Interactivity will be the focus of the fifth annual Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching (HILT) conference as faculty, instructors, and academic professionals from all parts of the University gather to discuss best practices, as well as theory and experience, in both learning and teaching.“When you are in a conversation, when you have to respond, then you are thinking,” said Peter Bol, vice provost for advances in learning at Harvard, who will offer introductory remarks at the conference’s final session. “Interactivity is about being engaged in learning and responding at the same time.”The topic for the conference, which runs from 8:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. on Friday at Wasserstein Hall, was developed in the spring as HILT reached out to faculty over a series of lunch and dinner meetings for input about their educational challenges and trajectories.“We were stunned by the number of responses,” said Erin Driver-Linn, director of HILT and associate provost of institutional research, noting that more than 500 answered the initial query, and more than 120 attended one of the small-group discussions. The theme of interactivity came out of those conversations, she said. What also emerged were very practicable ideas.“What are the nudges, something simple I can do in my classes?” recalled Driver-Linn. “What are some bite-sized innovations?”The conference, which typically draws 300-500 Harvard community members, promotes a University-level dialogue across campuses, allowing participants to share experiences and experimental approaches and strengthen networks. It will kick off with a panel discussion, to be followed by breakout sessions. The concluding panel will focus on increasing opportunities to improve teaching and learning at Harvard.Physics Professor Matt Schwartz will lead one of the breakout sessions, in which faculty members share their own small-scale teaching innovations. He’s most concerned with quick, easily applicable fixes. “Stuff that doesn’t take rewriting your whole course,” he said. The examples he cited are indeed small, but they can have major repercussions.“Someone suggested they always have music playing when people enter their classroom,” he said. “Then they turn it off, and it automatically gets people’s attention.”From his own experience, Schwartz has learned to “ask students before class what they want me to talk about.” This encourages them to think about the course work and do the reading before each class, he said.Another goal of Schwartz’s session will be to explore how best to communicate such small-scale ideas, so that faculty can share them. “What I find most useful is people telling me what they have gotten from their own practice, their own trial and error in the classroom,” he said.Carolyn Wood, director of the Strengthening Learning and Teaching Excellence and the Case Program at Harvard Kennedy School, will lead a session on teaching with case studies. “We kind of have a moment now,” said Wood. “Faculty are very engaged in finding new ways to reach their learners, and case studies are great way to teach.”Although case studies are common in some fields, such as at Harvard Business School, Wood will ask her participants to explore how other disciplines can make use of it — even on a small scale.“We’ve found we need to make it easy to get started,” she said. “Once faculty try it, they find that students are more engaged, that students do remember not only the learning sessions but also the learning goals. And for faculty it’s challenging and fun.”While Wood is focusing on case studies, her overall perspective captures the initiative of the conference. While she expects some experimentation and “a little trial and error,” the goal remains the same.“Teaching well requires continuous improvement,” she said.
Published on November 16, 2017 at 10:35 pm Contact Nick: [email protected] | @nick_a_alvarez Facebook Twitter Google+ Isis Young was out of position and got beat. It was early in the fourth quarter and Syracuse’s lead hovered around 10 points as Maryland Eastern Shore broke the Orange press. A UMES player lofted a pass across the court to find a shooter on the left wing. Young, sprinting toward the baseline, knocked the pass away before it could reach its mark. The effort allowed SU to reset.After the Hawks inbounded, with the shot clock winding down, freshman center Amaya Finklea-Guity tipped a pass away. The ball rolled out of bounds and the buzzer sounded. The Orange had blanketed the Hawks into their third shot clock violation of the frame. The timely stop came in the middle of a 12-2 SU run that would put the game out of reach.“I thought in the second half we did a pretty good job of guarding them,” SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “…We played tough and got this thing done.”The Orange (2-0) conceded just 14 points in the second half of its 68-45 win over Maryland Eastern Shore (1-2) Thursday in the Carrier Dome. In a 12:27 block during the second half, the Hawks were limited to just one bucket before tacking on six points in garbage time. SU’s improved defensive effort limited the Hawks to shoot 25 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes.Four years ago, SU steamrolled UMES 113-42 and forced a season-best 31 turnovers. The first half of tonight’s game, however, gave the Hawks a glimmer of hope for an upset. The visitors ended the second quarter on a 16-5 run and went into the break only trailing by a 3-pointer.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“The first half they were attacking us early in the shot clock,” Hillsman said. “…We had to do a better job of getting in position. That’s totally on me.”The Hawks attacked the Orange zone and isolated Finklea-Guity in the high post. SU’s frontcourt switched too late and the Hawks converted layups. The Orange changed tactics coming out of the break and had its guards press higher in the zone, giving Hawks ball handlers less space to operate. Seven of UMES’ 22 turnovers came in the third quarter.Before settling in, Syracuse experimented in hope of finding the best lineup. Last season, SU had four seniors who were familiar with the zone. Thursday night, Hillsman utilized his bench in search of a stabilizer.Most of the decisions were reactionary. In the third quarter, junior Raven Fox failed to box out her assignment, Hillsman spun on his heel, pointed at Digna Strautmane and growled, “Raven.” The freshman rose and jogged to the scorer’s table. In the first half, Gabrielle Cooper was too late to cover a shooter in the corner and Hillsman threw his hands up and beckoned for a replacement on the bench.By the fourth quarter, SU’s adjustments had worked. The press cracked down and traps near half court were successful. UMES’ legs tired and the Hawks fell further behind. With 3:30 left, Tiana Mangakahia intercepted a pass intended to break the press, drove and extended SU’s lead to 23.“I think our pressure on the ball helped,” Mangakahia said. “… I think we did better this game than last game. We didn’t get beat as much.”Midway through the third, a Hawks player sprawled out, triggering a possession change. SU assistant coach Tammi Reiss crouched in front of the bench and yelled at the Orange to exert a similar energy. Later in the half, Finklea-Guity tipped a pass, collapsed on the ball and gave SU another possession. The Orange bench cheered and her teammates mobbed her.The defensive effort came, just a little later than expected.“Honestly, it wasn’t the prettiest game,” Hillsman said. “But I thought in the second half we played pretty well. I was really happy with our effort.” Comments