The main goal of the DiTF program is to spark innovative digital active learning projects, digital and multimedia assignments, and new patterns of faculty-student interaction. The program recognizes that although the availability of new digital platforms has dramatically expanded the opportunities for collaborative and interactive learning among students, these digital platforms are never an end in themselves, and must instead serve well-designed pedagogical goals.
As part of the program, graduate students are designated as Digital Teaching Fellows and paired with a faculty member in the teaching of a given course. DiTFs are compensated with the equivalent of a single section assignment. The expectation is that each of them will also be assigned to a regular class section. An important feature of the program is that DiTFs are understood to be teachers, not technological consultants. As teachers, the DiTFs, in addition to their involvement in the design of modules, assessments, and activities, work with students, sometimes in small groups, on developing assignments, and assist professors in analyzing and assessing the results.
Digital platforms and the pedagogical modules or assignments based on them should not be simply tacked onto an existing course. We encourage faculty to redesign their courses from scratch to accommodate the kind of project-based learning that is enabled by digital tools. DiTFs, working under faculty supervision, are charged with developing a variety of digital active learning projects appropriate to the course to which they are assigned. As teachers, DiTFs are also active in all phases of the design, implementation, and assessment of the projects.
One of the key strengths of this approach lies in its multilevel engagement with undergraduates, graduates, and faculty. It encourages pedagogical experimentation by faculty and exposes them to new methodologies and approaches; it trains graduate students in digital skills that enhance their own teaching and research, as well as their professional marketability; and it improves engagement and learning for undergraduates by thoughtfully integrating new digital approaches.
The DiTF Program leverages courses of instruction to advance the expertise and interaction of all participants (undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty), driving the rapid adoption of digital technologies in Harvard departments.