Public Health

The merits of an equal basis of ignorance

This post is republished from Into Practice, a biweekly communication of Harvard’s Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning

Giovanni ParmigianiGiovanni Parmigiani, Professor of Biostatistics, selects new scientific articles as well as opinion pieces for freshman seminar course FRSEMR 22H – My Genes and Cancer to discuss in-the-moment scientific discoveries in genetics research, and encourages students to also recommend topics of interest. This “equal basis of ignorance” establishes an environment where he and his students learn and develop opinions together.

 The benefits:  Less constrained by his expertise, Parmigiani finds students ask the really simple (and hard) questions. They have to wrestle more concretely with moral dilemmas such as the implications of changing the genome of future children, poke holes in each other’s assumptions and arguments, and develop their own voices. This deepens debate and discussion.... Read more about The merits of an equal basis of ignorance

Leveraging student heterogeneity to bridge gaps through active learning

This post is republished from Into Practice, a biweekly communication of Harvard’s Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning

Wessling-ResnickMarianne Wessling-Resnick, Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry, employs active learning strategies including debate, ‘pair and share,’ and peer evaluation to bridge gaps in student experience and knowledge. “I have found that it is to my advantage to use the heterogeneity of the class as a tool.”

The benefits: Students enrolled in graduate courses at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health represent diverse academic preparation and intended career tracks, illustrated in matrix form to prospective students. “No matter what part of the quadrant you are in, you can use your background and expertise in the classroom.”... Read more about Leveraging student heterogeneity to bridge gaps through active learning

Elevating class conversation: Taking a case-based approach

This post is republished from Into Practice, a biweekly communication of Harvard’s Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning

Nancy Kane, Professor of Management and Associate Dean of Case-based Teaching and Learning at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Healthtrains instructors on using the teaching case to lead effective course discussions

THE BENEFITS

Elements from case-based teaching can elevate the level of discussion in just about any class. Research has long suggested that “doing” rather than just watching promotes deeper learning.