course transformation

Center for Geographical Analysis: Course support

The Center for Geographic Analysis offers technical workshops in geographic information systems and curriculum support services for instructors seeking to integrate spatial concepts into their courses.

Exposing the Hidden Curriculum

A Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning blog post illustrates one teaching fellow’s experience with the hidden curriculum.

Elements of Effective Class Preparation

The C. Roland Christensen Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard Business School developed a series of questions to assist instructors in planning effective courses

Mid-course feedback questionnaire

The Strengthening Learning and Teaching Excellence (SLATE) Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School provides one example of a mid-course feedback questionnaire developed by various faculty. 

Setting up effective feedback loops: The role of assessment in course transformation

McCarty and Deslauriers

Logan McCarty, Director of Physical Sciences Education, and Louis Deslauriers, Director of Science Teaching and Learning, adopted an active pedagogy for a large introductory physics course and saw significant gains in student learning and attitudes. Assessment played a role every step of the way

The benefits: By explicitly stating the course learning objectives and designing complementary in-class activities, they created effective feedback loops – the activities helped students assess their own understanding, and according to McCarty, “more importantly, the instructors got feedback on how students are learning.”

The challenges: Defining course learning objectives can “feel awkward. It feels artificial. And the value is not immediately apparent,” McCarty admitted. “But it is essential for creating effective assessments.”

Takeaways and best practices

  • Revisiting learning objectives may expose invalid assumptions. When the instructors tested an elementary concept from the course prerequisites, they found that many students did not in fact understand it – crucial feedback that, McCarty said, “in six years of teaching this subject, I had never seen before.”