The pandemic forced Harvard Summer School fully online, nudging the program along in a direction it was already looking to explore.
“We already had a number of online course offerings on the books and had been thinking about how to strengthen our online learning communities pre-COVID,” said Sandra Naddaff, dean of Harvard Summer School. “So, challenging as the circumstances were, we were able to expand the initiatives we had been developing and pivot pretty quickly and successfully to a fully online experience.”
The Summer School General Program saw a 13 percent increase in students and a 9 percent rise in total enrollments, thanks in part to increased financial aid and waivers for students at Harvard College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
“I think we had a remarkably successful Summer School, not just because we had a significant increase in our enrollments, but more importantly because even though we were completely online, our students still had the powerful and exciting learning experience we promise, both inside and beyond this summer’s virtual classroom,” Naddaff said.
Faculty were able to relatively quickly convert their courses to an online format with some help from the Summer School Academic Affairs team and the Division of Continuing Education’s Teaching and Learning team, which supplied training and orientation. Students also had access to online tutoring, professional development guidance, and social and personal enrichment activities delivered virtually.