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.

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. 

The benefits: Martin mined eleven years of his student course evaluations and learned... Read more about Simple examples lead to deep engagement

Balance of agency and flexibility helps students develop their own artistic process


Nora Schultz

Out of appreciation for Professor Shultz’s commitment to flexibility in artistic expression, this issue of Into Practice employs a slightly modified format. 

Nora Schultz, Assistant Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies, encourages experimentation and a diversity of readings for her courses Shape Shifting Your Reality and Object Matter of Jelly Fish: Sculpture Course. Her goal is to create a “structure that gives students the awareness and 'space' to develop their unique creative processes.” One assignment, for example,... Read more about Balance of agency and flexibility helps students develop their own artistic process

Giving students practice with constructive criticism


Mark Mulligan, Associate Professor in Practice of Architecture, requires students in Tectonics Lab to work collaboratively on design-build projects of increasing complexity over the course of the semester that are subject to critique by peers, guest experts, and Mulligan himself. For example, with an assignment such as construction of a simple joint between two pieces of wood, “I tell them that we’re actually going to test the joint to its breaking point, so they know that they have to build something that can withstand real force;and to make it fun, I get everyone to predict where it is going to break”—a metaphor for gaining practice with receiving constructive criticism.... Read more about Giving students practice with constructive criticism

Inviting guest instructors to teach entrepreneurial theory and practice


Jacob OluponaJacob K. Olupona, Professor of African and African American Studies and Professor of African Religious Traditions, collaborated with students from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2013 to develop a team-taught course on entrepreneurship that would appeal to learners across the University. “They felt entrepreneurship was important and central to what people are doing.” Entrepreneurship in Africa is organized topically (e.g., agriculture, energy, healthcare) around the unique challenges and opportunities to launch and grow an enterprise in the African context. Course sessions are led by an interdisciplinary mix of invited Harvard instructors... Read more about Inviting guest instructors to teach entrepreneurial theory and practice
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