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Duke Innovates Together to Shape What and How We Learn

Interdisciplinary and experiential learning are foundational to a Duke education, resulting in constant innovation across schools and departments. Duke courses and co-curricular programming benefit from unique partnerships and applications of research in one discipline to education happening in completely different arenas.

Here are some snapshots of how Duke innovators are collaborating to pioneer digital pedagogy and tools, adapt learning to virtual and hybrid environments, and extend Duke thought leadership, expertise, and resources to the broader educational community.

Professor Maurizio Forte’s Virtual Museums course usually involves many digital lab activities—but teaching remotely provided new opportunities, including a webcam eye tracking system that allowed students to evaluate virtual museums’ designs and interfaces.

Equity Matters—a two-day virtual symposium cohosted by Duke I&E, the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the Fuqua School of Business, and the NCCU School of Business—gathered entrepreneurs, investors, and academics to discuss challenges faced by Black and underrepresented founders and strategies for changing the investment landscape.

Redesigning her Immigration and Health class in the wake of COVID-19, and with support from a Bass Connections Collaborative Project Expedition grant, sociology professor Jen’nan Read partnered with World Relief Durham to have students work on projects to help improve refugee youth outcomes in the Durham community.


Duke’s new Inequality Studies minor—a collaboration between the History department and the Samuel Dubois Cook Center on Social Equity—will support students across Duke in examining inequality and gaining research opportunities.

Duke’s innovative Cultures & Languages Across the Curriculum program offers students the chance to take classes from other departments in their target language—helping busy students keep up their learned language skills, empowering native speakers studying other fields, providing a sense of community, incorporating perspectives and issues that may be missing from English-only classes, and especially during COVID-19, providing an international lens when travel isn’t possible.

The Duke Computing Roundtable brought together faculty, researchers, and graduate students with an interest in computational questions to exchange ideas and collaborate on future projects, with speakers covering topics ranging from protein folding and blood flow to optimization problems in oil exploration, interpretable AI, and even art restoration.


Performance and Technology isn’t your typical engineering course—its students explore the humanities, including dance, to learn how culture and expression inform the design of human interface technology.

Jamie Jones, director of Fuqua’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, coauthored a case study with Rachel Classi ’14 of Teamworks, a software company headquartered in Durham that helps athletic teams manage their operations. When Teamworks leadership—and Fuqua alums—visited Fuqua classes to work through the case and react to presentations, students gained real-world collaborative experience.

Bass Digital Education Fellowships, offered by the Graduate School in collaboration with Duke Learning Innovation, support Duke PhD students in gaining deep knowledge of digital pedagogy and launching projects and tools for use by the broader Duke community.


After North Carolina adopted computer science learning standards, Bass Connections team CSbyUs piloted its open design-powered computer science curriculum with a local elementary school in hopes of getting it adopted statewide.

At the start of the pandemic, Duke Learning Innovation worked with Coursera to pilot their Coronavirus Response Initiative at Duke Kunshan University. Based on that program’s success, Coursera extended unlimited access to all universities through 2021—and evolved the Coursera Partner Consortium, offering access to an expanded catalog of courses from participating universities worldwide for free.

Open Design at Duke and Beyond offered students the opportunity to help ideate and build design experiences at Duke, building on foundational knowledge about human-centered design to execute a design learning summit, create educational resources, and co-creating Duke’s new Open Design+ summer research experience.


Aaron Dinin and students classroom

I&E’s Certificate program provides vital foundational skills in innovation and entrepreneurship to students across Duke, preparing students to create change in whatever path they choose.


Learn how Duke innovates together…

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