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Higher Education’s Big Rethink

What is Higher Education's Big Rethink?

Higher Education’s Big Rethink is a multi-layered community of practice that has followed the dramatic story of higher education’s adaptation for Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and beyond surrounding the challenges of the COVID crisis and the national consciousness around racial justice. Higher Education’s Big Rethink continues to explore the complex planning, preparation, and execution phases surrounding sustained change and presents the far-reaching action plans and consequences for institutions and the future of higher education.

What is the Potential for Sustained Change within the Future of Learning and Equity?

What is the Way Forward for Racial Justice Innovation and Transformation?

What is the State of the Teaching and Learning Agenda?

The Master's Program in

Learning, Design, and Technology

Higher Education’s Big Rethink is a signature initiative of the Georgetown Master’s Program in Learning, Design and Technology (LDT). With the support of Baker Trust for Transformational Learning, the Big Rethink provides a distinctive experiential learning context for the LDT Program connecting students, faculty and alumni with the higher education community, confronting the most compelling questions that are shaping the future of higher education.


Higher Education’s Challenge to Change in the Face of the Pandemic, Inequity and Racism 

A free digital publication exploring the impact of the unprecedented events of 2020 and the potential for transformation in higher education—produced collaboratively by graduate students and faculty in Georgetown’s Program in Learning, Design and Technology

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the idea of “opening” has loomed large and led to many challenges and questions. The crisis also has generated a set of transformational openings:

  • The pivot to remote instruction opened higher education’s eyes to the inequitable circumstances surrounding students and technology.
  • The violent deaths of Black men and women, and subsequent protests, opened an unprecedented conversation about systemic racism and racial justice at colleges and universities everywhere.
  • The consequential emerging demands for educational adaptation, as well as the call for racial justice on campuses, gives higher education new openings for creating and sustaining meaningful change.

Harvested and edited from a series of interviews with higher education leaders, Openings lays out the landscape of challenges arising from the events of 2020, and offers the foundations for a transformative agenda emerging from the COVID-19 crisis and events related to racial justice.

The Webinar Series

With the assistance of LDT students, Bryan Alexander conducted nearly twenty webinar interviews with thought leaders and guided the class with interview question development, resource preparation, and distilling highlights. You can access the publicly available interview content to the left. 

Share your #COVed Stories - Spring 2021 and Beyond

As part of the Big Rethink, Georgetown’s LDT program is collecting COVID stories from the educational designers and developers, who are at the leading edge helping to move their institutions forward and prepare campuses for teaching and learning in the Academic Year 21-22. We believe that educational designers and developers have a critical role to play in Higher Education’s Big Rethink.

On January 29th, 2021,  we hosted our first #COVedStories event. Using Twitter to host this discussion and solicit accounts of tremendous transformation, the higher education community was able to share accounts of the technological issues, change management, scaling support, pedagogical strategizing, resource challenges, and more that are changing the higher education community. This is our first community Twitter chat, but not our last. Please join our future chats and share your experiences!

The stories of educational developers and designers, collectively, give us a first important insight into the latent potential for innovation and transformation in the current crisesboth COVID-19 and racial justice. 

Our Community and Our Values

LDT Program Values Informing Higher Education's Big Rethink

A critical studies approach to higher education.

A vision of learning that is transformative and holistic, equitable and inclusive.

A transdisciplinary approach to learning design that integrates the learning sciences and design methodologies with creativity and making.

A focus on the future as an object of study.

An agile and broad approach to learning design that is practical and applied to professional contexts.

A commitment to social and racial justice and the goal of positively shaping the future of higher education in the service of the common good.

For More Information

Questions about the initiative can be directed to Randy Bass, LDT faculty; Vice President, Strategic Education Initiatives, Georgetown University. Email: bassr@georgetown.edu

Questions about registration can be directed to Anne Musica, LDT Program Coordinator, Georgetown University.  Email: anne.musica@georgetown.edu