Highlights of the 1997-1998 Academic Year


Web-based Environments for Teaching and Learning

September 16, 1997

Presentations highlighted the range of Web applications in MIT courses, as well as the tools and mechanisms available for supporting these applications. The presentations set the stage for a discussion on strategies for providing meaningful support to promote more extensive and effective use of the Web for teaching and learning.

Next Generation Internet

October 14, 1997

"Next Generation Internet: Architecture, Applications, Initiatives, and Implications" is a particularly significant topic, given the growing interest in delivering high bandwidth educational applications both within MIT and to the extended community. Presentations were given as follows:

Recommendations of the Technology/Teaching Methods subgroup of the Task Force on Student Life and Learning

November 14, 1997

Roz Williams started the discussion by describing how this group looked at the Technology/Pedagogy connection:

The consensus is that the residential campus is a critical element of MIT's future.

Two themes that came out of the Task Force discussions are:

Our goal is to build upon the interaction between research and teaching, to hook up the pieces of the triad better than they are at present.

During the discussion, the following points were made:

A part of the new Office of the Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education was described, the Faculty Support Center. This Center will consist of those members of the Dean's Office who support faculty as teachers and advisors. It will also be making connections with other groups such as Academic Computing, Audiovisual, MIT Libraries, etc., so that all of these resources are visible and available to faculty in a holistic way.

Multi-Platform Networked Computing in Urban Studies and Planning

December 12, 1997

Mike Shiffer, Director of the Urban Studies and Planning Compute Resource Lab, discussed the joys and challenges of teaching "hands-on" courses and supporting research in a multi-platform networked computing environment.

The session began with a demonstration of how the unique attributes of the "Windows, Macintosh, and Athena computing environments have been employed along with the WWW to facilitate learning and collaboration in a city planning context. Concepts such as automobile traffic levels and aircraft noise are conveyed through a combination of multimedia representational aids and geographic information systems (GIS) that take the form of maps, aerial photos, digital video, and sound.

The talk concentrated on how a high-performance networked environment can facilitate the delivery of such spatial information in an environment that stresses problem exploration and communication in collaborative groups, with implications that go far beyond urban and regional planning.

The IMS (Instructional Management System) Project

January 27, 1998

For information on the IMS Project, see the organization's Web site.

New Models of Student Computing

February 27, 1998

Vijay Kumar led this discussion of new models of student computing, and how they might affect the teaching and learning environment. The discussion focused around the questions:

"What" in the preceding questions means both content (e.g., hardware, software applications) and process (e.g., communication, connectivity, ubiquity).

Vijay started by pointing out that the environment is defined by:

and also by ownership:

Opinions about the current environment and possible changes varied, but the consensus was that we need to increase the heterogeneity of the environment, while maintaining its stability, robustness, and support:

How Technology Has Changed the Teaching of Foreign Languages at MIT

March 20, 1998

The meeting consisted of presentations and demonstrations by faculty from Foreign Languages and Literatures: