The Digital Teaching Fellows Program aims to facilitate the integration of digital tools and methods into FAS courses, spark innovative digital active learning projects, and foster new patterns of faculty-student interaction.

Eligibility: Any course in the FAS that has a primarily undergraduate audience is eligible for the program. Applications must be submitted by the course instructor, and should include a description of how they plan to work with the DiTF(s) to incorporate digital methods and tools into the course.

Benefits of Participation:

  • Collaborative support for integrating digital methods/tools into your course
  • Support from the DSSG, including training for DiTF(s) and consultation for the instructor and course staff.
  • Additional TF Support
    • Courses that would not otherwise qualify for a section of instructional support due to low enrollment, may receive the equivalent of a single-section TF appointment.
    • Courses that already qualify for instructional support (based on estimated enrollment) may receive additional support, up to the equivalent of a single-section TF appointment. This amount can be assigned to a single TF or  be divided among multiple sections/TFs depending on training and workflow. This additional compensation will be based on the amount of work needed to thoughtfully integrate new methods and tools into the course.
    • All courses should consider sustainability when implementing new digital assignments and activities. Preference will be given to courses which have a plan for supporting the new activities developed after the initial investment of the DiTF program.

Application: Instructors interested in participating in the program should fill out this short form. The application requires basic course information as well as a brief description of the work to be done. Successful submissions include a description of the digital elements to be incorporated into the course as well as an explanation of how those digital interventions support the course’s learning goals.

Program overview

At the heart of the program lies the recognition that while the availability of new digital platforms has dramatically expanded the opportunities for collaborative and interactive learning among students, these platforms are never an end in themselves, and must instead serve well-designed pedagogical goals. Therefore, our focus is not just on bringing technology to the classroom, but on integrating it thoughtfully into courses.

The program works by training graduate students as Digital Teaching Fellows (DiTFs) and pairing them with faculty members for the teaching of a course. DiTFs work with faculty to develop and support digital active learning projects appropriate to the course to which they are assigned, providing not only technical expertise, but also contributing to the pedagogical design of the course, ensuring that the technology not only functions, but also supports key learning objectives. Throughout the process of designing, implementing, teaching, and evaluating a course, DiTFs, Faculty, and students are provided with support in the form of infrastructure, training, and expert advice by the DSSG.

The program’s main goal is to leverage courses of instruction to accelerate the thoughtful adoption of digital methodologies across the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. It accomplishes this by advancing the expertise and interaction of all participants: It encourages pedagogical experimentation by faculty while exposing them to new methodologies and approaches, it trains graduate students in digital skills that will enhance their own teaching and research, as well as their professional marketability; and it improves engagement and learning for undergraduates by thoughtfully integrating digital approaches.

If you are interested in integrating digital methods into your course, we encourage you to contact the DSSG as early as possible to see if the DiTF program is a good fit for your course.

DiTF Job Description

The Digital Teaching Fellows (DiTF) program supports the implementation of digital methods and tools to accomplish pedagogical goals in undergraduate-focused courses within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The work that each DiTF engages in will vary from course to course, but there are common expectations for all DiTFs, as well as for the faculty who work with them.

Faculty accepted into the DiTF program are expected to work directly with the course’s Digital TF to create new technologically-enabled activities in support of the course’s pedagogical objectives. The program is designed to foster classroom innovation by mitigating the up-front costs, in time and energy, of designing and implementing such activities. A crucial focus of the program, therefore, is the long-term sustainability of any digital additions, in order to ensure that they can continue to benefit students in future without additional support.

The primary role of the DiTF is pedagogical, and the digital methods and tools they help to implement should serve defined teaching goals. A DiTF appointment is a full five-month Teaching Fellow appointment, and DiTFs are expected to participate in course planning in the weeks prior to the start of the term. Selection and appointment of the DiTF him/herself should be made in consultation with department administrators, to ensure that that Harvard hiring policies are followed appropriately.

DiTFs are not technical support staff, but partners in teaching who work with faculty to create meaningful learning experiences through the thoughtful integration of digital methods and tools into the curriculum. They are likely to be the member of the teaching staff with the most knowledge of the technologies implemented in the course, but may also work with other course staff to support the methods and tools being incorporated into their course. DiTFs may serve as a resource to students during the semester to help resolve issues with course activities; however, these responsibilities are ancillary to their primary role, which is to partner with the faculty to support the thoughtful integration of digital methods into their course.

DiTFs are also expected to:

  • Meet at least once prior to the semester with members of the Harvard Digital Scholarship Support Group (DSSG), a cross-divisional network dedicated to enabling digital scholarship,
  • Participate in scheduled monthly activities with their DiTF cohort,
  • Document the methods and tools utilized in their course, as well as their outcomes and effectiveness.

Additionally, DiTFs who have not previously attended the DSSG’s Digital Teaching Methods seminar are expected to participate in an iteration of this workshop no later than the semester in which they will be serving as a DiTF. The Digital Teaching Methods seminar is usually scheduled immediately prior to the start of both the fall and spring semesters. DiTFs are also strongly encouraged to attend the DSSG’s Fundamentals of Digital Scholarship seminar, which is usually offered mid–semester in both Fall and Spring.

If you are a graduate student interested in working as a DiTF for a specific course, you can encourage the head instructor to apply to the program. If you are generally interested in the program, you can let us know a bit about yourself through this form, and when we are matching TFs to courses in the program, we may reach out if there is a course that may be a good fit for you.

Historical Background

In 2013, the Department of History piloted the Digital Teaching Fellows program as a means to support faculty and graduate students in the use of digital methods in our courses. The success of the pilot allowed the department to win a $200,000 grant from the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching (HILT) and expand the program to other departments in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

The Department of History continued to run the program on behalf of the FAS until 2018, when the Digital Scholarship Support Group took over direct management. During this period the program supported 57 different courses, including 38 faculty, and 50 graduate students in 13 different departments.

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