The start of our 15th year of experiential learning through the Rappaport Greater Boston Applied Field Lab began much like the others. We screened projects from multiple communities during the fall semester, and then selected student applicants from across the Harvard graduate schools. We launched the course with in-person visits from local city leaders and led a day-long field trip for the students to visit the project sites.
No one could have imagined the global challenges that would confront this year’s class in March. Following Harvard’s move to virtual learning, we readjusted the pedagogy so that students, city partners and the teaching team could push forward with the projects. We adapted the projects to help the community respond to the crisis. We expanded the Public Finance Summer Fellows program to meet the unprecedented demand from both students and client partners.
This report describes the semester as it unfolded, including details on how we adapted learning to an online format.