Come October, the books and carrels of traditional scholars at Widener Library will be joined by a more contemporary educational tool.
A state-of-the-art video production studio to be managed jointly by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and HarvardX, Harvard’s subset of the larger edX online learning initiative, will open next month on the concourse level of Widener Library. The new space will aim to provide faculty with an opportunity to create digital material for Harvard courses online and on campus.
Christened the Rita E. and Gustave M. Hauser Digital Teaching and Learning Studio, the new studio will feature green screens, high-definition cameras, and an LED light grid that will give a physical presence to Harvard’s foray into online education. Among other initiatives, highlighted by Harvard’s launch of edX and growing efforts to integrate technology into the classroom, the creation of the new studio indicates that what began as an experiment in digital pedagogy has increasingly become an institutional priority.
“The Hauser studio is a significant step toward the goal of supporting teaching innovation broadly across the faculty,” FAS Dean Michael D. Smith said in a statement. “Widener, Harvard’s icon for the dissemination of knowledge, is a fitting location for a new resource that will encourage innovation at the heart of our teaching mission.”
Led by Smith, administrators first began discussing the recording and production facility last winter, according to Robert G. Doyle, associate dean for instructional media services. Construction began in early July and has involved repurposing a former storage space into a studio setting. Doyle, who oversaw the project’s development and will co-manage the studio when it is complete, said he expects the facility to have a soft opening by the end of October.
Video data will be transferred for post-production by direct cables wired underground from the Hauser Studio to the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Media Technology and Services, and the Maxwell Dworkin staff office for CS50: “Introduction to Computer Science.” The online version of the popular campus course is the most-enrolled HarvardX class, with more than 150,000 registrants.
The Hauser family previously made a larger gift to Harvard in fall 2011, establishing the President’s Fund for Innovative Teaching. The $40 million gift, which also endowed the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching, was broadly aimed at integrating technology into the classroom and funding research on improved pedagogy. It could not be confirmed whether a connection exists between the Hausers’ 2011 gift and their funding for the new production studio.
"At an institution well known for innovative research facilities, it is wonderful to see that same level of physical support being made available for faculty to push the envelope in teaching and learning,” Robert A. Lue, faculty director of HarvardX and of the Bok Center, said in a statement.
While the CS50 staff and the Bok Center will have complete access to the studio at all times, all faculty will have the opportunity to utilize the facility on a first-come, first-serve basis. A full-time video specialist will be on hand to coordinate production.
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This article has been revised to reflect the following clarification and correction:
CLARIFICATION: Sept. 26, 2013
An earlier version of this article stated that funding for the new Hauser Sstudio came from a $40 million grant given by the Hauser family in 2011. To clarify, it could not be confirmed whether a connection exists between the Hausers’ 2011 gift and their funding for the studio. Earlier versions of photo captions accompanying this article stated that the studio is located in the basement of Widener; to clarify, the studio is situated on Widener’s concourse level.
CORRECTION: Sept. 26, 2013
Earlier versions of photo captions accompanying this article incorrectly described the new Hauser Studio as an edX initiative. In fact, it is meant to broadly support digital pedagogy at Harvard.
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