Into Practice, a biweekly communication distributed from the Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning to active instructors during the academic year was inspired by a successful 2012 HILT grant project. The e-letter highlights the pedagogical practices of individual faculty members from across Schools and delivers timely, evidence-based teaching advice, contributing to and strengthening a University-wide community of practice around teaching.

Below is a catalog of all the Into Practice issues sorted by the publication date. To subscribe to Into Practice, please sign-up via our Mailing List page.

  • Teaching system-level thinking with an interdisciplinary lens

    Fawwaz Habbal, Executive Dean for Education and Research and Senior Lecturer on Applied Physics, and Doris Sommer, Ira Jewell Williams, Jr. Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of African and African American Studies, co-teach systems-level thinking. Their course, Aesthetic Pleasure and Smart Design: Janus Faces the Future, trains students to look at complex problems from the perspective of both artists and engineers. This requires the development of skills in scientific assessment and disinterested aesthetic judgment. In the spirit of Renaissance Now, an international movement to promote sustainable development, Habbal and Sommer model the combination of boldness and humility. Students in ES 27 read and reflect on material which ranges from aesthetic philosophy and history to triggers for scientific revolution. Then they tackle a complex problem through a proposal that will gain aesthetic acceptance and be scientifically effective.
  • 2021 HILT Conference

    The 2021 annual HILT Conference will explore how we teach students to become global agents of change. Our plenary session will consider how our collective experiences in remote teaching and learning allowed us to rethink our models of instruction, community building, and curriculum. Breakout sessions will explore the various ways instructors can equip students to confront ongoing world-wide challenges through active learning, collaborative groups, and engaged scholarship.
  • Using the classroom to challenge the boundaries of a discipline

    Sawako Kaijima, Assistant Professor of Architecture and Shutzer Assistant Professor at the Radcliffe Institute, challenges students’ preconceptions towards material often defined by their disciplinary norms though the use of visual programing to foster an “intuitive understanding of structural engineering in architectural design.” Structural design and architectural design often live separately in teaching and practice but are fundamentally linked. So her Interface Design: Integrating Material Perceptions course seeks to fuse these two disciplines. The use of a software tool developed specifically for this course, which is accessible even to students with no programming experience, “defamiliarizes architecture students from the common way of looking at materials” and introduces them to an engineering perspective right from the start.
  • Treating merging forms of evidence around us as a collective ensemble

    As an historian of religions, Davíd Carrasco, Neil L. Rudenstine Professor for the Study of Latin America, conducts his courses through an ensemble approach, which enables students to learn about complex evidence from a variety of approaches, sources and mediums. This approach contains four parts: (1) an interdisciplinary intellectual method, (2) incorporating a variety of sources, including artifacts, texts, films, and museum exhibitions; (3) expanding disciplinary perspectives through team teaching and visiting speakers; and (4) organizing diverse student experiences and inviting a range of responses. One example of the ensemble in action is Carrasco’s annual collaboration with the Peabody Museum on their Día de los Muertos exhibition as part of his Gen Ed course, Montezuma’s Mexico: Then and Now (co-taught with William L. Fash) in which students visit and add their own interpretations and art works to the ofrendas.
  • Instructional Moves

    IM spotlights reflective instructors from across the university using high-leverage teaching strategies applicable to multiple settings and grounded in teaching and learning research. Moves are anchored in videos that combine class footage with reflections from instructors and students, and these videos are supplemented by relevant research on the move’s efficacy, tips for enacting this move in diverse settings, and related resources that facilitate deeper exploration.
  • Structuring intellectual collaboration and play

    Emily Dolan, Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of the Humanities, co-teaches the graduate seminar Instruments and Instrumentalities with Professor and James McGill Chair in Culture and Technology Jonathan Sterne of McGill University in which students from both Harvard and McGill (representing a range of disciplines) engage with one another via audio and video conferencing, trips to each campus, online documents, and other tools.
  • Education Innovation Showcase

    The Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching (HILT) held its inaugural Education Innovation Showcase on Thursday, April 11 at the Harvard Innovation Labs. More than 100 people gathered to hear learn about 30 projects designed to enhance teaching and learning, sponsored by HILT. Read a synopsis of the event featured in The Harvard Gazette! 
  • Data Science and Applied Statistics Education Workshop

    Friday, January 25th | 10:00am—3:00pm in CGIS Belfer Case Study Room. Co-sponsored by the Harvard Data Science Initiative, the Institute for Quantitative Social Science, and the Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity, this event will focus on data science and applied statistics and bring together a select set of faculty, student teaching fellows, and staff to: Illuminate how these domains are taught and learned in various ways across Harvard; Demonstrate tools recently developed to support that pedagogical work; Share results of cross-University curriculum mapping efforts in these domains; Meet colleagues from other departments and schools who are teaching similar content
  • Understanding culture through material artifacts

    Students in Japanese art and architecture courses taught by Yukio Lippit, Professor of History of Art and Architecture, often encounter cultures quite different from their own.  Lippit immerses them in those cultures through deep engagement with material artifacts, by examining roof tiles or carpentry, visiting the Japanese house at the Boston Children’s Museum, or participating in a tea ceremony.  
  • Moving from passive learning to active exploration of the physical world

    Scott Edwards, Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Curator of Ornithology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ), makes extensive use of the museum’s ornithology collections in his courses and brings specimens into his lecture sessions to engage students in close analysis during weekly three-hour labs. Edwards models “ways of making meaning” by looking to specimens as key evidence for testing claims and theories.
  • Inviting guest instructors to teach entrepreneurial theory and practice

    Jacob K. Olupona, Professor of African and African American Studies andProfessor of African Religious Traditions, collaborated with students from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2013 to develop a team-taught course on entrepreneurship that would appeal to learners across the University.
  • Teachly: A research project

    Teachly was developed at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) to help faculty members teach more inclusively and effectively. The tool enables faculty to get to know their students and interact with them in a meaningful way through the robust data infrastructure.
  • Whiteness: An Ethnographic Question

    Awardee will use an ethnographic lens to spark an interdisciplinary and intergenerational conversation on the role of whiteness in research, pedagogy, and institutional life.
  • Development of Student-run Podcasts as an Innovative Learning and Communication Tool

    Awardees will develop training workshops to teach students to communicate technical knowledge to broader audiences through podcasting.
  • Teaching Decision-Making through Experiential Learning and Personalized Practice Across Disciplines

    Awardees will study how decision-making is taught and assessed across disciplines and disseminate effective teaching methods.
  • SLab 2.0

    With Advance Grant funding, Rehding established regular lab meetings to refine the goals of SLab 2.0, updated equipment in the lab to accommodate the increased usage of the space, designed a website to host a repository of digital projects and to highlight current student projects, and hosted masterclasses open to the Harvard community.
  • “Making space” for interdisciplinary critical thinking

    Awardees will offer a series of interdisciplinary workshops that develop critical thinking through making.
  • Choice architecture: When students become designers of optimal decision processes

    Awardee will develop in-class and online activities to improve student decision-making and increase classroom engagement.
  • Project Nights and open-ended design research

    Awardees will measure the effects of open-ended extracurricular projects on student learning.
  • Evaluating methods of teaching and assessing critical thinking: A mixed methods study of faculty and students across Harvard University

    Awardees will conduct a mixed methods study analyzing the teaching and learning of critical thinking skills at Harvard—the differences in approaches across Schools, and faculty and student perceptions of critical thinking instruction and assessment.
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