Student Opportunities

Overview

TLT student developers work closely with TLT developers and others in the Harvard community to develop open source tools that can used by faculty, students, and staff in courses and research. Through this program, students take ownership of a project, advance their development skills, upgrade their Github presence, be immersed in industry-standard software development practices, use cutting-edge technologies to build open source tools ... while also helping transform teaching and learning at Harvard and beyond.

Developers are expected to work 6-10 hours per week on- or off-site, including weekly meetings with TLT developers, user experience experts, and product owners, and are paid for their work.

To get started, please apply via this application form. If you have questions, feel free to contact TLT at tlt_sdp@g.harvard.edu.  While there are no course prerequisites, applicants must be at least in their sophomore year. (Graduate students are also welcome.)

Current Projects

  • AskUp: AskUp is an educational tool to help you make sense and remember material you learn in class, at home, or in the hospital. It uses evidence-based principles to improve your learning by providing a platform for question generation as a means to retain and connect material.
  • MapApp: MapApp supports student submission of location-based information within the course context. For example, Harvard Graduate School of Design may ask students to submit the GPS coordinates of buildings created by a common architect, and teaching staff at Harvard Kennedy School may have students research and submit the locations of NGOs operating within a specific region.

Potential AY 2015-2016 Projects

Ideas for projects come from students, staff, and faculty members throughout the year, and have also grown out of collaborative efforts such as the TLT hackathon, TLT-hosted academic developer community meetings, and engagement conversations with the Schools. Potential upcoming student-driven projects include (but are not limited to):

  • ScholarSurvey Tool: Receiving timely, constructive feedback directly from students is a powerful tool for teaching staff across Harvard. Currently, teachers solicit and receive feedback at the end of the term, which is of course too late to provide benefit to current students. We’re interested in receiving feedback on course material as it’s presented so that teachers can adjust instruction accordingly. We need help building a solution so that teaching staff can select questions and receive feedback from students upon certain course events (assignment submission, quiz conclusion, etc.) and also at certain points in time (after a class meeting, at certain points during the term, etc.). The student could select to provide anonymous feedback or have the feedback attributed, and the teaching staff could select to view feedback as it comes in or in a digest format.
  • Policy Grader: Many classes have custom policies that affect student grades, such as attendance, participation or flexible assignment dates. The contribution of these factors to a student’s grade can be difficult for instructors to track, particularly in large or distributed courses. We’re looking for a student to conduct research into ways to extend Canvas to aid faculty in measuring and evaluating some of the more subjective parts of a student’s grades. Possible avenues could include setting and tracking policies about assignment late days, measuring student interactions with the discussion forum or chat tools, or integrating with other systems that measure attendance or classroom participation. The system should also tie in with the Canvas analytics framework and gradebook, allowing faculty to easily apply the tool’s insights to student grades.
  • Office Hours Online: As more of Harvard’s courses are made available to online and hybrid students, there are new challenges that we have to address to give all students the best experience possible. Since students can no longer be assumed to be local, it is harder for instructors to build a rapport through everyday interactions in class or during office hours. One way to address this is to move the office hour sessions online, allowing students to interact with their professors over Skype, Google Hangouts, Blackboard Collaborate or any of the other remote communication tools that we use in our day-to-day lives. We are looking for an enthusiastic student to help build a remote office hours management system. This tool will plug into Canvas and allow students to sign up for individual time slots or to simply drop in if the instructor is not currently working with another student during a specified period. For the instructor or teaching fellow, the tool will extend the current Canvas scheduling features to keep track of student appointments and a drop-in queue. It will also give a dashboard that helps instructors manage their time and provide easy access to course information about the student being helped. It will allow both students and instructors to indicate their preferred means of communication, and provide a mechanism by which students can be kept updated on their likely wait for individual attention and notify them when their turn is approaching.
  • One-Minute Paper: The “one-minute paper” is a well-known method for instructors to receive feedback from students in order to improve teaching (see Harvard faculty Richard Light's Making the Most of College). After each class or learning experience, students are asked to anonymously short questions with very brief answers, and the instructor can read all the responses and gain immediate feedback about the class or learning experience. This tool will plug into Canvas and allow instructors to easily implement a “one-minute paper” method in their course for both on-campus and distance students.