peer instruction

Encouraging students to engage with one another to solve problems (and problem sets)


Cassandra ExtavourCassandra G. Extavour, Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and of Molecular and Cellular Biology, is one of six co-instructors for LIFESCI 50(A & B) Integrated Science, an intensive two-semester course created by Andrew Murray, Herschel Smith Professor of Molecular Genetics, covering methods and concepts from biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. They design class discussion and assignments as problems that require students to rely on one another to solve. "We let them know it's normal to not be able to answer everythingon the problem sets on their own. We've structured them that way. They learn to engage with classmates, or with us, to work it out."... Read more about Encouraging students to engage with one another to solve problems (and problem sets)

Learning Lab (Bok Center)

The Derek Bok Center for Teaching & Learning’s Learning Lab routinely partners with faculty to develop assignments that foster students’ science communication and presentation skills.

Center for Writing and Communicating Ideas

Instructors can point students to resources for improving presentation skills available across the University including the Graduate School of Arts and Science’s Center for Writing and Communicating Ideas.resources. 

Baker Library Bloomberg Center Services

Instructors can point students to resources for improving presentation skills available across the University including the Harvard Business School’s Baker Library.

Speaking Resources

Instructors can point students to resources for improving presentation skills available across the University including the Harvard College Writing Program’s speaking resources. 

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

Peer Instruction (ablConnect)

The ablConnect database highlights Harvard examples of active learning strategies including debate, pair and share, and peer instruction. 

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