It’s (Teaching) Awards Season!

Each semester, the Bok Center awards some of Harvard’s most accomplished Teaching Fellows the Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, and the Harvard University Certificate of Teaching Excellence to outstanding Preceptors and Lecturers. Here is the list of recipients for Fall, 2012. Congratulations to them and a hearty “hear hear!” for all the dedicated…

Typology of the Lecture, Part II

Last week we began to develop a taxonomy of lecture types, the idea being to outline a basic toolbox of tactics to use in class planning. Today we add a few more tools to the kit. (Like the first, credit for much of this post’s inspiration and execution goes to Peter J. Frederick, “The Lively…

Typology of the Lecture, Part I

Variety, as we all know, is the spice of life. It’s also the spice of education – as many studies have shown, few tactics awaken student attention as much as shaking things up, at least proverbially, in your classroom. To help plan your lessons in the new semester, we are gathering a (by no means…

The Science of Student Attention

What’s the secret to great teaching? Well, there isn’t one – if there was one magic wand you could just wave, we’d have told you already! But one place to start could be with keeping your students’ attention. A recent study sheds new light on this important issue – it’s awfully tough, after all, to…

Around the Web: Students or Consumers?

It’s an important question. After all, higher education students are spending increasing amounts of money, often building ever-higher mountains of debt in order to obtain a college degree, a qualification that is becoming more and more necessary to find a job, decent or otherwise. I recently walked past a clothing store that had a sign…

STEM for the Liberal Arts?

One of the most popular acronyms in discussions about education these days (no, this is not another post about MOOCs) is STEM – standing for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It typically comes up in contexts such as “It doesn’t take a nuclear physicist to determine that the future of the United States depends heavily…

Last Minute Learning: Assessing the All-Nighter

We’ve all been there: you walk into class with an utterly splendid lesson plan. What discussion activities you have planned! What exciting, insightful, yet accessible questions you have prepped! What engrossing and provocative issues you have to discuss! You can hardly wait to begin. Let’s go! And then it all just fizzles out. Your activities…

Curiosity & the Facial Hair of Emperor Wilhelm II

Regular readers of this blog know well that we here at the Bok Center are awfully big fans of active learning. As numerous studies have found, it’s important to get students invested in their own education, rather than treating them like passive receptacles of data. This is true whether your goal is your students gaining…