I’m delighted to share the efforts of my colleagues to keep Open Learning at the forefront of educational innovation this past year. They work tirelessly to harness tools like artificial intelligence, multimedia, and augmented and virtual reality to provide opportunities for profound learning and innovative teaching. The energy and enthusiasm from our collaborating MIT faculty, instructors, and staff are phenomenal as they improve learning effectiveness, enhance teacher training, and refine learner assessments to sustain and propel our efforts forward.
The past academic year has been a proving ground for putting MIT research, experiments, and learning design into actionable practice and curricula to ultimately meet challenges in the world. We want all of our students and learners to succeed, and by employing multiple approaches, we’re able to see and apply what works and to pivot to reach that goal as needed.
And as technology continues to evolve, we’re right there adapting, learning, and actively taking part in shaping its uses for educational advancement. This endeavor can only be successful through your use, your feedback, and your support. A heartfelt thank you goes to everyone who is part of our community and journey to keep opening learning to the world.
Yours in learning,
Interim Vice President for Open Learning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Chancellor for Academic Advancement
Bernard Gordon Professor of Medical Engineering
Professor of Computer Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Harnessing AI for Educational Advancement
Digital tools have long been part of MIT’s on-campus teaching. From automated grading and online assessments to learner controlled animations, simulations, and group annotations, these technologies have helped improve teaching and learning experiences both online and in person. And as new technologies evolve, Open Learning is in step with the latest pedagogical developments to support integrating them into curricula so that even the youngest of learners can take advantage of these tools.
Empowering Cambridge youth through data activism
Mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program and RAISE developed the six-week Data Activism curriculum to equip students with critical-thinking skills so they feel prepared to utilize data science to challenge social injustice and empower their community.
"Generative AI will change how we teach what a problem is and what problem-solving is. It'll change what we think a question is. The very definition of what is a question and what is an answer are on the table and I think are worth scrutinizing. And that also requires thinking about what kinds of evidence we trust, what answers we trust, and what it takes to convince us."
"It’s been a year of extraordinary advancements in AI, and with that comes necessary conversations and concerns about who and what this technology is for. With our Day of AI events, we want to celebrate the teachers and students who are putting in the work to make sure that AI is for everyone."
Immersive training program at MIT encourages educators to go “full STEAM ahead” with innovative learning projects
Enrichment opportunity offers space to thoughtfully explore new teaching methodologies.
Educators and teachers can deliver excellent learning experiences when they have opportunities to experiment, gain feedback on their teaching, and are given tools to enhance their classes. These instructors change the lives and future careers of their students forever. Open Learning supports and advocates for teachers and their training, creativity, and innovation.
“Teachers need to be comfortable with testing their ideas, but they need a safe space to do it and a community of support. Full STEAM Ahead Educators Immersion Program (FSAEIP) provided that. In our work, we are committed to addressing two types of divides: access to digital technologies and access to powerful learning and support. By providing access to materials kits, curriculum, and support through tutoring and mentorship, our programs aim to close those divides.”
—Claudia Urrea, senior associate director, Full STEAM Ahead and strategic & research initiatives
Opening worlds of knowledge
We believe that education is a powerful tool in opening up worlds of knowledge, achievement, and possibilities. From students who are inspired by our free and open resources to effect positive change in their communities to faculty who are concerned with the mental wellness and learning effectiveness of their students, we know learning provides life altering opportunities. These are some of the stories that reflect the power of learning.
Introducing interventions that help online learners
Digital Learning Postdoctoral Associate's research focused on ways to improve learners’ metacognitive skills and performance.
From open access to educational equity: An HBCU+MERLOT+MIT OCW collaboration
MIT OpenCourseWare begins a collaboration with a network of US-based Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) who are adopting and adapting Open Educational Resources to improve the educational opportunities of their students.
Pathways for Learner Achievement
Our learners are our inspiration. Their commitment, perseverance, and drive to gain knowledge—often in the face of challenging circumstances—compel our efforts in ensuring they have the open access and educational materials they need for their success. These are some stories of achievement and incredible triumph and ways Open Learning helps to ensure their accomplishments are recognized.
Research, education, and connection in the face of war
“I wouldn’t let the aggressor in the war squash my dreams,” says Ukrainian mathematician and MITx MicroMasters learner Tetiana Herasymova.
"MITx's commitment to excellence and innovation is evident in the design and delivery of their courses. The materials are engaging, the instructors are knowledgeable, and the interactive components make the learning experience immersive and enjoyable. The flexibility of self-paced learning is particularly advantageous for individuals like me, who are juggling multiple responsibilities. It allows us to learn at our own pace, fitting education into our busy lives."
—Darshani, Working professional, South Africa
Educational Innovation in Practice
Experimentation is part of Open Learning’s DNA. And when it comes to educational innovation, we thrive on delving into the hard problems, evaluating our hypotheses, and coming up with real-world solutions. Our hands-on and minds-on approach puts theories into action and sets a foundation for expanding our work and collaborations — and keeps us on the cutting edge of pedagogy.
Simulating discrimination in virtual reality
The role-playing game “On the Plane” simulates xenophobia to foster greater understanding and reflection via virtual experiences.
Design of video game characters has physical-world repercussions
A recent study from MIT researchers demonstrates that the exaggerated design of characters in fighting video games reinforces cultural stereotypes about gender, race, and ethnicity.
"I suggest that four primary mechanisms to combat the negative impacts of technologies of virtuality are:
1. Digital Forensics: image and audio processing software that analyzes content to detect computational manipulation.
2. Verification: use of encrypted digital “signatures” to authenticate legitimate content.
3. Policy: use of industry guidelines and government legislation to regulate deepfake production and prohibit using them to mislead the public.
4. Public Literacy: raising public awareness of the primary aims, uses, and methods of deepfakes; providing the public with means to discern misinformation in media."
—D. Fox Harrell, director, MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality