Everything on HarvardWrites is based on how students learn.
We see students as innate problem solvers who are motivated by intellectual challenges and puzzles. When it comes to writing, students benefit from seeing for themselves how scholars structure arguments, engage evidence, and establish the stakes of their inquiry.
1) Watch the Videos
Students benefit from hearing about intellectual engagement and writing from scholars across the disciplines.
We interviewed seven of Harvard’s most prominent intellectuals about how they think about writing. They represent a broad range of disciplines and ways of writing, from history and literature to biology and computer science. While these disciplines have unique conventions, they also share fundamental approaches to writing.
2) Learn by Doing
Students tend to learn best when they put ideas into practice.
When learning to write, students should work closely with essays that model the kinds of intellectual moves they are expected to make. On HarvardWrites, we’ve designed learning activities that ask students to engage with model writing by using an online highlighter. Highlighting model essays can help students visualize the ways scholarship is put together. It can also call attention to transferable skills students can apply to their own writing.
3) Reflect on What You’ve Done
While learning is always happening in the classroom, students do not always realize what they’ve learned.
There is often so much happening in the classroom that it’s difficult for students to know what they’ve learned. Across HarvardWrites, you’ll see the learning activities all end by asking students to reflect on what they’ve done. Asking students what they’ve learned helps them consolidate what they’re realizing about scholarly writing. It also allows the widest possible range of “right” answers, no matter the student’s past experience or exposure to academic writing.