Educational Technology News - 2007

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  • StarBiogene is a web interface to a set of software tools from the Broad Institute for analyzing genomics data via the web. It enables the user to take part in the analysis of microarray gene expression data without the operational fog of installing, configuring, and loading datasets into the software. Entirely from the web interface, students can select how they want to visualize the data (microarray, heatmap, or clustering views) and also choose from a set of prepackaged datasets to be automatically loaded into the software. StarBiogene then delivers the visualizer along with the requested dataset and launches the software on the client's machine using Java Web Start (tm).

  • On September 7th about 400 students in MIT’s Introduction to Biology Course 7.012 were given a homework assignment on proteins. The homework problem set asked questions about the structure of a protein. To answer these questions the students used StarBiochem developed at MIT by a collaboration of MIT Biology Professor Graham Walker, MIT Physics Professor John Belcher, and the OEIT Software Tools for Academics and Researchers (STAR) developers.

  • Justin Riley, a DUE Office of Educational Innovation and Technology (OEIT) developer, in collaboration with Dr. Megan Rokop, head of the Outreach Program for the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard took StarBiogene for a shakedown cruise with OEIT Director and Senior Associate Dean Vijay Kumar, the OEIT staff, and guests from DUE, the Department of Biology, and the Broad Institute on July 24, 2007.

  • CrossTalk, the Office of Educational Innovation and Technology (OEIT) seminar series on Educational Change where faculty, staff and students share strategies, solutions, and issues related to transformation in educational practice through the use of information technology, held its last session of the spring term May 22nd, 2007. More than 70 people gathered in the active learning environment of the TEAL 1 classroom to hear faculty share their experiences using and teaching with blogs and wikis in their courses at MIT. The session, moderated by Carter Snowden (OEIT), Sanjoy Mahajan (TLL) and Phillip Long (OEIT), explored how faculty are using these web 2.0 tools in their courses.

  • The Spring 2007 IT Partners Conference featured a panel discussion on academic computing, chaired by Babi Mitra from OEIT. The panel focused on three aspects of academic computing at MIT: institutional support for the academic computing innovation cycle; enterprise-wide academic computing service and; academic computing coordination across the MIT Libraries, DUE and IS&T.

    Babi Mitra(OEIT), Phil Long(OEIT) and Katie Vale(OEIT) presented elements of OEIT’s strategy as well as how OEIT supports the innovation cycle from ‘experiment’ through ‘incubate’ through ‘transition’ to ‘service’, discussed the five programmatic areas that OEIT is focusing on --- Visualization & Simulation, Collaboration Tools, Cross Media Tools, Course and Learning Administration, and, Active Learning Environments, and shared vignettes from some of the programmatic areas including those on image management, STARbio and Second Life. The question to be addressed was as to how OEIT could provide
    the most benefit to MIT education?

    And how could it work best with IT Partners to do this?

  • The Office of Educational Innovation and Technology announced a renewal of an informative and stimulating series, CrossTalk, presenting faculty from MIT, and periodically faculty from elsewhere, talking about core issues at the intersection of teaching, learning and technology. The board goal of the CrossTalk Seminars is to share strategies, solutions, and issues related to transformation in educational practice through the use of information technology.

  • OEIT Collaborates with Civil and Environmental Engineering to Help Students in 1.978 Visualize Nanoscale Problems---Software designed for genetics shows how materials behave under extreme loading

    This has been excerpted from a news item that appeared in the April 2, 2007 issue of MIT News, see A version of this article also appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 11, 2007.

    An educational experiment during IAP demonstrated that students can learn to apply sophisticated atomistic modeling techniques to traditional materials research in just a few classes, an advance that could dramatically change the way civil engineers learn to model the mechanical properties of materials and provide enormous benefit to industry.

  • A key recommendation of the ad hoc committee on the reorganization of academic computing services was that the Libraries, DUE and IS&T work together more closely to ensure that faculty have easy and coordinated (seamless) access to all academic computing services. A core group convened by Vijay Kumar and comprising Oliver Thomas from IS&T, Steve Gass from the Libraries, and Babi Mitra from DUE-OEIT has been established for this purpose. The group, now called ACCORD for ‘Academic Computing CoORDination Group’, has been meeting over the past few weeks to craft its charter, mission, scope and process going ahead.

  • As of December, the new Office of Educational Innovation and Technology (OEIT) was formed as part of the reorganization of Academic Computing. OEIT works with faculty, staff and students to enable and promote the development and dissemination of innovative uses of technology in teaching and learning. Look for an article about OEIT in the February 14 edition of TechTalk.