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.

  • 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.
  • Bridging practice and theory in the professional classroom

    Dr. Richard Schwartzstein, Ellen and Melvin Gordon Professor of Medicine and Medical Education, is revolutionizing textbook-dependent classrooms by incorporating real-life applications. In this case, first-year Harvard Medical School students apply their reading through case simulations. A robot functions as the patient, and a small group of students take on various roles to work together and treat the patient. Students are supported by a facilitator, who offers guiding questions but no direct answers, as well as the rest of the class, who serve as consultants or in other supporting roles in the case, like the patient’s family. “Instead of a paper case, now it feels much more real. And suddenly, they’re immersed in taking care of a patient,” Dr. Schwartzstein reflects. After a simulation ends, the whole class debriefs the case, including what students struggled with and how they felt during the exercise.
  • Human Bridges in the Study of Race, Religion, Art, and Politics

    This talk will explore teaching about difference in a Harvard Divinity School course that looks at connections between the Harlem Renaissance and Mexican Modernism during the 1920s and 1930s. Using holiday-themed examples and compelling visual images, we will juxtapose the lives and works of two important figures in the course: Miguel Covarrubias, a Mexican-born caricaturist who spent most of his life in New York City illustrating for Harlem Renaissance texts and popular magazines, and Elizabeth Catlett, a U.S.-born Black sculptor and printmaker who spent her life in Mexico where she created some of the most powerful symbols and images of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Covarrubias and Catlett captured our students' imaginations in part because they serve as "human bridges" connecting the United States with Mexico as well the past with the present. Please join for a lively and wide-ranging meditation on the dynamic interplay of race, religion, art, and politics, and the cross-fertilization between history and ethics.
  • Next Gen Success = Harvard Success: Inclusive Practices for Supporting First-Gen, Lower-Income Students In and Beyond the Classroom

    Join members of the Harvard Next Gen Initiative to learn more about their Harvard Culture Lab Innovation Fund pilot program that consolidates, aligns, and enhances Harvard’s institutional supports for Next Gen student populations (predominantly first-gen, low-income students) in and beyond the classroom. This session presents an overview of the Next Gen student population, pedagogical tools that promote Next Gen Student Success, and how each one of us plays a role in strengthening Harvard’s commitment to inclusive excellence.
  • Engaging with course material and serving communities at the same time

    Linda Bilmes, Daniel Patrick Moynihan Senior Lecturer in Public Policy, created the Harvard Kennedy School’s first-ever field lab, which combines in-class learning with real-world project work in local and state governments. Since its inception in 2005, the course has involved hundreds of students from across Harvard graduate schools. It is an advanced course focused on public finance, operations and budgeting. Each year, Bilmes and her teaching team receive dozens of applications from mayors and city managers. She and her team select a small number of intellectually challenging projects with buy-in at the highest level. The selected partners describe their projects to students at the start of the term; projects range from addressing homelessness to municipal debt. Then students go on site visits to “get a sense of the crunchiness” of each task and to rank clients by interest before they are sorted into collaborative teams. At the end of the semester, students present recommendations to clients.
  • Reconfiguring classroom mechanics to break down hegemony & build up student learning

    John Asher Johnson, Professor of Astronomy, aims to cut through dominant constructs of what teaching looks like and to disrupt hegemonies in his classes through collective norms setting and conveying to students that they are “intellectual peers with the professor.” He structures his courses around the Tao of TALC method in which students work on assignments in collaborative groups while the instructor and TFs use the Socratic method to stimulate collective problem-solving.
  • Using asynchronous learning to improve students’ learning experiences

    Elisa New, Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature, has ample experience blending asynchronous and synchronous learning to teach students at Harvard and beyond. Asynchronous learning happens independently from in-person class time and can take many forms. In her courses, New has incorporated on-location “field-trips,” discussions with relevant authors, and even recordings of former student discussions, which has helped current students “up their game.” “People really love those. They like to see how a good discussion works.”
  • Grappling with a global pandemic in class, as a class

    Jonathan Zittrain, George Bemis Professor of International Law, adapted his digital governance course to incorporate what everyone was really focused on in mid-spring of 2020: the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of “compartmentalizing” between class and crisis, he reworked the syllabus to respond to students’ needs and evolving experiences. Zittrain replaced the final exam with collaborative reports in which students examined aspects of the pandemic through the lens of digital governance dilemmas. “The idea was to offer students an opportunity to apply what they learned in the course to problems that were on everybody’s mind.”
  • Policy and practice: Learning data in learning design

    Topic: Policy and practice: Learning data in learning design. Speakers: Evan Sanders, Associate Director of Curriculum Services (HMS); Cynthia Deng, candidate for Master in Architecture and Master of Urban Planning, 2021 (GSD); Milos Mladenovic, candidate for Master in Architecture, 2020 (GSD); Tara Abbatello, Teaching and Learning Specialist, Christensen Center for Teaching and Learning (HBS); and Carol Kentner, Digital Scholarship Librarian, Gutman Library (HGSE)
  • Microsoft Teams for Collaborative Case Writing

    Microsoft Teams for Collaborative Case Writing, A Case Studies Affinity Group Event
  • 2020 HILT Conference

    The ninth annual HILT Conference will bring together a diverse, engaged, and engaging set of speakers and panelists to share their successes and challenges in building equitable learning opportunities, facilitating charged or difficult class discussions, and supporting students as they navigate rapidly shifting circumstances.
  • Keeping students engaged and learning through the “human hook”

    Maya Jasanoff, X. D. and Nancy Yang Professor of Arts and Sciences and Coolidge Professor of History, uses narratives to engage students and deepen their understanding of course content. From her Gen Ed course Ancestry to her upper-level seminar Narrative History: Art and Argument, Jasanoff demonstrates that “stories do not necessarily mean fiction; rather, stories are simply arguments based on the evidence. The former cannot exist without the latter.”
  • Case Studies Affinity Group: Challenges and Trends in Case Writing and Development

    Please save the date for our fall Affinity Group meeting, Challenges and Trends in Case Writing and Development, hosted by Harvard Business Publishing (HBP) on Thursday, October 26, 2017, from 3:00-4:30 pm.
  • Learning Spaces Affinity Group: Inaugural Event

    The HILT Learning Spaces Affinity Group will hold its first event on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 from 3 to 5 pm in Cabot Science Library. Please join us for a fun exploration of learning spaces around campus, and a chance to experience in person the new spaces in Cabot – featured in a recent Gazette article at http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/04/harvards-cabot-science-library-charges-into-the-future/
  • Simulations & Games Affinity Group: Educational Games Gallery Walk

    Wednesday, May 31, 2017: 12:00pm to 2:00pm at Cabot Science Library. HILT Simulations & Games Affinity Group invites you to join them for an afternoon of learning, fun, and exploration. Featuring hands-on board games, role plays, video games, and virtual reality -- this event will showcase a variety of educational games being used in learning experiences across Harvard.
  • Learning Data & Analytics Affinity Group Meeting

    Have you been wishing or planning to use data from your school's Canvas sites to understand student learning and behavior? Join the HILT Learning Data Analytics affinity group and VPAL Research for a presentation of VPALs Canvas Data products and a discussion how they can be used to help you answer your analytics questions.  
  • Learning Design Affinity Group

    The HILT Affinity Group for Learning Design is holding an inaugural event on May 16, 2017 in Cabot Library. 
  • Case Studies Affinity Group Lunch & Chat

    For our next Affinity Group meeting, we decided to change it up a bit!  The survey we conducted last fall indicated that many of our members wanted a chance to meet and talk in smaller, more informal groups about top-of-mind issues.
  • Case Studies Affinity Group: How to engage and support faculty new to case method teaching

    The Harvard Affinity Group for Case Studies invites you to its fall/winter session next Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at 12:30pm on engaging faculty in case teaching with Willis Emmons and Matt Miller. This should be an exciting and interactive discussion, and lunch will be provided.
  • 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.
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