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.

  • Encouraging learning by creating alongside diverse feedback

    Paul B. Bottino, Co-Founder, Executive Director, and Lecturer at the Technology & Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard, offers Start-up R&D to undergraduate students across disciplines who are interested in the field and have a particular project idea in mind. Within the workshop course structure, “each student project is the educational centerpiece.” Student groups work on a variety of innovative startup projects seeking solutions to problems they care about. The course uses multiple approaches to help students build upon their ideas and receive constructive feedback: “challenge sessions” where students outline their biggest obstacles to a small group of peers; individual meetings with Bottino and teaching fellows; and connections with alumni. “It’s like a Greek forum of peers, near-peers, and mentors” with students learning that “entrepreneurship is a creative and iterative research practice of idea formulation, experimentation, and feedback.” At the end of term, students present and receive feedback on projects at a public event “Demo Day.”
  • Applying Pedagogical Insights to Large Online Courses

    When William Fisher, WilmerHale Professor of Intellectual Property Law, was approached to create an online course version of his Harvard Law School Copyright course, he agreed with the stipulation that CopyrightX be paired with the residential version, that enrollment be limited to 500, and that students meet in discussion sections of 25. Both online and residential students watch the same 90-minute lecture video prior to class time. When the class meets, Fisher facilitates case study discussions with residential students and 15-20 teaching fellows do so for sections of online students. Sometimes, residential and online students meet virtually to hear from a guest speaker.
  • Establishing a rigorous and invigorating classroom

    Robert Reid-Pharr, Professor of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and of African American Studies strives to create a “rigorous but not frightening” classroom experience for the course Gender, Sexuality, and the Archive, in which students take turns leading class discussion—presenting thoughts on, challenges to, and questions about course readings derived from essays they have written. With facilitation from Reid-Pharr, their peers then ask difficult questions of the discussion leader that begin to generate meaningful conversation.
  • Implementing collaborative experimentation

    Rachel Carmody, Assistant Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology, explores a burgeoning new field in her course Gut Microbiome and Human Health. The main goals are for students to develop the skills to understand how experiments are designed and conducted, and to critically evaluate existing studies and emerging research papers. Students are challenged to generate new data of their own and run experiments to investigate a predetermined hypothesis individually and collectively during the semester. They regularly discuss the results of their experiments and produce final research papers that use the collective data to explore any aspect of the hypothesis that interests them.
  • 2019 HILT Conference

    HILT’s eighth annual conference held on September 27, 2019, in Wasserstein Hall, explored various approaches to peer learning at Harvard and beyond: in the classroom (residential and online) and outside the classroom.
  • Enriching learning through student-led provocation

    Though Timothy Patrick McCarthy, Lecturer on History and Literature, Public Policy, and Education, plays an integral role in class discussions for his course Stories of Slavery and Freedom, students are responsible for leading the majority of classes through an exercise McCarthy refers to as “provocation.” “The provokers do not come in and give a summary of what we’ve read or a mini-lecture about the top-line themes that might emerge from the assigned readings. I really want them to find some way to literally provoke us into conversation, get the juices flowing, and try to get all the students to think about something urgently at the outset of class.”
  • In the Classroom

    Resources on in-class teaching from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, including 1) Building Rapport, 2) Classroom Contracts, 3) Active Learning, 4) Instructional Strategies, and 5) Technology and Student Distraction.
  • Bringing the best parts of a seminar into larger courses

    When enrollment for seminar After Luther: Faith, Will, Law, and the Question of Goodness doubled last year, Michelle Sanchez, Assistant Professor of Theology, was concerned that the depth and quality of the connections—with and among students and the texts they read together—would diminish. In response, she modified some logistical elements including assigning different pairs of students to circulate brief response papers before class and then lead discussion each week.
  • Identifying knowledge gaps through illustrations

    Dr. Carl Novina, Associate Professor of Medicine, and his co-instructor Shannon Turley, amended the traditional graduate seminar Critical Reading for Immunology to teach students comprehension and presentation skills essential to a career in biomedical science.
  • Leveraging student heterogeneity to bridge gaps through active learning

    Marianne 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.
  • 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.
  • AskUp: Improving learning and metacognition through learner-generated questions

    Awardees will continue development of AskUp, a free, open-source studying and learning app that leverages evidence-based techniques to enhance learning, and will evaluate the efficacy of the application’s improvement to metacognition, self-directed learning, and class performance through small randomized trials.
  • Transforming team-learning teaching cases for online platforms: scaling up an e-learning module development project to expand reach across Harvard and to public health professionals in field settings

    Awardees will extend the transformation of traditional to online cases across Harvard by developing a new e-module for delivering teaching cases on-line to public health professionals in field settings, and convening a cross-Harvard workshop to share best practices.
  • Team-based learning in the humanities

    Awardee will redesign a course with team-based learning (TBL) principles and assess the benefits and challenges of the approach.
  • Project Nights and open-ended design research

    Awardees will measure the effects of open-ended extracurricular projects on student learning.
  • Bridging the gap between statistics courses and practice

    Awardee bridged the gap between statistics courses and students’ ability to implement concepts in their own work with a student-run consulting service to be permanently housed in the Biostatistics Department.
  • Creating real-time connections in online courses

    Awardees evaluated types of interactivity between faculty and students and generated a resource guide of best practices to assist instructors in interacting with online and residential students in Canvas.
  • Elective in primary care medicine and teaching

    Awardees will pilot an advanced elective in primary care medicine and teaching, where senior medical students tutor junior medical students in clinical skills, with assessment of its benefits to both students enrolled in the elective and the junior students they tutor.
  • The use and evaluation of case-based collaborative learning to teach basic sciences at HMS

    Awardees plan to implement and evaluate a new instructional method that utilizes pre-class preparation, the case method, collaborative learning, and peer instruction.
  • Making classroom minutes count

    Awardees plan to use active learning strategies, peer instruction, and “flipped classrooms” to transform the core curriculum of their school’s flagship degree program.