October 16, 2014

11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Room 4-146

  1. Highlights of report from Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education: Reaction and discussion of implications for educational technology directions
  2. Carnegie-supported Study on Policy Implications for Online Learning & NSF-support Symposium on Online Learning and Learning Sciences
  3. MITCET future and governance for educational technology

April 4, 2014

11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Room 33-218

  1. Feedback to John Charles, V.P. IS&T on Guiding Principles document for IT at MIT.

    A working draft of our proposed Guiding Principles document for IT at MIT is attached. So far, the draft reflects feedback from IS&T Sr Staff, the MIT IT Leaders Group, members of the VP of IS&T Search Committee, plus a few in-progress-review comments from members of the ITGC. Per John’s request, please treat the draft as a work-in-progress — it’s not ready for distribution to a wider audience at this stage in its development.

  2. Brief update/presentation on the work of the Institute Working Group on MIT Education and Facilities – Lori Breslow, Director TLL

    The intent would be to identify key themes that may be emerging from this Working Group (Chaired by Prof. Karen Wilcox) that may be candidates for institutional experiments/projects.

March 10, 2014

11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Room 33-218

  1. Welcome (New Members)
  2. MITx update
    • MITx HarvardX report highlights (Ike Chuang)
    • Summer of Learning (An MITx initiative proposed for MIT students and external learners)
  3. Funding and monitoring educational technology innovation and experiments. How can MITCET help identify opportunities, resource and monitor faculty innovation and institutional experiments related to educational technology?

November 14, 2013

9:00 – 10:00am
Room 33-206

  1. Welcome
  2. Ecosystem for Academic Technology: The recent launch of the Office of Digital Learning brings together some of the key educational technology organizations at MIT. There are other units who are involved. It is important to understand the charters of various units that comprise the ecosystem for academic technology, their complementarity, their governance, oversight for accountability
  3. Funding and Monitoring educational technology innovation and experiments. How can MITCET help identify opportunities, resource and monitor faculty innovation and institutional experiments related to educational technology?
  4. Updates from Institute Task Forces.

Friday, March 1, 2013

12:30 – 2:00pm
Room 33-206

1. MITx Update

  1. Courses; Use of edX platform

2. General strategy and next steps

  1. Brief Update on DL Task Forces (Learning Environments; Games; Concepts & Learning Pathways; Assessment; Hands-On Learning; Video Vignettes; Basic Research)
  2. Graduate Education Task Force – Discussion

Friday, December 21, 2012

2:00 – 3:30pm
Room 5-231

In his announcement of the new directorate for digital learning, President Reif mentioned that,  “through MITx and edX, we should also use our campus community as a laboratory for inventing the residential research university of the future.”

The establishment of the DDL follows a series of experiments that MITCET launched with a focus on modularity to address the improvement of the undergrad educational experience as well as the launch of  MITx and edX courses. (See attached document),

With the above as context, the agenda for our next MITCET is as follows:

1.  Continued discussion of the Vision/Mission for Digital Learning  (Sanjay)

2.   Key Issues/Priorities for Digital Learning  (All)

–   What are the 3 most important things that MIT should focus on in its Digital Learning initiatives?

3. Updates

Monday, November 26, 2012

9:00 – 10:30am
Room 33-206

  1. DBER*- Online Learning Symposium: Discussion of Outcomes, Format and Participants
    The draft prospectus for the symposium  (also sent for the last meeting) is attached. Also attached is a short summary that highlights the key points from the rather extensive NAE DBER report.
  2. Plans from the new Director of Digital Learning – Sanjay Sarma
  3. Learning from the MIT/edX courses to inform MIT education
    What processes do we put in place to share/disseminate what is being learnt from the MITx/edX courses?
  4. Updates/Announcements

*DBER-> Discipline Based Educational Research

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

3:30 – 5:00pm
Room 33-206

  1. Assessment of MITCET sponsored Experiments for Online Education: A report and discussion of the assessment undertaken by TLL are part of the Online Experiments on Modularity- Glenda Stump, Lori Breslow, TLL (3:30 – 4:30)

    The assessment reports are attached.

    A report prepared for the Class of ’60  which  includes descriptions of the projects has been sent earlier.

    We would like to hear from you if there are particular questions or points from the assessments that you would like addressed.  Please send us these no later than October 20. It will help frame  the discussion at the meeting.

  2. DBER-Online Learning Symposium: Discussion of Outcomes; Format. The draft prospectus for the symposium  (also sent for the last meeting) is attached. (4.30 – 4.45)
  3. Updates/Announcements: MITCET Website; Other

Mechanical Engineering i2.002

Teaching a core required class to students at any distance

The opportunity:

The Mechanical Engineering undergraduate student is presented with an increasing number of valuable academic opportunities beyond the campus. While the department supports such activities, most required courses are only available on campus.

In parallel, the flexible 2A curriculum, which allows students to pursue specific “tracks” of knowledge and create a customized degree, envisions increased modularization of the mechanical engineering curriculum.

The combined goals of remote student participation and modularized course components sponsored an experiment in delivering a core mechanical engineering class to both residential and off-campus students.

The experiment:

In Spring 2012, 2.002 was offered concurrently to both remote and residential MIT students. Ten percent of the class participated remotely—from Spain, Puerto Rico and California—and these students were held to the same academic standards as residential students. The experiment has just concluded and evaluation by the Teaching and Learning Laboratory is ongoing.

To support the remote students, all lectures, recitations, labs and review sessions were recorded and posted for viewing on the same or next day. Each remote student was provided a scanner for sending in assignments and exams, and an online discussion forum provided a channel for student interaction.

Areas of innovation:

Participating faculty agree that a core mechanical engineering course can indeed be taught successfully online. With the proper support, tools and materials, Mechanical Engineering can offer an entirely online course without any reduction in quality or standards.

Course materials were modularized into an introductory core and four major components (plasticity, viscoelasticity, fracture & fatigue, and rubber). After completing the core module, students should be able to study the remaining components in any order.

Online content played a key role. The accelerated availability of online lecture and lab videos, indexed by topic, enabled remote students to share a similar learning experience to residential students.

Online discussion supported significant levels of class interaction (130 questions solicited 450 responses). It linked residential and remote students in one community, and served as the primary channel for remote students’ questions.

Sustainability considerations:

Two new roles—beyond the traditional course staff—proved essential to the successful delivery of a concurrent residential/remote course:

  • An Online Instructor, who supports and interacts with remote students, providing online office hours and serving as their point of contact.
  • An Educational Technology Coordinator, who manages the delivery of technical services—tools, platforms, and content.
    Two key platforms were essential to providing an integrated learning experience: Piazza (an online discussion platform) and MIT TechTV (for video delivery).

Future directions:

The faculty currently provide most course materials through blackboard-based lectures. Interactivity and remote participation could be improved with more digital course material and restructured class sessions.
The faculty would like to experiment with course modularity, using the core and interchangeable modules.

The Online Instructor role could transition to existing roles within the department and the Educational Technology Coordinator role could be provided by a core MIT service.

This project was supported by the MIT Office of Educational Innovation and Technology and was one of the experiments in course modularity conducted by the MIT Council on Education Technology in 2011-2012 with funding from the Class of ’60.
Written by Mark Brown

Chemistry Bridge

Modules for self-paced learning and review of complex and recurring core concepts

“Chemistry Bridge will allow digital resources to complement what I do one-on-one”

—John Essigmann, Leitch Professor of Chemistry and Biological Engineering

The opportunity:

Across the sciences, certain key concepts have traditionally proven challenging for students at all levels. These concepts are typically taught in introductory classes, but faculty must review them repeatedly in advanced classes across the curriculum. The Chemistry Bridge project is developing self-paced modules to assist mastery of these key concepts outside the classroom setting. The modules can be used independently by students, or as a faculty tool to supplement instruction.

The project:

Students visit the Chemistry Bridge web site (currently under development) and take a “pre-test” to assess their understanding of the subtopics that constitute a core concept. Upon submitting their responses, students are presented with a “learning pathway”—a curated set of web sites, videos and simulations that have been selected to address that student’s learning goals. After completing the steps in the pathway, the student takes a “post-test” to assess how well they understood the concept.

Areas of innovation:

These modules are expected to advance teaching and learning at several levels:

  • They provide a model and potential platform for creating self-paced, customized learning pathways that allow novice and advanced students to better understand and master key concepts.
  • They will improve efficiency by reducing the repetition of core concepts in advanced classes.
  • They promote community curation of a set of existing web-based teaching materials that best explain the concepts.


The project is developing modules in the areas of:

  • Buffers
  • Electrochemistry and Redox
  • Quantum Mechanics

The key concepts are drawn from:

  • 5.111 – Principles of Chemical Science
  • 5.12 – Organic Chemistry I
  • 5.60 – Thermodynamics and Kinetics

Sustainability considerations:

The selection and creation of each new module initially requires a collaborative effort among faculty and domain experts to identify key concepts and their constituent subtopics.

Populating each new module requires a set of informed content aggregators (the project is working with advanced MIT undergraduates) who curate the best online teaching materials.

The tool that delivers the learning experience will require technical support and feature improvements to support evolving community needs.

Future directions:

Although the tool is still under development, targeted for a Fall 2012 launch, the following future efforts have been identified:

  • Feature refinements following usability testing with students.
  • Expanding the number of modules to include other key concepts.
  • Forming partnerships to implement the modules across Chemistry, and adapting the tool for use in other departments.
This project was supported by the MIT Office of Educational Innovation and Technology and was one of the experiments in course modularity conducted by the MIT Council on Education Technology in 2011-2012 with funding from the Class of ’60.
Written by Mark Brown