DUE News - 2012

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  • Editor's note: Joanna Chen is a sophomore in materials science and engineering and a Midshipman 3rd Class in the NROTC program. She also competes for MIT's Varsity Track and Field Team and enjoys volunteering for the American Red Cross Team and Network and being a part of InterVarsity's Asian Christian Fellowship.

    NROTC Practice DrillsEvery Wednesday, midshipmen walk around campus in uniform, drawing the eyes of other students in their immaculately polished shoes and crisply tucked blouses. Many of us have been approached by strangers and friends alike and, after telling them that we are midshipmen in the Naval Reserve Officer Traning Corps (NROTC) — a program that trains college students to become officers in the United States Navy and Marine Corps — are asked the question: “What exactly do you do?”

  • List of generational characteristics of MIT graduate studentsOver the past two years, we have had extensive discussions with graduate students at monthly “Dinners and Dialogue,” a number of focus groups, panels and many one-on-one meetings.

  • Prof. Ed BertschingerThis is the first in a series of occasional articles relating rewarding faculty/student interactions outside the classroom.

    I know an MIT faculty member who grew up in a poor Latino neighborhood, whose immigrant mother had only an eighth-grade education and whose father never graduated from college, and who was rejected by MIT freshman admissions. Worse, a mediocre performance in freshman physics led to his TA’s written advice to pursue something other than his ambition of theoretical physics. That faculty member is me. Despite the odds and my TA’s assessment, I succeeded; as can current MIT students who may, unknown to their professors, have experienced difficulties similar or even worse than mine.

  • Prof. Anne McCantsThe single best thing about college for MIT Professor of History Anne McCants was "exploring ideas ravenously." It was like being in a candy store for four years," she says.

  • Each spring, thousands of undergraduate and graduate students apply for financial aid at MIT. Student Financial Services (SFS) recently introduced the MIT Online Financial Aid System, which provides enhanced visibility and tracking of application requirements and eliminates paper-based award letters. The new system makes it easier for students to both apply for aid and monitor the status of their application.

    Screen shote of online financial aid system

  • Amy Smith demonstrates a charcoal burn to students. Photo: Nathan Cooke

  • MIT will receive up to $25 million in funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of a new five-year project intended to fight poverty by developing and evaluating useful technologies for communities around the globe.

  • Several months after their biennial visit to MIT this March, the Corporation Visiting Committee (VC) for the Dean for Undergraduate Education submitted their report to MIT’s Executive Committee. The report was ratified by the Corporation and sent to Dean Daniel Hastings who distributed it to his leadership team. It contains interesting perspective and recommendations, and raises some good questions for us to consider.

    The purpose of this article is to share some of the Committee’s observations about Online Learning and the Residential Education, one of the topics on which they focused in March, and to summarize the Dean’s response to those observations.

    To briefly reprise the 2012 proceedings, the VC agenda focused on issues DUE faces in three critical areas: Online Learning and the Residential Community, Promoting Student Success and Advising and Mentoring Students. Dean Hastings specifically asked the Committee to advise on the role DUE should play in those areas and specific actions DUE should take over the next few years. In subsequent newsletters I will describe the VC’s views and Dean’s response on other issues their report addressed.

  • DUET LogoDUET is the new DUE Education Talk series sponsored by the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education (DUE) and organized by the Teaching and Learning Laboratory. This monthly series emphasizes current research on learning, cognitive psychology, educational technology, educational assessment, among other areas. All members of the MIT and edX communities who are interested in learning more about education are welcome to attend. DUET’s goal is to provide access to educational research that can support individual and institutional efforts to enhance both residential and online student learning.

    View the 2012-13 DUET seminar schedule

    DUET’s inaugural talk took place on September 27th. Professor Pawan Sinha of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Science shared his work on an initiative merging scientific inquiry with social relevance to provide sight-restoring surgeries to congenitally blind children in India. His research looks at how the brain begins to learn the complex task of interpreting visual data.  On Nov 1, Todd Rose, from the Harvard Graduate School of Education discussed what modern learning science tells us about the origins of learning variability, and what this means for the way we design flexible, effective, and scalable learning environments in the age of EdX.

    If you are interested in joining the mailing list to receive email reminders about DUET and other education talks of potential interest, send an email with subject line ‘subscribe’ to duet-request@mit.edu. For questions about individual talks, please contact Jennifer French at jfrench@mit.edu.

  • MIT Together logo

    In mid-October, MIT Together was officially launched. This Chancellor-led program came out of a task force Eric Grimson brought together last spring, following the death of three students on campus. In considering the difficulties MIT students face, the student culture, and the available support services, the task force recommended MIT Together as a way to:

    • Increase awareness of MIT's resources for students who feel overwhelmed or isolated.
    • Help students seeking assistance find the right resource as soon as possible.
    • Demystify what generally happens when a student visits MIT Medical, S3, or another service
    • Undermine the stigma associated with asking for help at MIT
    • Normalize failure and celebrating challenges as part of learning, discovery, and progress 
    • Challenge students' self-perception of their abilities through contextual information, data, and statistics