The 2021 Rappaport Greater Boston Applied Field Lab was primarily a virtual class experience, as required by the university. Using the innovative pedagogy developed following Harvard’s move to remote learning in March 2020 as a foundation, we adapted the curriculum for the Zoom environment in several ways (such as limiting large class sessions to 75 minutes to reduce screen fatigue, organizing separate small group discussions, skills sessions, and fun virtual ‘picnics’ to build community). There was high demand to participate in the Lab, and we accepted 34 students to help accommodate the huge number of applicants.
The course focused particularly on ramifications of the pandemic, the Biden administration’s plans for investment in US infrastructure and funding for cities and families, and social equity and environmental issues. The field lab held class discussions with key leaders around these important topics.
This report describes the semester as it unfolded, including details on how we adapted learning to an online format.