michael Betts 
    • Structured learning activities about anti-racism in teaching documentary studies for their full-time and core adjunct faculty, supported by an expert consultant. 
  • Inclusive Assessment for Quantitative DisciplinesStacy Tantum and Sophia Santillan 
    • Learning about and implementing inclusive online assessment practices in quantitative courses, particularly in light of the concerns that sometimes arise about academic integrity in online assessment.
  • Hybrid learning to connect students within and beyond the Nicholas School of the Environment (NSOE)Rebecca Vidra
    • Articulate a vision for offering a set of courses in the hybrid format, considering the impact on current NSOE educational programs. 

We can consult with you on your instructional ideas. Duke faculty may email learninginnovation@duke.edu to request a consult. If you would like notification of future DLI programs and instructional initiatives, join the our mailing list.


Special thanks to the Office of Information Technology, the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, and the Duke University School of Nursing for partnering to support selected Carry the Innovation Forward projects.