Highlights of the 2003-2004 Academic Year

Tuesday, May 11, 2004, 1:30pm — 3:00pm, Grier Room (34-401A)

Integrating case-based tutorials into the MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science core curriculum


For the past two years, the four of us, together with Alex d'Arbeloff, have been developing a new pedagogical model for subjects taught in the EECS core curriculum. We incorporated case-based tutorials taught by practicing electrical engineers — most of whom are MIT alumni — into an experimental version of "Circuits and Electronics" (6.002) in the spring semesters 2003 and 2004.

This work, sponsored by the d'Arbeloff Fund for Excellence in MIT Education, is a pilot designed to inform a major revision of the EECS core that will commence this summer under continuing d'Arbeloff support and support from the Cambridge-MIT Institute.

In this talk, we'll review the goals of our experiment, report on our experiences, share our evaluation findings, and solicit your advice on how we should next proceed.

Our approach has several noteworthy aspects:


2003 - 2004 Academic Year

Previous Crosstalk Events

Monday, May 3, 2004, Noon to 1pm, W20 — West Lounge

The Visual Understanding Environment: Moving from Data to Meaning

David Kahle

Tufts University
Director, Academic Computing
Principle Investigator, Virtual Understanding Environment (VUE) project


David Kahle, as Principle Investigator of the Virtual Understanding Environment project, will discuss some of the challenges of teaching and learning with digital resources that stem from a lack of tools for making digital information visible and meaningful. He will present recent work on the Visual Understanding Environment (VUE), an application designed to provide a concept mapping interface to digital materials. Using VUE, faculty and students may visually structure, organize and annotate digital content to better understand and communicate how ideas and digital content are related. For further information see: http://vue.tccs.tufts.edu/.


David Kahle is the Director of Academic Computing at Tufts University and oversees Tufts' central academic technology initiatives, which include technology education for faculty, curricular technology design and development, and research computing administration. David’s research and development focus is the design of information systems and Internet-based technologies for learning and teaching. His experience includes the planning and development of networked learning environments in support of higher education, informal adult learning, and public outreach initiatives. David serves on the faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, teaching courses on the design and development of online environments for learning.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004, 1 - 2:30pm, 4-237

Lessons Learned: Findings from the Assessments of New Initiatives in Educational Technology at MIT (2000-2003).

Lori Breslow, Director of the MIT Teaching and Learning Laboratory
Abstract: In 1999, MIT received a generous grant from the Microsoft Corporation that allowed it to embark on a wide scale series of innovations in educational technology. iCampus, the name given the MIT-Microsoft alliance, has seen the development of more than 23 projects that are aimed at improving teaching and learning in undergraduate education.

The Teaching and Learning Laboratory was asked to manage the assessment of these initiatives. In this work, we have collaborated with MIT faculty and staff, graduate and undergraduate students, education graduate students from other universities in the Boston area, and assessment and evaluation consultants. Three years later, as we have reviewed our findings from these individual projects, we have identified a number of common threads among them. These commonalities have allowed us to draw several overarching conclusions about the use and effects of educational technology: what works, what doesn’t, and how educational technologies influence the learning environments in which they are embedded.

Biography: Lori Breslow, Ph.D. has been the Director of MIT’s Teaching and Learning Laboratory (TLL) since its inception in 1997. TLL works with faculty, administrators, staff, and students to strengthen the quality of education at the Institute. Dr. Breslow oversees the administration of TLL and has developed a number of its programs and services. She has also supervised many of the projects undertaken in assessment. For five years she wrote the column, “Teach Talk,” for The MIT Faculty Newsletter, and she teaches a Ph.D.-level course, “Teaching College-Level Science.” Dr. Breslow is also a Senior Lecturer in the Sloan School of Management where she teaches courses in managerial, professional, and intercultural communication. In addition to studying the impact of educational technology, Dr. Breslow’s research interests are in interdisciplinary education and peer learning.

Thursday, March 11, 2004, 12:30 Bush Room (10-105)

Moving Beyond Build vs. Buy - An "Open" Strategy to Sustain a Diverse Ecology of Educational Tools

Joseph Hardin,University of Michigan Jeff Merriman, MIT Brad Wheeler, Indiana University

Overall Abstract:

Software tools to augment teaching can facilitate the drudgery of course management, help students better grasp difficult concepts, or simply provide valuable experience with the disciplinary tools of the trade.  Providing a common environment that can support these different tools, however, has been difficult. Faculty, RAs and TAs build interesting applications to support the courses they teach, but over time they become hard to maintain. Often the original developers have graduated and gone on.  Try to get exciting software written at the University of Michigan to run in the course environment of Indiana University, and it's a non-starter. Tools developed at MIT can't be easily moved to Stanford; and, of course, those built at any of these schools aren't able to be easily run at MIT. 

With the commitment to build an open course management system implementation leveraging the work of OKI, the Sakai Project is defining a new way for software tools to efficiently exploit a common ecosystem.  Leaders of Sakai from Indiana University and the University of Michigan will join colleagues at MIT to describe this collaborative effort.

How Open Source Software will Serve Faculty Innovation and Sustainable Economics in Higher Education

Brad Wheeler, Indiana University


After a period of relative stability in the design and use of Course/Learning Management Systems, educational technology is poised for a burst of discipline-specific innovation in effective learning practice.  Innovation happens at the edges with faculty and students, but sustainability, security, and IT costs have inherent economies of scale in centralization.  Collaborative software developments – like the Sakai Project and the Open Source Portfolio Initiative – provide a new path for balancing innovation and sustainable economics.  This discussion will focus on the faculty-driven innovation opportunities that open source provides, and it will look ahead to 2005-2007 towards actions that can best advance institutional change in this next era for educational technology.


Dr. Brad Wheeler is the British American Tobacco Faculty Fellow of Technology and Learning and an Associate Professor of Information Systems at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. He has Indiana University responsibility as the Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning Technologies. His current research interests include the application and development of technology-supported learning tools and the use of digital networks for e-Business. He regularly teaches MBA and executive programs on six continents. His inter-institutional courses have been conducted between Indiana University, the University of Maryland, the University of Texas at Austin, the Helsinki School of Economics, and other programs. He is the recipient of the Allan Krowe Teaching Award for innovation in education and the MBA Student's Choice Award. His past research has been funded by AT&T, the AT&T Foundation, and IU's High Performance Networks Research Program and has appeared in leading academic journals including Information Systems Research, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, MIS Quarterly, Small Group Research, the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, and Database. He has advised five universities in the design of their technology-supported learning initiatives. He served as the keynote speaker for international speaking tour on the topic of technology-supported learning symposia in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and Australia. Brad is passionate about the global development of advanced learning technologies and the inter-institutional opportunities they are creating. A complete academic vita is available at http://wheeler.kelley.indiana.edu.

Monday, October 27th, 2003

Toru Iiyoshi

Director, Knowledge Media Laboratory
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Open Pedagogical Knowledge:How Technology Enables Faculty and Educational Institutions to Build Collective Knowledge of Teaching and Learning

Date: Monday, October 27th, 2003
Time: 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Location: Room 4-237
Beverages and dessert will be served.

Abstract: The Knowledge Media Lab (KML) at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is working to take advantage of emerging technologies and new media to transform the knowledge implicit in effective teaching practice into ideas, theories, and resources that can be shared widely to advance teaching and student learning at multiple levels. These efforts are focused in three ways. First, the KML devises new means of helping faculty document and share their teaching practice and knowledge online by exploring new genres and models for multimedia-enhanced teaching portfolios. Second, the KML develops tools and resources that enable faculty and institutions to engage in this work more easily and effectively. Examples include web-based knowledge representation and management tools and collaborative online workspaces. Third, the KML fosters the exchange and use of newly generated knowledge. For instance, innovative ways of creating and using electronic portfolios in a variety of settings for faculty development and knowledge community building are being explored with some of the KML partner scholars, programs and institutions.

This presentation will focus on some of the critical issues around our work as well as the implications for the ongoing major educational open-source/open-content initiatives, such as the Open CourseWare Project and the Open Knowledge Initiative.

Dr. Toru Iiyoshi is Senior Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation and Director of its Knowledge Media Laboratory. Iiyoshi, a learning scientist and educational technologist who received his education both in Japan and the United States, has been awarded the Outstanding Practice Award in Instructional Development and the Robert M. Gagne Award for Research in Instructional Design from the Association for Educational Communications and Technology. His research focuses on design and evaluation of cognitive tools and interactive learning environments both for individual and collective knowledge acquisition and building.

220 Kbps connection 220 Kbps connection
80 Kbps connection 80 Kbps connection
56 Kbps connection 56 Kbps connection
Crosstalk Home
Academic Computing Home