Harvard University has taken an innovative approach to producing course syllabuses by producing videos of professors speaking in detail about the syllabus for the semester, and uploading them to Vimeo. PSFK are reporting that these videos detail courses available in the Harvard Program in General Education, and include courses such as "Modern Jewish Literatureâ€, "American Foodâ€, "Literature and Educationâ€. The videos are publicly available on the site, which means that those of us not lucky enough to attend Harvard can catch a glimpse of what students there will be learning this semester, which is a positive effect of the use of such technology, opening up the workings of one of the most prestigious universities in the world. But on the other hand, it may just make some of us green with envy that we aren't students there.
The use of video is a more direct and engaging experience than reading a course description on paper, and although intended for Harvard students, the videos also function as an advertisement for the university and the professors featured, and indicates that the university is keeping up to date with the latest web sharing platforms. It seems likely that where Harvard leads, other universities will follow, and many universities have already found ways of using online services to enhance their teaching. The engagement between universities and technology will continue to be a source of innovation and most likely will mean more open relationships between universities and wider society.