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Harvard Graduate School of Education:

Promotion or Retention: A Dilemma in Educational Ethics

The Challenge:

Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) wanted a multimedia case study designed to help teachers, school administrators, guidance counselors, and students in education and in philosophy grapple with key concepts and dilemmas in educational ethics. For this purpose, they had created a case where learners are responsible for deciding whether “Ada,” a fictitious over-age but underachieving 8th grader, should be retained in 8th grade, promoted to 9th grade, or sent to an alternative school. To make the decision, users needed to examine Ada’s school records and written work, review information about her classmates and school district, encounter wisdom from the field, assess relevant research, and participate directly in a simulated teacher meeting.

The Solution:

Working with HGSE, Illumina produced a case driven by a rich visual and audio narrative that incorporates images, videos, text, graphics, and audio stories to immerse users in authentic settings and choices. It is fully accessible and provides multiple supports, including an FAQ on the US education system, to support a global user base. The program is designed to reflect real-world situations faced by educational professionals, while also presenting concepts, data, and skills that are central to ethical decision-making in a wide array of educational contexts. The case can be used in a fully online or blended format, and can be completed either asynchronously or synchronously, individually or in groups, and either as a stand-alone learning experience or as a lead-in to group discussion.
The course won an OMNI Silver award in 2019.


Harvard Graduate School of Education


Fall 2019 OMNI Silver Award Winner

In December of 2019, Illumina was honored to receive an OMNI Silver Award from Media Corp – a world-renowned organization that exists to recognize outstanding achievements in film/video, web and mobile media and accepts submissions from countries all around the globe.

Illumina received the OMNI Award for the “Promotion or Retention Educational Ethics Case” eLearning course we created for the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

What our clients say about us

“They are quick to understand and adapt as the specs have evolved over time. Being flexible and responsive is a huge benefit. Because a lot of clients don’t know what they need at the outset, the Illumina team is good at co-creating that solution and making informative recommendations.”


Rebecca Jackson Stoeckle
Deputy Center Director, Center for Research on High Risk Behavior Health and Human Development Division, Education Development Center