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    Harvard University PFF project summary

    Harvard’s project will leverage the strength of existing groups and organizations within the university to:  1) create a multi-disciplinary, multi-school working group focused on learning assessment; 2) to develop assessment metrics for use in both undergraduate and graduate gateway curriculum in the Life and Physical Sciences, and 3) to develop a course for all GSAS students as well as post-doctoral fellows that provides them with the skills required to pursue research in and learning assessment of curricula.


    Project Plan and Activities:


    The multi-disciplinary, multi-school working group will consist of the following existing groups: The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard College, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, and Post-Doctoral Fellow Teaching Programs including College Fellows and Curriculum Fellows.


    A committee will be established comprised of undergraduate and graduate Educators and Directors from across the Institution who are leaders in pedagogical innovation, learning and assessment. The goals of the working group will be to 1) Discuss pedagogical issues and practices across disciplines, 2) Identify/learn about assessment metrics currently being used, 3) Explore differences in pedagogical issues and practices for undergraduate and graduate gateway courses, 4) Define skill sets needed for training graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in learning assessment.


    Activities of the Committee:

    • Annual Conference/Retreat: A one day conference, the first of which will bring invitees from the Harvard Community and 17 committed project participants. Presentations by participants will include the Pedagogical Practice in Gateway and Foundational Undergraduate and Graduate Courses, the Science of Learning, Assessment Metrics Currently Used, and Models Being Used to Prepare Graduate Students as Future Educators.  The second year will also include presentations from one or two outside speakers.
    • Seminar Series: Three seminars held each semester including speakers who are experts in undergraduate learning, or are developing novel approaches in undergraduate teaching or pedagogical training for graduate students.
    • Development of Assessment Metrics: A sub-set of the committee will work to examine and further develop the assessment metrics in place for three STEM “Gateway” courses

    -- Life Sciences 1A An Introduction to the Life Sciences: Chemistry, Molecular Biology and Cell Biology

    -- Applied Physics 50 Physics as a Foundation for Science and Engineering; and,

    -- BCMP 200: Molecular Biology, 

    as well as to explore the assessment metrics used in humanities courses.


    • Development of a Learning Assessment and Educational Research Course: Anticipated content includes Statistical Methods and Tools, Development of Surveys, Science of Learning, Methods and Tools Used in Learning Assessment, etc.


    Needs assessment data will be collected from the Graduate Teaching Fellows in the gateway courses and the graduate students and post-doctoral fellows participating in the Learning Assessment and Education Research Skills course. Graduate student participants will be tracked at least three years beyond the end of the grant.



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