The ICON Program for Interdisciplinary Learning
The research and teaching activities of the ICON Program for Interdisciplinary Learning bring together the efforts of our established interschool and international collaborations. Our founding principle is to bridge the gap between theory and the reality of practice, building partnerships among multidisciplinary groups of faculty and students that enhance the process of problem solving, decision-making, hypothesis thinking, diagnosis, and cooperation to produce the best possible outcome.
ICON is real time, “live” case simulation where students are able to see the consequences of their decisions in solving problems at multiple levels of analysis. ICON is modeled from the Hopfield neural net of recurrent threshold units. What is unique about the ICON learning environment is that its web-based modules enable students to request and integrate new information, articulate ideas in a variety of contexts, and communicate with each other and in meaningful dialogue with the characters in the case. This dialogue is recorded in the Virtual Contact module and is achieved by having expert faculty and specialists from different disciplines and schools both within and outside of Harvard assume the role of scientist, physician, consultant, and patient in the case. Embedded in ICON are aggregate metrics for real time assessment, providing students and faculty with measurable profiles of learning phenotypes and interdisciplinary competencies not usually found within traditional educational resources and web-based assessment tools.
Frequently Asked Questions
The ICON online guide is available.
For easier printing or downloading, a pdf version is also available.