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.

  • Pushing students to confront limits by transforming the abstract to physical form

    Pushing students to confront limits by transforming the abstract to physical form

    In her Transformations course, Assistant Professor of Architecture Megan Panzano uses architectural design methods and concepts, and a workshop approach for giving feedback, to engage undergraduates from a wide range of concentrations. When students translate abstract ideas into physical form through a variety of materials and fabrication techniques (see photos below), they confront limits, question assumptions, and expand their problem-solving capacity.

  • Using faculty videos in required courses to engage students at all levels

    Using faculty videos in required courses to engage students at all levels

    Like many instructors of required courses, Pinar Dogan, Lecturer in Public Policy and SLATE Faculty Liaison for Pedagogy, teaches her section of Markets and Market Failure to students with significantly divergent levels of prior knowledge of microeconomics. Seeking a way for students “to end up at the same place even though they started at very different places,” Dogan partnered with SLATE to develop videos of Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) faculty experts explaining the relevance of math-intensive or potentially dry concepts (e.g., fixed costs or price elasticity) to public policy. 

  • Understanding culture through material artifacts

    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

    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.

  • Using ethnographic research to improve students’ qualitative literacy

    Using ethnographic research to improve students’ qualitative literacy

    In distinguishing fact from opinion, quantitative information is often seen as more reliable, but Mario Luis Small, Grafstein Family Professor of Sociology, wants students also to see the value of qualitative data for assessing such claims. In his course Qualitative Network Analysis, he requires students to analyze empirical research (including their own ethnographic cases) with a qualitative lens and thoroughly evaluate “authors who believe they’re making a defensible claim about some aspect of society.”

  • Bringing the best parts of a seminar into larger courses

    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.

  • Building soft skills through applied practice

    Building soft skills through applied practice

    Michael I. Norton, Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration, uses experiential exercises to help students build strong foundations for collaborative work. In the FIELD Foundations course, students practice and refine their self-awareness, social awareness, and team effectiveness through activities such as identity mapping and the marshmallow challenge.

  • Transforming your syllabus to reach and engage students

    Transforming your syllabus to reach and engage students

    When Katharina Piechocki, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, prepares for a course she has taught before, she significantly changes the syllabus to stay relevant in a rapidly-changing world, respond to students’ (and her own) growing interests, and take advantage of events outside the classroom.

  • Simple examples lead to deep engagement

    Simple examples lead to deep engagement

    Three years ago, Scot T. Martin decided to “start from scratch” with his approach to teaching thermodynamics. He found that by focusing on every day, concrete examples (e.g., running, the function of the heart) he could help students rediscover and truly understand the fundamental laws.

  • Balance of agency and flexibility helps students develop their own artistic process

    Balance of agency and flexibility helps students develop their own artistic process

    Nora Schultz, Assistant Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies, encourages experimentation and a diversity of readings for her courses Shape Shifting Your Reality and Object Matter of Jelly Fish: Sculpture Course.

  • Giving students practice with constructive criticism

    Giving students practice with constructive criticism

    Mark Mulligan, Associate Professor in Practice of Architecture, requires students in Tectonics Lab to work collaboratively on design-build projects of increasing complexity over the course of the semester that are subject to critique by peers, guest experts, and Mulligan himself.

  • Inviting guest instructors to teach entrepreneurial theory and practice

    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.

  • Interactive lecturing: High-leverage teaching practices to energize students

    Interactive lecturing: High-leverage teaching practices to energize students

    Paola Arlotta, Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, creates an environment of active inquiry, experimentation, and brainstorming by employing interactive lecturing in her course, Got (New) Brain? The Evolution of Brain Regeneration.

  • Hearing their own voice: Consistent student participation while discussing polarizing topics

    Hearing their own voice: Consistent student participation while discussing polarizing topics

    Elizabeth Papp Kamali, Assistant Professor of Law, wants to ensure that students contribute consistently throughout the semester: "A student can get into a rut if they don't participate in those first few classes, and it can be very difficult to break that cycle."

  • Applying the science of behavior change to lesson planning

    Applying the science of behavior change to lesson planning

    Todd Rogers, Professor of Public Policy, teaches students in MLD304 The Science of Behavior Change to leverage insights about human decision making and develop interventions through carefully constructed class activities and facilitated discussion, such as randomized experiments and think-pair-share brainstorms, respectively.

  • Encouraging students to engage with one another to solve problems (and problem sets)

    Encouraging students to engage with one another to solve problems (and problem sets)

    Cassandra G. Extavour, Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and of Molecular and Cellular Biology, is one of six co-instructors for LIFESCI 50(A & B) Integrated Science, an intensive two-semester course created by Andrew Murray, Herschel Smith Professor of Molecular Genetics, covering methods and concepts from biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics.

  • Classroom norms: Develop a language of public agreement to eliminate “noise”

    Classroom norms: Develop a language of public agreement to eliminate “noise”

    Emily Click, Assistant Dean for Ministry Studies, Director of Field Education,and Lecturer on Ministry Studies, facilitates a discussion with students early in the semester to agree upon norms for classroom engagement, including how to address any divergent behavior.

  • Lending structure to collaborative work

    Lending structure to collaborative work

    Kathryn Parker Boudett, Lecturer on Education, carefully structures the way students learn to collaborate with one another in her course, Data Wise: Using Data to Improve Teaching and Learning.

  • Using digital resources to augment course materials

    Using digital resources to augment course materials

    Theodore Svoronos, lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, developed digital-learning materials as part of the Building Capacity to Use Research Evidence (BCURE) project and now uses them for both residential and online-learning communities.

  • Mastering course content through creative assignments

    Mastering course content through creative assignments

    Elena Kramer, Bussey Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and Noel Michele Holbrook, Charles Bullard Professor of Forestry, co-teach General Education course OEB 52: Biology of Plants through lectures, labs, field trips, and weekly quizzes that students use to combine concepts into a creative project at the end of the semester.

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