Sam Marks felt almost giddy. It was the first time the senior lecturer on playwriting had taught in person since last March, and he couldn’t stop grinning at the handful of students looking back at him.
“I just want to sit here and look at you all,” Marks said to them. “This is what it’s supposed to be.”
Since the start of April, about 200 students, faculty, and staff have been taking part in a monthlong, in-person-and-virtual hybrid learning pilot for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The test run involves 14 courses, ranging from the humanities to the sciences, that meet on campus and in person in Harvard Hall, Farkas Hall, or in tents in the Yard.
The students and professors in each course meet one to three times in person before going back to their online Zoom format and are part of Harvard College’s planning for the fall semester. The pilot is meant to give faculty, instructional staff, and students a sense of what it’s like to physically be in a class with coronavirus restrictions in place and then have to make accommodations for possible hybrid learning scenarios.
“We are still planning for all possible scenarios for the fall although we have a clear intention of doing as much in-person learning as we can,” said Rebecca Nesson, associate dean of the Harvard College curriculum. “We’re out of practice doing a whole bunch of things and have a lot of systems that need to get restarted. We’re trying to get all of those things going and fold in the extra procedures [like social distancing] that we have in a pandemic.”