SPH

Making multiple perspectives and complexities visible


Benjamin SommersBenjamin Sommers, Professor of Health Policy and Economics, finishes his Healthcare Safety Net and Vulnerable Populations course with a debate: students are randomly assigned to roles—as senators, witnesses, or experts—and probe aspects of healthcare policy, simulating deliberations that take place on the Senate floor. Somewhat similar to real hearings, each witness makes an opening statement and then takes questions from acting Senators.

The benefits: This exercise pushes students to not only delve into the details of policies, but also to understand how politics... Read more about Making multiple perspectives and complexities visible

Conveying large amounts of material efficiently and clarifying complex ideas


Tyler VanderWeeleTyler VanderWeele, John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Epidemiology, uses lectures to integrate and illuminate core concepts, bringing new insights to students and sometimes for his own scholarship in the process. His courses—on religion and public health, on applied statistics, and on research design—often cross disciplinary boundaries and involve unexpected combinations of ideas. 

The benefits: VanderWeele believes that lectures can be profound learning experiences for the audience and the lecturer alike when they can convey large... Read more about Conveying large amounts of material efficiently and clarifying complex ideas

The merits of an equal basis of ignorance


Giovanni ParmigianiGiovanni 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. This “equal basis of ignorance” establishes an environment where he and his students learn and develop opinions together.

The benefits: Less constrained by his expertise, Parmigiani finds students ask the really simple (and hard) questions.... Read more about The merits of an equal basis of ignorance

Leveraging student heterogeneity to bridge gaps through active learning


Marianne Wessling-ResnickMarianne Wessling-Resnick, Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry, employs active learning strategies including debate, ‘pair and share,’ and peer evaluation to bridge gaps in student experience and knowledge. “I have found that it is to my advantage to use the heterogeneity of the class as a tool.”

The benefits: Students enrolled in graduate courses at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health represent diverse academic preparation and intended career tracks, illustrated in matrix form to prospective students. “No matter what part of the quadrant you are in... Read more about Leveraging student heterogeneity to bridge gaps through active learning

Elevating class conversation: Taking a case-based approach

Nancy Kane

Nancy Kane, Professor of Management and Associate Dean of Case-based Teaching and Learning at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, trains instructors on using the teaching case to lead effective course discussions.

THE BENEFITS

Elements from case-based teaching can elevate the level of discussion in just about any class. Research has long suggested that “doing” rather than just watching promotes deeper learning.... Read more about Elevating class conversation: Taking a case-based approach