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Ross Venook: Connecting with students in a digital classroom

Students are learning to prototype and collaborate virtually
Stanford lecturer sitting at table with his son


Stanford University's move to fully-online learning has presented enormous challenges and opportunities.

Ross Venook co-teaches Biodesign Innovation, a popular two-quarter course  which combines graduate students from medicine, engineering and business. These multidisciplinary teams work together to identify and solve real problems in health care by developing new digital or device-based technologies. He shares some of the surprising benefits and unexpected joys he's experienced while teaching online.

“The advantage of working virtually is that it forces teams to focus earlier on what they actually need to build. Having fewer resources available helps students remember that prototyping doesn’t mean building a baby version of the final product. It means building the smallest, simplest thing necessary to address a key question. Every team can make progress at the kitchen table."

"Some of the students are enjoying learning remote teamwork skills because they realize that their future is going to be collaborating in a globally connected, distributed manner."

Read more about how Stanford faculty members continue to engage from a distance.