course transformation

Import Content from another Canvas site (Canvas)

Canvas enables instructors to import content from existing course sites for use in new course sites (importing content from another instructor’s site requires the help of local academic support staff).

Case Studies in Formative Feedback at HGSE

 

Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Teaching and Learning Lab offers a number of case-studies on gathering and implementing student feedback, including during a course. 

 

A balancing act: Making established courses your own


Karin ObergKarin 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.

The benefits: Öberg saved pre-semester preparation time by using the same in-class worksheets of earlier iterations and retaining the course’s primary elements—three lab sessions; weekly blog post assignments; and an active, collaborative learning in-class format supervised and assisted by roaming instructors.

Early Feedback (Bok Center)

The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning suggests tips for soliciting and reviewing student feedback early in the semester.

Research: Enhancing teaching and learning through dialogue: a student and staff partnership model

Researchers describe and analyze a model for developing student–staff partnerships to enhance teaching and learning, where students act as consultants providing timely and focused feedback to instructors on aspects of their practice, finding that face-to-face follow-up meetings produced the best… Read more about Research: Enhancing teaching and learning through dialogue: a student and staff partnership model

Engaging students in a course postmortem dialogue


Alfred GuzzettiAlfred Guzzetti, Osgood Hooker Professor of Visual Arts, dedicates the final session of VES 52R: Introduction to Non-Fiction Videomaking—where students spend the term creating one nonfiction film on a subject of their choosing—to a class-wide postmortem discussion about all course elements. 

The benefits: Unlike online course evaluations that close with students’ responses to questions, Guzzetti’s postmortem is a two-hour, informal dialogue: “I ask, ‘Why do you think that? Was it worth spending two weeks on the introductory assignment? What did you get out of it?’ It’s a conversation.” The inclusive discussion allows him to address student critique about course structure and specific assignments, as well as the advantages, disadvantages, and motivations for potential changes.

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.”