The 2023 HILT Conference comes at a pivotal time when artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly discussed and experimented with in higher education. AI holds immense potential to enhance personalized learning experiences, automate administrative tasks, and provide data-driven insights to improve educational outcomes. However, its deployment also raises important questions and challenges. It is crucial to address concerns related to privacy, bias, transparency, disinformation, and the impact on human agency and social dynamics within educational settings. Together, we will explore how AI can be designed, implemented, and governed in a way that prioritizes human relationships and connection in education. By considering the ethical and social implications, as well as the affordances, we aim to shape a future where generative AI tools are used to empower learners, support educators, foster inclusivity, and promote a holistic approach to education.
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.
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.”
Harvard Syllabus Explorer is a web application developed by the Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning - Research Group. Syllabus Explorer combines registrarial data and syllabi from Canvas to give users the ability to search for and download syllabi across Harvard.
L Mahadevan, Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics in SEAS, and Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and of Physics in FAS used a 2017-2018 SEAS Learning Incubator LInc Faculty Fellowship to emphasize active learning in his Mathematical Modeling course. He implemented a flipped classroom approach to enable students to come to class with problems and questions to collaborate on, time to develop their own problems from scratch, and work on modeling with peers. The foundational arc supporting this process has students move from observations through abstraction, analysis and communication, and iteration.
Bethanne Altringer, Senior Preceptor in Innovation and Design and Director of the Desirability Lab, uses personalized approaches to students’ learning in courses like The Innovator's Practice: Finding, Building and Leading Good Ideas with Others and Design Survivor: Experiential Lessons in Designing for Desirability, focusing on individual-level growth that leads to team effectiveness by grading both process and product.
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.
Jelani Nelson, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, assigns students real programming problems in his introductory algorithm courses, CS124Data Structures and Algorithms and CS125 Algorithms & Complexity.
Expanding existing innovative program for assessing student learning in hands-on innovation courses. Awardee plans to advance methods for better assessing how teams interact and ideas develop during experiential learning in multi-disciplinary engineering classes focused on design and innovation.
"TECH's mission is to advance the understanding and practice of innovation and entrepreneurship through experiential education: by initiating, advancing and informing student projects. TECH helps faculty create and deliver innovation and entrepreneurship project courses, provides students with project support and sponsors and advises student groups working to build the Harvard innovation community.
TECH, part of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (HSEAS), creates an innovation community for both undergraduate and graduate students across the university."
The SEAS academic plan emphasizes the need for hands-on engineering experiences and student design projects. The Active Learning Laboratories are expected to take the lead and excel in supporting these student experiences.