From the Office of the Provost
Provost Vincent Price is pleased to announce the opening of a significant new hub devoted to teaching and learning, located on the first floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center and encompassing the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Online Learning Initiative, and the Center for Learning Analytics.
“This dynamic new space represents a major leap forward for teaching and learning at Penn,” said Provost Price. “It brings together the expertise of these vital resources for online and in-class education, placing them at the heart of campus and providing greater opportunities for them to share ideas, collaborate with the Penn Libraries, and work more closely with faculty and students across our twelve Schools.”
The new hub invites all members of the Penn community to an open house on Monday, January 30, from 4:30-5:30.
Penn’s Center for Teaching and Learning, founded in 2000, promotes teaching excellence across the university, offering a wide range of teaching workshops, informal discussions and seminars, and one-on-one consultations. In particular, it has been at the forefront of Penn’s Structured Active In-Class Learning initiative, working closely with faculty on innovative classes in which students engage actively with course material, often through hands-on, in-class group projects. It also customizes programs for the needs of particular disciplines and for instructors who may be planning specific teaching innovations.
The Online Learning Initiative was created in 2012 when Penn became one of the founding university partners in Coursera, the pioneering online learning platform. Penn now offers more than 80 courses on Coursera, with 22 million learners around the world in disciplines that encompass all twelve Penn Schools. At the same time, we have expanded our engagement with online learning to include the non-profit edX platform, support of executive and professional training certificate programs, assisting in the launch of a new Master of Health Care Innovation, and other innovative and advanced educational programs. Our faculty’s work in online learning has also spurred educational innovations on campus, especially through the SAIL initiative and other new forms of active in-class learning.
As part of this expansion, the collaborative space will host Penn’s new Center for Learning Analytics, led by Prof. Ryan Baker of the Graduate School of Education. The Center will offer essential research about best practices in teaching and learning, both online and on campus. Collaborating with the Online Learning Initiative and other partners across the university, it will use a wide range of data to examine such areas as how best to promote long-term learning, predict student success, and study how learners differ between different cultures.
Co-located in the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, these three centers will have greater opportunities to work closely with the Libraries’ Office of Teaching, Research, and Learning Services, a key driver of innovative educational technologies across campus, especially the highly successful launch and widespread adoption of Canvas. They will also draw on the Library’s Weigle Information Commons, Vitale Digital Media Lab, and Collaborative Classroom to create a truly interconnected hub of activities that collectively advance teaching and learning at Penn.
“From the time of its founding, Penn has been a leader in educational innovation,” said Provost Price. “This vibrant new space will help us sustain that place at the vanguard of teaching and learning, for the benefit of our entire community – and of the wider educational community around the world.”