At HKS, we're leveraging our global ties to foster access to a wider network of experts to shape student thinking and enable students to influence those in the field. Experts can actively participate in live classroom policy discussions. Students can send their insights and knowledge out into the world, positioning practitioners to put knowledge from the classroom into practice right away.
In a spring course, students in Professor Douglas Ahlers's class completed real-world, client-based team projects that assisted the City and County of San Francisco (CCSF) in its planning for a disaster. During the semester, students interacted with world experts and city officials through in-person and virtual classroom events. One of the world’s top experts on hazard estimation – Hope Seligson – spoke with students via videoconference about a sophisticated hazard/GIS program called HAZUS, a tool students used in their team projects. During the course, the teams developed plans for temporary housing of residents displaced by a San Francisco Bay Area earthquake. As a final project, the teams made formal presentations to the San Francisco Mayor’s Office through a videoconferenece connection between the HKS classroom in Cambridge and the City of San Francisco. This live connection fostered the opportunity for formal presentation as well as question and answer between the teams and the client.
Professor Dan Levy surprised his students during a fall class when a case protagonist was virtually connected to the case discussion to share insights and answer student questions. The case in API-209 puts students in the shoes of Jorge Coarasa, an advisor to Mexico’s President, who must assess the targeting options for pensions for poor senior citizens. Mr. Coarasa, who wrote the case with Professor Levy, joined the class in a videoconference from his office in the World Bank. He commented on the student discussion of this real-world decision and answered questions about the calculations of two commonly used targeting measures, leakage and undercoverage rates. Mr. Coarasa is an HKS alumni (MPA 2010). This live participation from a protagonist as a virtual guest speaker was one of the highlights of the semester, according to students.
In Spring 2014, Professor Mark Fagan convened several online sessions for recent alumni of his MLD-601 Operations Management course. The pilot project was part of the HILT-funded World in the Classroom/Classroom in the World (WIC/CIW) initiative. Alumni from several recent years gathered in three web conferences to learn about new tools in ops management and share their own issues and solutions as relatively new practitioners. Professor Fagan also recruited these recent alumni to serve as guest speakers for his current HKS students and share their own case studies in operations management.