Throughout 2022, the Shipley Center team of project managers, media producers, and learning designers moved the innovation needle — supporting experimentation, embracing partnerships across all BU campuses, and elevating those leading the charge. The following list highlights more than a dozen new and legacy pilot projects, each dedicated to enhancing the teaching and learning experience at BU.

Powering VR and AI

In the second phase of the Using VR to Address Social Determinants of Health pilot, the project team has been developing an interdisciplinary virtual learning environment featuring an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered patient to foster student collaboration on virtual scenarios to both enhance their understanding of social determinants of health (SDoH) and promote their ability to engage in collaborative problem solving with diverse healthcare professionals. 

Beyond the Pilot: Supporting Faith-based Leaders

To address the needs of clergy, faith-based, and social justice leaders, BU School of Theology (STH) launched and completed the multi-year Lifelong Learning Project with a focus on congregational issues and peer-based community building. Programming consisted of short, practical faculty- and alumni-led online workshops wherein participants developed plans and processes they could implement within their own communities. Upon successfully completing the online lifelong learning pilot in June 2022, STH is continuing its programming initiatives to support faith-based leaders. 

Leveraging BU Alumni Expertise for Workforce Development

The Network for Professional Education (The Network) is a multi-year pilot initiated by BU School of Social Work (BUSSW) to provide access to high-quality training and career development programs for health and social service professionals and community and state-based agencies and service providers. With growth in BUSSW’s Center for Aging & Disability Education & Research and other programming, The Network delivers timely and culturally relevant training to support workforce development needs. Utilizing the Trainers Hub, The Network also engages School of Social Work alumni to share their expertise by providing training and consultation services. 

Expanding Online Digital Badging Competencies

The PhD Progression project team deployed an online digital badging platform for BU doctoral students to plan, track, and share their progress in completing scaffolded learning pathways aligned with the PhD Core Capacities. The project team continues its expansion plans to reach all BU doctoral students by adding pathways and tools aligned with labor market data so that competencies can be highlighted with mentors and employers. CTL Associate Director Jean Otsuki contributed to the development of the popular digital badges on inclusive and equitable teaching.

Tapping into BU Alumni as Mentors

The Interprofessional Leadership in Healthcare Certificate program, spearheaded by the College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College and the School of Social Work, experienced growth and local, national, and global recognition throughout the year at a variety of conferences, including the Nexus Summit 2022 and the World Federation of Occupational Therapists Congress. In this pilot, BU alumni from healthcare fields across the clinical care continuum serve as mentors and facilitate peer-to-peer, collaborative learning for the certificate’s five courses. 

Piloting a Student-centered AI Learning Platform

The BU School of Social Work Field Education project team is piloting course assignments and field readiness learning labs utilizing Eleos Health, a digital behavioral health platform. This platform enables students to complete practice scenarios and receives personal feedback and assessment that leverage voice-based artificial intelligence. 

Elevating the Power of Peer Tutoring

In 2022, the Tutoring Writing in the Disciplines (TWID) pilot entered the evaluation and sustainability phase. Spearheaded by faculty from Boston University College of Arts & Sciences Writing Program, in partnership with collaborating academic departments, TWID, which leverages the WCONLINE platform, provides peer tutoring opportunities for student writers in the disciplines. The program team plans to develop partnerships with other BU academic units in which writing is crucial for undergraduate coursework.

Beyond BU Funding Opportunities

In addition to pilot project management and support, the Shipley Center maintains a curated list of external funding opportunities. Aligning with educational innovation and digital learning goals, this resource encourages consideration of a diverse range of funding options for the implementation and sustainability of relevant experiments and to foster university research efforts focused on the impact of novel educational technologies on teaching and learning. 


The Visualization of Innovation: Media Production

School of Dentistry “How-to” Videos

Working in partnership with Dr. Afsheen Lakhani and Dr. Matthew Zweig, the Shipley Center media production team created a series of “how-to” videos that include equipment demonstrations and procedures performed by School of Dental Medicine students. 

Boston University Financial Oversight and Governance Training for Trustees

In lieu of an in-person presentation, senior leadership at the University, including President Robert A. Brown, developed a series of videos and a website in conjunction with the Shipley Center’s learning design support to highlight the current state of the University and offer best financial practices as state-mandated training for BU Trustees.

First-Class Student Experiences

The media team recorded and edited a series of videos highlighting the experiences of Global Programs’ First Class mentors and mentees. BU First Class is delivered on the edX platform and prepares incoming international students for the transition to BU and the American classroom. 

Mentor Training Videos for Postdocs

The media team recorded and edited a series of videos that the Provost’s Office will implement for postdoc mentor training. 

Professional Development Training and Tips Videos

The Shipley Center media team co-developed a series of videos that offer professional development tips and tools. These online resources are delivered via a comprehensive email campaign from BU Human Resources and Organizational Development & Learning. Interviews with experts and more extensive training and instructional videos are currently being developed. 

View Shipley Center Pilot Projects & Initiatives and schedule a consultation here.