AskUp! TLT Student Developer Project Wins HILT Spark Grant

February 24, 2015

Congratulations to Jonathan Hausmann (HMS), Phil McGachey (TLT), Ziv Paz (HMS), Sarah Schachman (FAS), and Elliott Yates (TLT) on receiving a Spark Grant from the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching (HILT) for their work in developing the application AskUp, a learner-generated study tool. The online platform uses evidence-based techniques to facilitate and enhance learning through learner-generated questions. The project is a joint venture between investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and engineers in the Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT) program. Spark Grants are awarded by HILT and are designed to help "spark" promising teaching and learning projects from idea to reality and position innovations for future success.

The AskUp application prompts learners to reflect on an educational event such as a classroom lecture, reading assignment, online video, or hospital patient encounter, then generate questions and answers based on that experience. As a learning tool, questions and answers can be shared with other learners in the same course, as well as re-sent to learners at various intervals as a means of reinforcing knowledge. The tool will also collect data on how the application is used, how often students log into the software, and how many questions were created and answered. The data can be reviewed for developing pedagogical strategies that enhance the learning experience.

"AskUp is a revolutionary educational tool to enhance learning. It empowers learners to create their own questions and answers, employing techniques that have been shown to improve learning and retention." -- Jonathan S. Hausmann, MD, Harvard Medical School

Students interested in assisting on this project or investigating other new ideas should contact David Heitmeyer at david_heitmeyer@harvard.edu. TLT offers students the opportunity to strengthen their programming skills, acquire exposure to professional paradigms in software development, and contribute to Harvard’s mission to employ technology in the pursuit of teaching and learning.