When Harvard classes moved online, PhD candidate and teaching fellow, Phil Fahn-Lai (S. Pierce Lab), used his background in graphic and web design to tackle the online challenges for students in OEB 126: Vertebrate Evolution. The course's labs involve hands-on observation of the MCZ's Vertebrate Paleontology collection. Determined to make the classroom experience meaningful for the remote students, Phil approached the Derek Bok Center's Learning Lab to design a custom web app for the course. In collaboration with members of the Pierce lab, Phil used photogrammetry to scan and create 3D models of as many fossil specimens as possible. With the images, Phil built the app, Lab 3D, OEB 126's online platform for conducting labs.
Students can view the 3D models on Sketchfab, as well as see a text pane, which contains streamlined versions of lab handouts, and a popup phylogeny tree. The Bok Center has created a demo version of the app.