June 14, 2024 – Cambridge, MA. The Harvard Division of Continuing Education (DCE) Emerging Technology Solutions Team was awarded a 2024 Eduventures Innovation Award at the annual Summit in Chicago, IL on June 13, 2024. The award recognizes DCE’s design, development, and implementation of the HELIX Portable Blended Classroom that enables expanded teaching of blended classes, allowing local and remote students to have an immersive and connected learning experience in real-time and in any classroom setting.

Prior to the development of the Portable Blended Classroom, HyFlex (Hybrid and Flexible) teaching was only available in a limited number of classrooms, requiring substantial financial and technical investments. The HELIX (Harvard Extension Live Interactive eXperience) Portable Blended Classroom allows Harvard faculty to teach to both classroom-based and remote students simultaneously from any classroom while removing the sense of distance and isolation that is frequently associated with synchronous online learning and teaching by students and instructors.

An image of the HELIX Portable Blended Classroom equipment. Zoom windows are displayed on each screen as students in class would view them (one with a gallery view and one with a speaker view).
The HELIX Portable Blended Classroom.

This configuration, which combines easily available hardware with Zoom-based software, allows faculty to fully engage with all students, including the ability to “look each other in the eye,” with only a pair of portable carts that require minimal set-up and limited technical expertise to operate. The Portable Blended Classroom has been successfully used in a wide variety of classrooms across the Harvard campus by the Harvard Extension School, Harvard Summer School, Harvard College, and other Harvard professional schools.

The DCE Emerging Technology Solutions Team is overseen by Henry Leitner, PhD, Chief Innovation Officer and Associate Dean, Information Technology. The Team supports DCE and its academic units.

The Innovation Award was given by Eduventures Research, the research division of Encoura that provides higher education leaders primary research, analysis, and advisory services to support decision-making throughout the student life cycle. The award recognizes new approaches to teaching and learning or student support based on value to the institution, innovation, and relevance to the mission of the school.

About the Harvard Division of Continuing Education

The Harvard Division of Continuing Education is a division of Harvard University dedicated to bringing rigorous programs and innovative online teaching capabilities to modern purpose-driven learners including working professionals, high school students, visiting college students, and those seeking higher learning in retirement. We’ve been fueled by innovation and dedicated to excellence for over 100 years. Learn more at Harvard Division of Continuing Education.

Contact: Harry Pierre, Harry_Pierre@Harvard.edu