Student Learning News - All Years

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  • 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.
  • Institute faculty voted yesterday to approve a flexible degree to be offered by the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics to undergraduates who are interested in a more multi- and interdisciplinary engineering curriculum.

  • In May of 2009, the MIT faculty approved recommendations to change the structure of the distribution requirement within the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) Requirement. As part of the undergraduate curriculum, the HASS Requirement is designed to prepare MIT students for leadership contributions, lifelong learning in every field, and global citizenship.

  • 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.

  • In October, the Teaching and Learning Laboratory (TLL) began offering a teaching certificate program for graduate students who wish to develop better skills to support their teaching at MIT. The program is designed to serve students with a variety of interests and career goals. Participants will complete seven seminars on topics including: writing teaching philosophy statements, designing courses and constructing syllabi, writing problem sets and exam questions, teaching interactively, and teaching in multicultural classrooms.

  • In April 2008, the Faculty approved a major change to the undergraduate program as recommended by the 2006 Task Force on the Undergraduate Educational Commons: allowing undergraduate students who wish to earn a Bachelor of Science (SB) degree with two majors to do so by completing all of the requirements for the SB degree as well as those of a second departmental program. The Faculty also voted to phase out the second SB program (commonly known as “double degrees”), under which students must complete 90 additional units beyond the requirements of the first degree. Thanks to the efforts and support of two DUE offices, the Office of Faculty Support and the Registrar’s Office, this proposal worked its way through the faculty governance system for approval on the faculty floor.

  • On May 21, The Report on the Assessment of the Implementation of the Undergraduate Communication Requirement was posted to the Communication Requirement website (available to the MIT community at background.html#assessment).

  • 3.021 Introduction to Modeling and Simulation, has its challenges. There is not enough time during the course, for example, to train students in the use of LINUX, SGE, and the simulation tool PWscf, a tool that the students would need to know in order to do actual simulations in class. OEIT has provided the 3.021 instructor, Dr. Timo Thonhauser, with a tool that allows students to do simulations and thus overcome these barriers.

    Here’s what Dr. Thonhauser said in a recent email: Chuck Shubert and Justin Riley in OEIT “provided me with a tool that allows students to do simulations through a simple web-browser---from their office, in class, or from home. Now the students can focus on exactly what they should be focusing on: modeling and simulation, without having to worry about the underlying complexity of the computer aspects.”

  • The Task Force theme is inseparable from DUE’s central mission of improving the undergraduate educational experience at MIT. Diana Henderson, Dean for Curriculum and Faculty Support, leads this theme.

    To summarize the context: “In response to globalization, advances in science and technology as well as the changes in the preparation and learning style of incoming students, the Task Force on the Undergraduate Educations Commons called for the transformation of the MIT curriculum into a curriculum for the 21st century, in its report released in October 2006. It was recommended that this transformation include increased flexibility in the core requirements, definition of a new core SME requirement and HASS first year experience, as well as promotion of collaborative learning and improving advising, assessment and other key aspects of undergraduate education.”