Ari Bader-Natal

Minerva (2012-now)

Sapientia Critica

Technology enables the Minerva experience, but the education defines it. I work with the amazing Minerva academic team to imagine and build technologies to achieve Minerva's educational vision.

This generally involves designing, coding, and evaluating functional prototypes of immersive learning venues. I work with the engineering team to turn validated explorations into core components of Minerva's learning environment.



Course Builder: Technology for teams to build courses around Active Learning

I led the creation of Minerva's curriculum design technologies in 2016-2017. Unlike a "traditional" LMS, this curriculum management system is not student-facing. We decouple the tools and technologies for course design from those for teaching and learning. Details and screenshots forthcoming...



Active Learning Forum: "Seminar on Steroids"

The Active Learning Forum is Minerva's core technology platform, and the Active Learning Seminar is its centerpiece. I devoted most of 2012 and 2013 to designing and prototyping the ALF, with the goal of developing a learning venue tailored for meaningful seminar discussion and targeted formative feedback. I worked with the very talented engineering team to turn these validated explorations into core components of Minerva's learning environment. I'm incredibly proud of what we've created.

What does a seminar look like on the Active Learning Forum? What does it mean to learn and teach in this classroom? While I frequently try to explain in conversation how this unusual classroom enables new forms of learning and teaching, it's much easier to communicate by showing it in action...




Assessment tool suite: Formative feedback, in context

More recently, I designed and prototyped the first version of Minerva's technology to support formative assessment of (a.) classroom discussion contributions and (b.) homework submitted as a document, video, or website.

The classroom assessment tool was designed to provide students with structured feedback on their contributions to their classes on the Active Learning Forum. This tool makes a cameo appearance in the 2015 video.

I designed the assignment assessment tool to conceptually mirror the class assessment tool. The contextual anchoring is defined differently (a text passage rather than a spoken comment), but the concept of structuring feedback as annotations remains the same.




Academic records: Generating, archiving, protecting

In 2014, I designed and built Minerva's first system for generating academic transcripts (official and unofficial) and term reports based on the formative assessments collected using the tools above. A secure student-facing Registrar system provides each student with access to their documents. The site also provides the student a link to download a comprehensive machine-readable dataset including every score and every written comment given by all of their professors at Minerva.

Related Publications

Bader-Natal, A., Fost, J., and Genone, J. Building Lesson Plans for Twenty-First-Century Active Learning. In Building the Intentional University: Minerva and the Future of Higher Education, edited by Stephen M. Kosslyn and Ben Nelson, MIT Press, 2017.
Katzman, J., Regan, M., and Bader-Natal, A. The Active Learning Forum. In Building the Intentional University: Minerva and the Future of Higher Education, edited by Stephen M. Kosslyn and Ben Nelson, MIT Press, 2017.
Levitt, R., Bader-Natal, A., and Chandler, V. Assessing Student Learning. In Building the Intentional University: Minerva and the Future of Higher Education, edited by Stephen M. Kosslyn and Ben Nelson, MIT Press, 2017.

Related Patents

Bader-Natal et al., 2017. “Apparatus, user interface, and method for authoring and managing lesson plans and course design for virtual conference learning environments”U.S. Patent Application US 15/709,365Filed September 19, 2017 • Patent Pending.
Bader-Natal et al., 2017. “System and method for tracking events and providing feedback in a virtual conference”U.S. Patent 9,674,243Filed August 31, 2015Issued June 6, 2017
Bader-Natal et al., 2017. “System and method for decision support in a virtual conference”U.S. Patent 9,578,073Filed August 31, 2015Issued February 21, 2017
Bader-Natal et al., 2016. “Participation queue system and method for online video conferencing”U.S. Patent 9,521,170Filed March 31, 2015Issued December 13, 2016
Bader-Natal et al., 2015. “System and method for a virtual conference interactive timeline”U.S. Patent Application US 14/840,546Filed August 31, 2015 • Patent Pending.
Bader-Natal et al., 2015. “System and method for managing virtual conferencing breakout groups”U.S. Patent Application US 14/675,712Filed March 31, 2015 • Patent Pending.
Bader-Natal et al., 2014. “Registering and displaying visual attention metadata in a web video conferencing and seminar system”U.S. Patent Application US 14/481,854Filed September 9, 2014 • Patent Pending.