Learning Outside the Classroom

MIT’s holistic approach to education provides many opportunities for students to integrate classroom learning into experiences outside the classroom. Through an extensive range of hands-on, experiential learning opportunities, such as internships, UROPs, global experiences, public service, and project and field experiences, students learn by doing. These experiences strengthen the development of key transferable skills, including communicating effectively, understanding ethical issues, appreciating diversity, being able to work globally, and leadership.

These skills are fundamental to the development of confident, articulate MIT graduates who are prepared to serve as the next generation of creative thinkers and leaders.

Leadership development is central to MIT’s holistic approach. Experiential learning opportunities and formal leadership programs cultivate the relational and collaborative abilities necessary for effective leadership. At the same time, this approach values and encourages frequent and sustained interactions between students and faculty outside the classroom. Faculty-student engagement can significantly shape a student’s educational experience at MIT and beyond.


OUE's Role in Fostering Learning Outside the Classroom

Through the programs and services of several OUE offices, including the Office of Experiential Learning, the Global Education Office (GEO) and the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming (UAAP), OUE encourages learning outside the classroom. In addition, UAAP collaborates with the Office of the Dean for Student Life (DSL) to foster leadership development and promote stronger engagement between faculty and students. OUE is actively engaged in:

Facilitating hands-on learning

  • supporting and evolving key experiential learning programs such as the Edgerton Center, UROP, FASIP, D-Lab, and IAP;
  • collaborating with existing global programs and the faculty to expand global opportunities; and
  • providing seed funds for student-initiated programs and projects that have an impact on the MIT undergraduate community.

Encouraging faculty-student engagement

  • sponsoring semi-annual New Faculty Dinners to raise awareness about the importance of faculty-student engagement; and
  • sponsoring Women’s Leadership Colloquia, in which women faculty share their experiences with female students.

Collaborating with DSL to support and expand leadership programs and opportunities

  • leading IAP leadership skills class, which includes ethics and public speaking;
  • incorporating Reflection Model into existing programming such as study abroad, athletics, associate advisor training, and orientation leadership training; and
  • supporting key programs that build leadership and confidence such as PKG Public Service Center local and global service learning opportunties, the Hobby Shop, and the DSL Community Catalyst Leadership Program.