Curriculum Innovation News - 2011

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  • DUE is working with the MIT Council on Educational Technology (MITCET) to explore the idea of modularity applied to teaching and the curriculum. Modularity here means that content would be delivered in small chunks with embedded learning outcomes and analytics (e.g two week segments). Underlying this effort are three key advances that provide the basis for rethinking MIT’s residentially-based science and technology-centered education:

    1. Several years of experiments and data gathering on best practices in engineering and science education have shown substantially improved learning gains associated with rapid, focused feedback (see for example, the Journal of Engineering Education).
    2. Online educational technology tools have been developed that enable fine-grain analysis of learning at the individual student level.
    3. We have gained an increased understanding of the educational value and contribution of co-curricular educational experiences to the residentially-based education at MIT.

    With the combination of these ideas...

  • Over the past several years, MIT faculty members have created classes in the humanities, arts, and social sciences geared specifically towards first-year students and focused on “big ideas.” Funding from the d’Arbeloff Funds for Excellence in Education and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) Dean’s Funds has supported these pilot subjects.

  • The Fall 2011 term will mark ten years since the first entering class was subject to the Communication Requirement (CR). In celebration of this anniversary and as a part of the MIT150 events, the Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement (SOCR) sponsored “Innovations in Communication Instruction: Lessons from Ten Years of the Communication Requirement” on April 27. Professor Diana Henderson, OFS Director and Dean for Curriculum and Faculty Support, moderated this well-attended event.

    What is the Communication Requirement?
    The CR requires that students complete at least one communication intensive (CI) subject in each year of undergraduate study in order to ensure that their communication training is distributed.

    • CI-H subjects: Two of the required subjects are chosen from a group of designated subjects offered in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences curriculum. CI-H subjects provide a foundation in effective writing and oral communication.
    • CI-M subjects: The other two required CI subjects are taken in the student’s major department. These subjects, designated as Communication Intensive in the Major, teach the specific forms of communication common to the field's professional and academic culture.