API-201: Quantitative Analysis and Empirical Methods
API-209: Advanced Quantitative Methods I: Statistics

Dan Levy, Innovations in Teaching Award 2019

Dan LevyDan Levy’s work as an educator has spurred innovations in his own classrooms and across HKS and Harvard. Bringing together best practice in professional education (including case method, simulations, and practice-driven assessment) with technological  advancements in pedagogy (including classroom polling, pre-class multimedia modules, and robust Canvas learning management system use), Dan has had a profound impact on his students’ learning and on the culture of teaching at the Kennedy School. 

As one faculty colleague who nominated Dan for this award noted, Dan “does not innovate for innovation’s sake but because he cares deeply about student learning.” He has been recognized across Harvard as a  master teacher whose approach to building a learning culture in his classrooms, to eliciting student participation, and to leveraging various forms of educational technology set an example for how to approach teaching with an eye towards continuous learning. 

Dan is also part of the team that developed Teachly, a web application that helps faculty teach more effectively and inclusively. As noted on the Teachly website, “We began work on Teachly in the spring of 2015, after years spent obsessing about how to create increasingly personalized learning experiences for students. We had come to believe that data were critical to this mission – data about students, about our own habits as teachers, and about in-class interactions. We built Teachly to bring these data together in one place and to help us, as faculty, take more immediate action in the classroom.”

Currently, 75 faculty members in over 100 classrooms at the Harvard Kennedy School are using the application.  There are further ongoing pilots at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and at the Harvard School of Public Health. 


Samples of innovation:

Experimenting with two-stage exams to give students an opportunity to engage in deeper, more formative assessment experience.

Use of classroom technologies – including wireless projection, tablets, and in-class polling – to deepen students’ engagement with course content. 

Developing a tailored method of peer instruction that leverages in-class polling to better understand how students are learning in real-time. 

Using handouts to scaffold student learning and help students discern what is most important in the moment.

Developing Teachly as a means to better know students and their interests and motivations and to better understand what actually happens inside the classroom.

A few words from colleagues and students…

 “I have never seen someone more thoughtful and reflective about pedagogy than Dan Levy. His use of technology in the classroom is inspirational to witness.” (student)

"Dan Levy changed my life. He fundamentally altered my understanding of statistics and gave me the greatest possible gift -- a hard-working, sincere, committed, passionate, and earnest teacher maximally dedicated to his students' learning.” (student)

“It would be hard to find a more innovative – as well as committed, probing, and caring – teacher anywhere at Harvard. We are very lucky to have Dan Levy at the Kennedy School.” (faculty colleague)