Harvard Graduate School of Education Logo

Give back to HGSE and support the next generation of passionate educators and innovative leaders.

Current Issue

Spring 2021

download a PDF of the article

What Will You Remember the Most from This Bizarre Year of Learning Virtually?

Melanie ShimanoMelanie Shimano, Ed.M. (TIE)
Baltimore

I’ll always remember late night paper revisions and lecture viewing party sessions with my learning pod from Education Policy Analysis with Professor Reimers. We always started off doing work, but then ended up doing something totally unrelated — heading on a Target run in Texas, talking about the latest gossip from WeChat in China, or watching my dog dress up in different sweaters in the “cold” California winter. All three of us were based in different time zones and were also working while taking classes, so we had to get creative with our meeting times, but we always ended up having fun regardless of the hour!

Julia SteinbergJulia Steinberg, Ed.M. (HDP)
Princeton, New Jersey

I am a part-time student living in Princeton, New Jersey. I will always remember the friendly relationships I have made with my professors, in spite of never meeting in person. It’s amazing how a view into a person’s home office with passing pets or children can help you feel connected over the miles!

Jessica O'DonnellJessica O’Donnell, Ed.M. (TIE)
Toronto

In the fall, I took a course taught by Eileen McGivney, The Virtual Self: Identity, Culture, and Learning in Digital Worlds. My peers and I received VR headsets, and we had multiple opportunities to interact with each other in various virtual worlds. Although I was unable to physically meet my classmates on the Harvard campus this year, these interactions in virtual reality and the advancements in avatar design provided me with the opportunity to connect with my peers in an innovative and remarkable way.

April FloresApril Flores, Ed.M. (EPM)
Brownsville, Texas

This past semester, I was enrolled in Dr. V’s Ethnic Studies class and I’ll remember the Ethnic Studies Symposium. While we could not attend physically, my family, friends, and current/former students attended our presentation which, for me, became a more impactful experience.

Clara ChoiClara Choi, Ed.M. (AIE)
Los Angeles

I will miss being able to sleep in until one minute before my morning class starts and calling in from the comforts of my bed.

Jeannette Garcia CoppersmithJeannette Garcia Coppersmith (Ph.D.)
Los Angeles

I’m a first-year Ph.D. student. One of the most memorable parts of this year of virtual learning was getting together on Zoom every Monday evening with my reading group for one of our required courses. We were supposed to be discussing our readings and sharing notes, which we did, but only after checking in personally, sharing updates about baby panda Xiao Qi Ji at the National Zoo, and posting funny memes for about an hour. Having this unstructured time to laugh and connect during this strange year was one of the highlights of the fall for me. (Shout out to my reading group: Caroline, Julian, Lily, and Kemy!)