The inspiration for the DiTF program came from the positive experiences with digital platforms on the part of the history faculty. Members of the department had been significant users of the Presidential Instructional Technology Fellows (PITF) program starting in 2004. After the program was discontinued in 2011, several faculty sought ways to continue to support the use of digital technologies in the classroom, notably in two courses taught by Maya Jasanoff and Dan Smail in 2012-13, by drawing heavily on TFs (Bellisari and Dorin) who, in effect, volunteered their labor without appropriate compensation. It was this experience that led to the initial proposal for a Digital Teaching Fellows program, which would continue to support this work while addressing some of the shortcomings of the PITF program, such as the absence of a mechanism for disseminating ideas and its focus on technological, rather than instructional, support.
The DiTF pilot program was initiated in the History Department in 2013-14 and was funded largely by the Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE). During this pilot phase, a working group was dedicated to the training of seven DiTFs working with nine faculty members in ten different courses (six in the fall of 2013, four in the spring of 2014).
The success of the initial pilot helped the department secure a Cultivation Grant from the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching (HILT) for 2014–2016. In 2014-15, the program expanded to include faculty and teaching fellows in five other FAS departments in the Arts and Humanities, namely Celtic Languages and Literatures, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, English, History of Art and Architecture, and Slavic Languages and Literatures. In the Fall of 2014, the program supported five courses with six faculty from two departments (History and East Asian Languages and Civilizations), and in the Spring of 2015 we are supporting eight courses, with ten faculty from six departments (History, Celtic Languages and Literatures, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, English, History of Art and Architecture, and Slavic Languages and Literatures).
A key goal in 2014-2015 has been to identify ways to develop the program to more effectively support faculty and students, while also structuring it in a manner that ensures its sustainability and scalability.