FREE learning sessions: ASU Innovation Week + Innovation Quarter

ASU is offering five weeks of free virtual programming to engage students, families with kids and the entire community in learning activities covering topics from social justice to the zombie apocalypse to cookie decorating.

The catalog of learning opportunities includes nearly 200 activities, which range from single, 15-minute sessions to courses taking place over multiple weeks.

The break begins with Innovation Week on Dec. 7-11, with dozens of sessions that capture the mindset of how ASU was named “No. 1 in Innovation” six years in a row. Participants can learn about design thinking or become facilitators of ASU Spark, the homegrown innovation process that empowers teams to untangle workplace problems.

The goal is not only to involve the university community but also to showcase ASU to the public.

“This is an opportunity for prospective families to dip a toe into ASU’s innovative waters,” said Natalie Goebig, associate director for enrollment services communications.

“They can experience for themselves what ASU has to offer when it comes to innovation.”

Innovation Quarter runs from Dec. 14 to Jan. 8, with activities including resume building, preparation for graduate school, media literacy and study abroad. Some sessions tap into urgent global issues, such as water sustainability and vaccine development, while others, like “Christmas Bake-a-Long,” are just for fun. Learn about mindfulness, empathy and how to cultivate cultural intelligence.

Some of ASU’s top experts will share their knowledge. Nadya Bliss, executive director of the Global Security Initiative, will discuss the high-tech gadgets in the James Bond movies and compare them to real-life government research. Liz Lerman, Institute Professor of Dance, will show how dance can unlock innovation. And Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Weil Family Professor of Journalism Len Downie will talk about holding power accountable.

Many activities are open to anyone, with some reserved for specific audiences. One workshop teaches professors how to use gamification to prevent students from turning in late work. A weeklong “coding academy” is for grades K-12. ASU students can learn how to become COVID-19 contact tracers.

Several sessions are live on Zoom, some are asynchronous — able to be accessed at any time — and others are a hybrid model, combining live content with “homework.” There’s also a series of micro-podcasts, a movie club, a book club and a craft session on how to make stress balls.

Registration is open now.

A sampling of the scheduled activities: 

“Behind the Scenes at Decision Theater” will showcase an ASU resource that deserves to be better known. This two-hour session will let participants interact with Decision Theater’s software models that are used to train diplomats to deal with crises. “You’re in the hot seat. What choices do you make?” said Keren Hirsch, project manager for Decision Theater. “It’s done in such an immersive way. At the end, you get a reflection panel of your choices.” The workshop is open to anyone, but the goal is to educate faculty and students, Hirsch said. “We want to show how faculty can interact with Decision Theater in many different ways — visualization, data analysis, modeling,” she said. “And students can understand complex systems, which they might not have as part of their education.” The team is hoping to draw more student interest in applying for jobs at Decision Theater.

“Virtual Campout with NASA” is a three-hour evening activity for families on Dec. 12. Participants download the Space Center Houston app to learn about space exploration before doing the guided star-gazing experiences.

“Enriching Your Own Life by Expressing Gratitude” is a 90-minute workshop open to anyone. It will teach participants how to express gratitude in real and symbolic ways as a means of staying grounded and positive.

Several sessions are live on Zoom, some are asynchronous — able to be accessed at any time — and others are a hybrid model, combining live content with “homework.” There’s also a series of micro-podcasts, a movie club, a book club and a craft session.

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