backward design

Transferring best practices across teaching modes

Aisha YousafzaiAisha Yousafzai, Associate Professor of Global Health, launched the Early Childhood Development: Global Strategies for Implementation HarvardX course in 2021. This self-paced, asynchronous course is designed for practitioners of public health to learn about program and policy development and has enrolled over 31,000 students. Yousafzai has taught a range of course formats during her time at Harvard: residential, hybrid, online, and now an asynchronous HarvardX course. Each course type “requires its own thought process about the right pedagogy,” but Yousafzai believes that careful consideration of the various strategies available for each course and what works has enriched the learning environment across her courses. 

Simple examples lead to deep engagement

Scot MartinThree years ago, Scot T. Martin, Gordon McKay Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering and Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, decided to “start from scratch” with his approach to teaching thermodynamics. In his course Thermodynamics by Case Study, he found that by focusing on every day, concrete examples (e.g., running, the function of the heart) and demanding an intense level of participation, he could help students unpack layer after layer to rediscover and truly understand the fundamental laws.