undergraduate education

Mapping Gender Diversity at MIT

Published in MIT News on October 25, 2017 by Michael Patrick Rutter, Office of the Vice Chancellor

Data visualization map explores two decades of enrollment trends among female students at the Institute.

A trio of researchers has created and published a data visualization map that examines trends in undergraduate gender diversity at MIT. The big reveal is heartening: Over the past 20 years, MIT’s female undergraduate population has risen to nearly 50 percent of total enrollment and such growth has been sustained across almost every department and school.

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Putting Projects at the Forefront

Published in MIT News on October 6, 2017, by Meg Murphy, School of Engineering

NEET pilot initiative centers around interdisciplinary projects to prepare students for the practice of engineering.

Rose Wang loves to work on projects — especially ones that exceed the bounds of her declared majors, economics and computer science. She thrives on do-it-yourself design solutions. Her latest involves making an aerodynamic drone. “We’ll see how that goes,” she says.

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A Life-Changing Month: IAP in Madrid

Julia Mongo, Staff Writer, GECD

For students interested in study abroad who don’t want to spend too much time away from campus or internship opportunities, Global Education’s IAP in Madrid offerings are increasingly becoming an attractive option. Founded in 2007, MIT’s popular slate of IAP programs in Madrid continues to expand in courses and enrollment. Students currently have the choice of three options: Global Literature taught in English by Professor Margery Resnick, Spanish II taught by lecturer Ana Yanez Rodriguez, and Advanced Spanish Conversation and Composition taught by senior lecturer Margarita Ribas Groeger.

All three courses provide MIT credit and the opportunity for cultural immersion through homestay accommodations. Funding is available for the programs, and GECD’s Global Education staff will assist students in applying for scholarships to fund their studies.

Although the time may be short (3–4 weeks), students find their IAP in Madrid experiences to be truly transformative on academic, cultural, personal, and social levels.

Here’s what some of our 2017 IAP-Madrid students had to say about their experiences:

 Amber in Spain“Each week exposed me to more Spanish culture and history than I ever would’ve learned back in the United States. Academically, my Spanish speaking skills skyrocketed. I understood so much more in conversation with my host family by the end of the program than I did when I first arrived. This was really my only chance to study abroad and it was truly a life-changing experience.” (Amber, a Course 6 senior who took Spanish II)...

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Barnhart Appoints Waitz Vice Chancellor for Overseeing Offices of Graduate, Undergraduate Education

Published in MIT News on April 27, 2017

Freeman will pilot first-year curriculum experiments; Staton to work closely with Waitz on graduate education.

In a letter to the MIT community today, Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart announced she has appointed Ian A. Waitz to the newly created position of vice chancellor responsible for leading and integrating the offices for graduate and undergraduate education. In his new role, which begins July 1, Waitz will be working alongside students, faculty, and staff from across the Institute to enhance the student academic experience.

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Exploring the Impact of Margaret MacVicar’s Legacy on Education at MIT

Published in MIT News on April 6, 2017, by Elizabeth Durant, Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education

Faculty and students share their perspectives on the value of undergraduate research at “Pushing Boundaries” event.

Question: What does building a 15th-century printing press have in common with using DNA to encode genetic memory in a cell?                                    

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Advancing Algorithmic Reasoning and Computational Thinking

In May 2016, Chair of the Faculty and Professor Krishna Rajagopal and then-Dean for Undergraduate Education Dennis Freeman created a working group to conduct an in-depth study of whether – and if so, how – MIT should ensure that undergraduate students learn about algorithmic reasoning and computational thinking. The final report of the working group is now available.

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Teaching and Learning Lab Collaborates on the 2017 Festival of Learning

Leann Dobranski and Janet Rankin

On February 1-2, The Teaching and Learning Lab (T+LL) partnered with ODL, DUE, and ODGE to host a campus-wide Festival of Learning. This 2-day event celebrated the creative contributions that MIT faculty, staff, and students have made to continuously improving student learning experiences at the Institute. In her opening remarks, Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart set the stage for the Festival and introduced the first keynote speaker, Satya Nitta of IBM Watson Education.

In Nitta’s keynote address, titled “Watson and the Future of Learning Science and Technology,” he began with an historical overview of computing systems. He shared his perspective on the evolution of the field of artificial intelligence (AI), from its Minskian foundations in logic and reasoning to its current focus on intelligent tutoring systems through the implementation of statistical calculations and probabilistic answers. Nitta also quoted Daniel Denton, and stressed the fact that although AI systems can, in fact, learn, adapt, reason, analyze, and interpret, they are not intelligent. However, he did point out that by understanding how machines learn, we can gain insight into human learning.

During the “Lighting Round,” MIT faculty and instructors presented short pedagogy talks that highlighted interesting and unique ways they engage students in active learning through the use of technology, project work, and interactive demonstrations. Materials Science professor Lorna Gibson discussed the evolution of her flipped 3.032x (Mechanical Behavior of Materials) class using MITx materials. Professor Michael Cuthbert demonstrated how he uses Artusi, an environment he developed for learning the rote, repetitive, but important skills of music fundamentals and music theory in his 21M.051 (Computer Tools for Music Fundamentals) class. Dean Dennis Freeman explained his use of task-centered instruction in 6.01 (Intro to Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) and described how he uses hands-on, lab-based activities to provide context for the introduction of relevant theory in subsequent lectures. Peter Dourmashkin described his use of the The Lightboard in 8.01 (Physics I), which allows the instructor to face front while writing. Professor Ely Sachs discussed the importance of teaching engineering students to be experts in both analysis and synthesis and his use of guided discovery to support the development of those capabilities...

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GECD Expands IAP Programs in Madrid with Record Enrollment

Julie Maddox, Assistant Dean, Global Education

A record number of MIT students studied in Madrid, Spain, during IAP 2017, earning credit towards their degree program. Sixty-one students enrolled in one of three course options: Global Literature, taught by Margery Resnick; Spanish II, taught by Ana Yanez Rodriguez; and Advanced Spanish Conversation and Composition, taught by Margarita Ribas Groeger. The three courses offered students a chance to earn MIT credit, while living overseas in a homestay and gaining firsthand knowledge of another culture.

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