Into Practice

Into Practice, a biweekly communication distributed to active instructors during the academic year, was inspired by a successful 2012 HILT grant project. The e-letter highlights the pedagogical practices of individual faculty members from across schools and delivers timely, evidence-based teaching advice, contributing to and strengthening a University-wide community of practice around teaching.

See the most recent issues below, or filter at left through all published content.

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

Enriching learning through student-led provocation


This issue of Into Practice is adapted from Instructional Moves content produced by the Teaching and Learning Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Timothy McCarthyThough Timothy Patrick McCarthy, Lecturer on History and Literature, Public Policy, and Education, plays an integral role in class discussions for his course Stories of Slavery and Freedom, students are responsible for leading the majority of classes through an exercise McCarthy refers to as “provocation.” “The provokers do not come in and give a summary of what we’ve read or a mini lecture about the top-line themes that might emerge from the assigned readings. I really want them to find some way to literally provoke us into conversation, get the juices flowing, and try to get all the students to think about something urgently at the outset of class.”... Read more about Enriching learning through student-led provocation

Pushing students to confront limits by transforming the abstract to physical form


Megan Panzano, Into Practice HeadshotIn her Transformations course, Assistant Professor of Architecture Megan Panzano uses architectural design methods and concepts, and a workshop approach for giving feedback, to engage undergraduates from a wide range of concentrations. When students translate abstract ideas into physical form through a variety of materials and fabrication techniques (see photos below), they confront limits, question assumptions, and expand their problem-solving capacity.

The benefits: “Creating a visual or physical manifestation of an idea” helps students’ thought patterns become less rigid.... Read more about Pushing students to confront limits by transforming the abstract to physical form

Using faculty videos in required courses to engage students at all levels


Pinar DoganLike many instructors of required courses, Pinar Dogan, Lecturer in Public Policy and SLATE Faculty Liaison for Pedagogy, teaches her section of Markets and Market Failure to students with significantly divergent levels of prior knowledge of microeconomics. Seeking a way for students “to end up at the same place even though they started at very different places,” Dogan partnered with SLATE to develop videos of Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) faculty experts explaining the relevance of math-intensive or potentially dry concepts (e.g., fixed costs or price elasticity) to public policy. 

The benefits: Because the videos show how concepts... Read more about Using faculty videos in required courses to engage students at all levels

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