General Education Evaluation
The Bok Assessment team in collaboration with Harvard College Institutional Research conducted an evaluation of the new General Education curriculum in the fall of 2014. The goal of this evaluation was to assess how well the new General Education courses prepared students to address interdisciplinary questions that are relevant to 21st century learning such as using abstract conceptual knowledge to understand and address concrete issues and problems. Institutional Research data, course evaluations and survey data revealed several issues with the program. The evaluation report was used by the General Education Review Committee to make recommendations.
As the General Education program is rejuvenated over the next year, we will work with faculty and Bok Center staff to evaluate the individual pilot courses. In collaboration with the Deans, we will develop a program evaluation that will provide information to the program about how it is meeting its overall goals as well as provide faculty with actionable feedback about how to improve their courses.
Sociology Curricular Coherence
Working with the Sociology department, we analyzed the coherence of all Sociology courses using a network analysis of the course syllabi. The goal of our analysis was to assess the alignment between the curricular goals for the Sociology department and the course offerings. By coding the text in all of the syllabi, we were able to find themes based on the department’s academic goals and content coverage to get a better sense of how the courses in the department correspond.
Just in Time Learning Evaluation
In order to close gaps in STEM knowledge that some students enter Harvard with, we are evaluating the impact of giving students homework assignments in a chemistry class that include integrated developmental math and science questions to provide students with practice just at the time that they need it, before tackling more complex questions that rely on those skills. We are working with physics and chemistry faculty members to modify online homework assignments and to develop instruments to assess the efficacy of this new approach.
Other Course Evaluations
On an ad-hoc basis, we conduct other course evaluations for new and ongoing courses at the College. We are working currently with the faculty and Teaching Fellows for Life Sciences 50: Integrated Science, a new course in 2015-16 that gives freshmen students an intensive introduction to life science, computational analytics, and research in an interdisciplinary fashion. We are evaluating how well this course prepares students for success compared to the traditional life science course sequence and whether students who receive this type of interdisciplinary training have different trajectories in their time at Harvard.
Other courses we have recently evaluated:
David Cutler, The Business and Politics of Health
Greg Wagy, Concepts of the Hero in Classical Greek Civilization
Dan Shrag, The Climate-Energy Challenge
Peter Galison, The Einstein Revolution
Michael Brenner, Science and Cooling
Alex Schier, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Peter Bol, China
Andrew Murray and Erel Levine, Integrated Science
Sue Goldie, Global Health Challenges: Complexities of Evidence-Based Policy
Julie Buring, Brian Healy and Pamela Rist, Introduction to Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Heather Baer, Fran Cook, and John Orav, Analytic Methods for Epidemiology
Miguel Hernan and Sonja Swanson, Confounding Control: A Component of Causal Inference
Sonia Hernandez-Diaz and Alec Walker, Study Design for Epidemiologists
Delia Wolfe, Ethical Legal and Regulatory Issues in Human Research
Howard Koh and Laurie Pascal, Critical Thinking and Action for Public Health Professionals
Kimberlee Gauvreau and Nina Palanza Paynter, Core Biostatistics and Epidemiology for Public Health Practice
Murray Middleman and Elizabeth Mostofsky, Introduction to Epidemiology