Nanocourses

History of Nanocourses

Nanocourses were started under the umbrella of Integrative Developmental Biology (iDB) by the first two HMS Curriculum Fellows, Jennifer Stanford and Meg Bentley (CBE—Life Sciences Education Vol. 7, 175–183, Summer 2008) and continue to be administered by the HMS Curriculum Fellows Program (HMS CFP.) Nanocourses represent a dynamic way of teaching advanced scientific topics in a condensed fashion. These courses are an educational tool meant to bring students and other interested individuals in the Harvard community up to date on a particular field, to provide insight into the current questions of that field, and to define a basis for further study in that field, all within a short, 6-hour, time period. The idea behind creating this teaching tool was to develop a curriculum that is responsive to the changing nature of any scientific field, takes maximum advantage of the expansive, scientific expertise of the faculty across the Harvard campus, and appeals to a wide-variety of students, post-docs, fellows and faculty who don’t traditionally participate in classes.

Nanocourses consist of two class meetings. The first session is lecture-based and is taught by two or more faculty members over three hours. These lectures provide the necessary historical and scientific introduction to a topic that will allow participants to appreciate the current status of a particular field. Lectures culminate in a discussion of the current research areas, specific experimental approaches and new technologies within a field. This lecture-based session is open to the entire Harvard community. The second session is discussion-based and is intended only for students taking the nanocourse for credit. The format of this second session is flexible and may include discussion of relevant papers, brainstorming about future research, or an opportunity to learn a new technique.

What is a nanocourse?

Nanocourses are quick mini-courses lasting for two days.  They meet for a minimum of 6 hours over a period of 2 days. The first session is lecture-based and is taught by 2 or more faculty members over 3-4 hours.  The lectures are contiguous and aim to provide an advanced level of knowledge on current research areas, specific experimental approaches and new technologies. This lecture-based session is open to the entire Harvard community. The second session is discussion-based and is intended only for students taking the nanocourse for credit. The format of this second session, which lasts for 3 hours, is flexible. It may include discussion of relevant papers, brainstorming about future research, or whatever is deemed appropriate by the course director to assess student progress.

Click here to view the policies for nanocourses.

Course Credit:

Although students are encouraged to take as many nanocourses as they please, official credit will be granted for up to six nanocourses only. Students must participate in all sessions of a nanocourse and complete all the assignments in order to qualify for credit.  Completion of three nanocourses will be equivalent to a quarter course credit.

What to put on your Study Card- 

3 Completed Nanocourses - once you complete 3 nanocourses you can put the quarter course listing below on your study card to receive credit-

*Cell Biology 300qc. Advanced Topics in Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology
Catalog Number: 17665 
David Lopes Cardozo (Medical School) 5995 

6 Completed Nanocourses - once you have completed 6 nanocourses (if you havn't already received a quarter course credit for any of them) you can put the half course listing below on your study card to receive credit- 

*Cell Biology 399. Nanocourses
Catalog Number: 0087 
David Lopes Cardozo (Medical School) 5995

Course Registration:

Nanocourse enrollment is required only for students who wish to accrue credit.  Students are required to enroll on the web site in advance of the course (as specified per course on the web site). Students may drop a course using the web site, up to one week prior to the first session of the course. Failure to attend or complete the course will result in an incomplete grade for students who do not drop the course one week before the course date.  An incomplete grade will also be given to students who do not attend both days of a nanocourse for which they have enrolled if they do not drop the course as specified above.

I want to check my enrollment.

Please log in or create a new account (bottom of page) then click on My account (see link at right) and then click on the signups tab.  This will show you only what you have enrolled in on this site for this semester.

I want to un-enroll from a course.

You can do this two ways - from the My account link on right, or by going to the individual course listing under the Nanos links.  Click Enroll and then cancel sign up.

Important dates to know:

Add/Drop deadlines for people who are registering for credit on their Academic Record and not just enrolling:

FALL 2016 - Last day to add October 17, 2016
FALL 2016 - Last day to drop October 25, 2016

SPRING 2017 - Last day to add March 6, 2017
SPRING 2017 - Last day to drop March 21, 2017

Add/drop forms can be found in the DMS offices locatedin TMEC bldg., room 435.

Note that each nanocourse has a specific add/drop date which occurs one week prior to the first session date

Important information to know:

If a class is full with a waitlist the instructor reserves the right to give Division of Medical Sciences students priority over non-DMS students, Post-Docs and those auditing the course.

Questions?  Concerns?  Please contact the DMS Courses Offices at dms_courses@hms.harvard.edu 617/432-4134