Educational Technology News - All Years

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  • In the “Introduction to Modeling and Simulation” course (3.021) at MIT students learn to use both atomistic and quantum mechanical computer modeling simulations to study materials properties. For this course students need to run many computationally intensive simulations in order to experiment and analyze various systems for their homework assignments. These simulations can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 6 hours or more and generate up to several gigabytes of data in each run. Needless to say, with approximately 50 students enrolled, this course has a serious need for computational resources in the classroom.

  • ESG Students at Ed Tech FairOn October 14, the Office of Educational Innovation and Technology, the Teaching and Learning Laboratory, and the Office of Faculty Support co-hosted the MIT Ed Tech Fair 2009: Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Learning. The four-hour passion-filled event enjoyed a huge turnout, with a lively panel discussion featuring four MIT professors doing pioneering work in visualization and simulation, the student winners of the iCampus prize demonstrating their winning projects and over 25 presenters and exhibitors.

  • OEIT staff contributed to the development of new programs and courses supported by Alumni Grants. Molly Ruggles is working with history professor Elizabeth A. Wood to develop an online Russian history portal for the project titled “Bringing Russian and Soviet History into the Digital Age.”

  • The Davis Educational Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute fund the OEIT Software Tools for Academics and Researchers (STAR) team “Bringing Biology Research Software into the Classroom” project.

    The STAR team approaches all of its projects with an implicit primary goal of meeting the needs of MIT faculty and students first. A key requirement for our software and supporting materials is availability through an on demand service ( In the spirit of the MIT mission statement, the STAR team makes our software and materials accessible to all users. External funding helps us not only to improve the quality of our software and materials for the MIT faculty and students, it helps raise the awareness and use of it worldwide.

  • The Office of Educational Innovation and Technology has launched the Visual Arts and Media for Teaching and Learning web portal at:

    The new website provides resources on the application of digital arts, computer graphics, and multimedia to enhance teaching and learning, including a gallery of educational media projects and initiatives, an up to date training schedule, and a library of visual media materials for the natural sciences, humanities, and other disciplines.

  • The IAP 2009 CUDA @MIT course 6.963 provided students the opportunity to practice hands on parallel programming with inexpensive massively parallel graphics cards using Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA). The goal of this class was to introduce supercomputing on cheap commodity hardware to the MIT community. The hope is that researchers will take advantage of this remarkably cheap and innovative technology to significantly accelerate computational sciences, making more experimentally testable hypotheses attainable.

  • ACCORD members joined colleagues from Smith College and Tufts University to present a day-long workshop titled, Images: Content Management, Teaching, and Learning this past January 23rd. The workshop was sponsored by NERCOMP, the Northeast Regional Computing Program, an affiliate of Educause, and was attended by 55 educational technologists from 31 NERCOMP institutions.

  • The New Media Center (NMC) in 26-139 is available to the MIT community as a computational resource and has been refreshed with all new hardware this fall to meet the demanding needs of an ever technologically savvy user-base.

    The NMC, besides having the usual suite of Office applications, has software ranging from Adobe’s Creative Suite to Apple’s Final Cut Pro and auxiliary applications to support a wide range of activities with tools for editing digital photography, website creation, digital video projects and producing full fledged multimedia projects. Additionally, the NMC contains hardware to support scanning and the digitization of video.

  • Approximately 15% of MIT undergraduates will spend time studying or researching in another country. Following DUE’s strategic theme to foster global leadership through foreign travel, this percentage is predicted to grow. Using the capabilities of Second Life, OEIT contractor Evan Leek has created - within MIT’s existing Second Life SIM - a gathering  space for globally distributed students. Although far away from MIT in the real world, students will nevertheless be able to communicate in a virtual space and therefore maintain connected to their peers and to the greater MIT community.  Eventually the space could be extended to reflect real-time events and activities on the MIT campus.

  • The interest in the use of images in teaching at MIT is on the rise. ACCORD, a collaborative initiative of the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education, Information Services & Technology, the Libraries, and OpenCourseWare, has initiated a program to inform and assist faculty and teaching staff in easily accessing services to support their use of images for teaching.

    Faculty in Humanities, Architecture, Social Sciences, and increasingly in Engineering and Science have access to a large number of image resources as well as tools to use images. It is not always clear which resources and tools are best for what applications and how to get support for use of the images and tools. Often these services, including help in locating, managing, tagging, presenting, and archiving images, come from different organizations within MIT or from outside MIT.