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Current Projects: College Learners

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Stanford scholars are looking at ways to build online spaces that foster engagement and investigating how to deliver high-quality learning experiences to college students globally.

Three areas in higher education emerged as highly disrupted by the pandemic, yet receptive to fashioning novel digital alternatives. This year’s projects focus on three areas: field-based study, clinical learning experiences, and community center life.  Members of the Digital Learning Initiative of the Transforming Learning Accelerator will design solutions, pilot them at Stanford, and then expand beyond Stanford through strategic partnerships.


Virtual Field Trips
Developing tools and learner-centered frameworks to create and co-experience navigable worlds via immersive, 360-degree photos and videos. Digital field trips offer unique affordances to expand access to locales, capture sense of place, and foreground agency within an experiential learning environment.

  • Project leads: Kristen Pilner Blair and Dan Schwartz, Graduate School of Education; Ryan Petterson, School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences
  • Research and design team: Bryan Brown, Doris Chin, Joe Sherman, Josh Weiss, Keith Bowen, Rachel Wolf, and Wilson Wang, Graduate School of Education

Clinical Experiences - Teacher Preparation
Address educator problems of practice and learning experiences lost during remote instruction, and connect teacher candidates with rich resources to support learning about in-person teaching while studying remotely.

  • Project leads: Heidi Chang, Sarah Levine, and Karin Forssell, Graduate School of Education
  • Research and design team: Kristen Pilner Blair, Stephanie Robillard, and Josh Weiss, Graduate School of Education; undergrad research assistants 

Community Centers
Community Centers have been trying to maintain engagement during the COVID-19 crisis through online community building. They have seen benefits for those who otherwise have trouble with access to live events. Yet they have also experienced drawbacks such as “Zoom fatigue,” intermittent WiFi, privacy issues, and difficulties creating meaningful connection in online spaces. In response to these challenges, our team has helped The Markaz, the Muslim Student Union, and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Live conceptualize and develop Virtual Ramadan, an effort to express Ramadan’s important themes, including spiritual reflection, community service, and togetherness, in a digital environment. Read more about the effort in our TLA News.

  • Project leads: Shelley Goldman and Keith Bowen, Graduate School of Education
  • Research and design team: Josh Weiss and Wilson Wang, Graduate School of Education; Cassandra Garcia, Arman Kassam, and Manar Barsi, The Markaz Resource Center