DTEI Newsletter

Invited presenter Dan Levy and Teachly software

by | Jan 11, 2019 | DTEI Newsletter

Using data and technology to teach more effectively and inclusively

The School of Education and the Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation invites you to join Harvard Senior Lecturer Dan Levy as he presents a new type of teaching software he has developed.


Tuesday, February 5
9:30 – 10:30 am
ALP 2100

Abstract: Not a day goes by on college campuses across the nation without pleas for improving diversity and inclusion. While the great majority of faculty members identify with this goal, very few feel empowered to do something concrete about it. In this interactive presentation, Dan Levy, Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, will describe Teachly, a web application (featured here) that he developed with some colleagues to help faculty teach more effectively and inclusively. The tool is based on the premise that faculty can improve their teaching by getting to know their students and teaching practices better.

In its current iteration, the software is able to import the results of a survey that students complete that provides information about their demographics, background and interests. An instructor or TA can map these student profiles onto the students’ seats in the class. Once this is done, the instructional team can record which students participate in class discussion. Plus, an instructor can read about the interests and experiences shared by the student, making class time and office hours richer and more inclusive. Participation reports can be downloaded for grading, and feedback is immediate about how often the instructor calls on students of different gender or ethnicity.

The software has been used by about 40 faculty members at the Harvard Kennedy School, and is now being piloted by faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health and at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prof. Levy is planning to present the key features of the tool and then engage in a broader conversation about how we can use technology and data to teach more effectively and inclusively. He is also particularly interested in feedback from UCI instructors on ways in which this tool can be more effective and efficient.

Faculty, staff and researchers interested in effective pedagogy and data use in teaching are invited to attend.

Speaker Bio:

Prof. Levy is passionate about effective teaching and learning, and enjoys sharing his experience and enthusiasm with others. He has won several teaching awards, including the university-wide David Pickard Award for Teaching and Mentoring (awarded by the Harvard Statistics Department to a faculty member who has made important contributions to the teaching of statistics) and the Manuel C. Carballo Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Harvard Kennedy School. His teaching was featured in Instructional Moves, a project conducted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education aimed at helping faculty incorporate and refine high-leverage teaching practices. He also delivered a “master class” at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The class, available here, was part of a series launched to celebrate excellent teaching at Harvard. An interview with him on this class is available here. Prof. Levy has played several leadership roles related to teaching and learning, including serving as one of the founding faculty members and latter Faculty Chair of the Kennedy School’s SLATE (Strengthening Learning and Teaching Excellence) Initiative (2008-2018), Faculty Chair of the Kennedy School’s MPA programs (2008-2012), and Faculty Co-Chair of the HarvardX Research Committee (2014), a university-wide committee focused on promoting research about online learning. He currently serves as the Faculty Director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s focal initiative on online education.