Introduction/Background: In Jacob Barandes' Physics 302, students are driven to learn how to teach and communicate physics by giving small, mini-lessons throughout the semester. They are then driven to perform a longer lesson as a final project to show what they have learned during the term.
Joe Peidle developed this class with Melissa Franklin to help expose advanced physics students to apparatuses that they may encounter in a real research lab. Students come into experimental lab sections to perform simple activities with the staff to learn how to use the apparatuses throughout the entire class.
This was a semester long project. Throughout the semester, graduate students (many of whom had little previous exposure to the course material) studied the history of Chinese music theory, the Jesuit missionaries who transmitted it back to western Europe, and the reception of Chinese culture there in the 18th century. The website commemorating the exhibit and giving more information can be found at hcs.harvard.edu/soundingchina
Benjamin Weber created an activity that spans across the entire class to help students understand the concept of “diaspora” through constant reiteration of concepts from some excerpts given to the class by the instructor. Students learned how to close-read excerpts, write reflections, and create their own ideas about the theme of the class.
Students used a platform called Open Review (www.openrev.org), developed by the members of the Harvard physics department, which is a PDF annotation tool that is tailored to discuss scientific publications openly. Every week, students read two publications related to research in the Harvard Physics Department and used Open Review to discuss them online and learn about the academic research. Read more about Open Review Discussion
Guanchang Qian made every section and every day an active learning experience for her ER18 students to enhance not only students’ learning experiences, but also the students’ relations with their instructor. She exposed students to ER18 material every day through daily emails and supplementary readings.
In OEB 119: Deep Sea Biology, groups of students have to present and lead discussions on scientific papers throughout the semester. Before class each week, all students have to read an assigned scientific paper and post a summary paragraph and two questions to an online forum. A group of students has to prepare a short presentation about one part of the paper, so that each paper is presented by a different group of three to four students each week. Read more about Paper Presentations and Discussions
In OEB 191: Physiological and Biochemical Adaptation, students present one or two papers in primary literature to the class and lead the discussion. After retrieving the papers from online sources or the library and reading them, the presenters prepare a PowerPoint show to explain and summarize the findings. Read more about Presenting Primary Papers
In Systems Biology 200, a graduate level class with some undergraduates enrolled, one of the skills that students learn is how to simulate molecular processes in biology by writing Monte Carlo simulations (the Doob-Gillespie algorithm).Read more about Writing Stochastic Simulations
In Joshua Greene's course, "Social Psychology," students design and run their own original "unobtrusive experiments" as the final project for the class. Students read and conduct background research to get ideas, write a proposal and refine it with the help of the TF, carry out the research, give a presentation on the research, and write up the results. Read more about Unobtrusive Experiments