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.

  • 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.
  • Learning Spaces Week at Harvard

    Learning Spaces Week at Harvard convened June 8 – 11, 2015 with over 200 Harvard affiliates participating in an event similar to an academic scavenger hunt. Participants were given a suggested itinerary to tour various learning spaces around Harvard University in Cambridge, Allston, and the Longwood Medical Campus. Each of the 23 locations provided demonstrations on the use of the space or enabled participants to tour via an open-house style.
  • 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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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)

    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”

    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

    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

    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

    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.
  • 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.
  • One person’s story as entry to complex historical issues

    Gabriela Soto Laveaga, Professor of the History of Science, illustrates how combining nineteenth century documents with oral histories can help unpack complex current issues and disrupt certain assumptions on topics such as undocumented border crossings, addiction, and disease along our southern border.
  • The merits of an equal basis of ignorance

    Giovanni 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.
  • Working with local communities to engage with global issues

    María Luisa Parra-Velasco, Senior Preceptor in Romance Languages and Literatures, requires her advanced Spanish language learners in Spanish 59: Spanish and the Community to complete four hours a week of engaged scholarship with local organizations as part of their language learning experience.
  • Cultivating the skill and the orientation to listen

    Joshua Margolis, James Dinan and Elizabeth Miller Professor of Business Administration, demands of himself intensive listening while teaching, and asks the same from students: “When I listen really carefully it allows me to push students hard and help them see what they have within themselves.”
  • A balancing act: Making established courses your own

    Karin Öberg, Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor of Astronomy, taught departmental introductory course Stellar and Planetary Astronomy in 2016 by building on established material and modifying the curriculum using student feedback and her own observational assessment.