2005-2006 Funded Projects

A Curriculum to Build Living Machines in an Undergraduate Teaching Lab - $18,000

Doctor Natalie Kuldell, Instructor, Biological Engineering Division

For the first time in nearly 30 years, MIT undergraduates will have a new major to consider: Biological Engineering, a biology-based engineering degree.  One component of this degree program is formal training in experimental fundamentals, with BE.109 Laboratory Fundamentals in Biological Engineering currently serving as the introduction to experimental techniques and approaches.  Doctor Kuldell will develop a teaching module for BE.109 in which students will rationally design a simple living machine, assemble its parts, test the behavior of their construction and compare their observations to predicted outcomes.

A Revamping of MIT's Elementary Spanish Courses - $10,509

Jose Ramos and Solivia Marquez, Lecturers, Foreign Languages and Literature

Lecturers Ramos and Marquez propose to change the syllabi for Spanish I and II completely, incorporating new textbooks, revised methodologies, and original video materials.  They will develop a language learning approach that will be unique to the MIT experience, in part by identifying textbooks that best reflect classroom needs based upon the talents and backgrounds of our student population.  In addition, they will film an original set of videos during a trip to Spain with a group of students.  As a result, students will begin their study of Spanish in an environment custom-tailored to MIT.

Creating a Multimedia Archive:  A Web-Based Laboratory for 21H.102 Introduction to American History, 1865 to the Present - $25,000

Professor Meg Jacobs, History

Professor Jacobs will create a state-of-the-art digital repository of primary historical sources for use in 21H.102.  The Multimedia Archive (MMA) will integrate a wide variety of media –- photographs, advertisements, propaganda posters, film and television clips, visual art, radio broadcasts, recorded speeches, music, and more – that reflect the diversity of American experiences from the end of the Civil War to the present.  As a rich, interactive repository, the MMA will function as the student’s laboratory, enabling them to conduct their own research, make their own discoveries, and formulate their own conclusions about the historical past.

Design Education Through Conceptual Models - $17,660

Professor Herbert Einstein, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Conceptual models, as used in the Course 1-C capstone subject, 1.103, expose students to design unusual and/or controversial problems.  The models are built by the students and used to explain the physical solutions, which are also backed up by numbers reflecting the real boundary conditions.  Professor Einstein will improve the present education with conceptual models and do so for the entire Course 1 and other students at MIT.  This involves providing a better laboratory infrastructure and developing a set of four to five new problems for the coming years.

Development of a Radiation Biology Laboratory Unit for 22.09 Principles of Nuclear Radiation Measurement and Protection - $12,000

Professor Jeffrey Coderre, Nuclear Science and Engineering

Professor Coderre will create a set of Radiation Biology experiments, with supporting lecture material, that can be incorporated into the existing laboratory subject 22.09 Principles of Nuclear Radiation Measurement and Protection.  The experiments will involve irradiation of purified samples of DNA with graded doses of X rays or alpha particles followed by separation and quantification of the various fragments.  The very different types of damage caused by X rays versus alpha particles will provide biologically relevant insights into radiation measurement, radiation chemistry, radiation biology, and radiation protection.

"Hands-On" Laboratory and MATLAB Modules for Ocean Science and Engineering - $15,000

Professors Alexandra Techet and Henrik Schmidt, Mechanical Engineering

Professors Techet and Schmidt will develop hands-on laboratory and MATLAB modules for 2.011 Introduction to Ocean Science and Technology.   The objective of this subject is to introduce the fundamental concepts and tools necessary to explore, observe, and utilize the oceans effectively, thus sparking an interest in ocean engineering among first and second year undergraduates.  This project aims to enhance the existing curriculum for 2.011 by fully integrating both laboratory modules and MATLAB tools, to teach fundamental skills for data analysis, modeling and engineering in the ocean.

In-Class Nanotechnology Demonstrations:  A Virtual Fabrication Laboratory - $19,727

Professor Karl Berggren, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

6.781 Submicrometer and Nanometer Technology has no laboratory component, despite its heavy fabrication focus, but instead uses a series of in-class demonstrations to vie students a sense of the experimental component of the work.  The current versions of these demonstrations illustrate only simple techniques.  Professor Berggren will develop a series of enhanced demonstrations for the class that would be seamlessly integrated into the curriculum.   The new demonstrations will show the execution of sophisticated multi-step nanofabrication methods and will thus be a major advance over the existing demonstrations.

Incorporating Quantitative Sustainability Assessment Into Materials Selection and Product Design Education - $15,335

Professor Randolph Kirchain, Materials Science and Engineering and Engineering Systems Division
Doctor Frank Field III, Center for Technology, Policy, and Industrial Development
Doctor Jeremy Gregory, Laboratory for Energy and the Environment

This project is part of an effort to include environmental evaluation methods into engineering design education within both the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Engineering Systems Division.  The project incorporates materials flow analyses (MFA) and life-cycle assessment (LCA) methods into multidisciplinary undergraduate and graduate education.  Professor Kirchain and his colleagues will use these funds for software tools for student use and coursework and case study development.

Interdisciplinary Bioethics Course - $7,970

Professors Sally Haslanger and Caspar Hare, Linguistics and Philosophy
Professor David Jones, Science, Technology, and Society

As future leaders, MIT students need to address the ethical assumptions and implications of cutting edge science and engineering. Towards this end, Professors Haslanger, Hare, and Jones are collaborating in launching a new undergraduate subject in Bioethics. Research in biology and biotechnology pushes the boundaries of human life and profoundly affects the quality of life for humans and other living things. Drawing on philosophy, history, and anthropology, this subject will show students how problems in bioethics can be approached from a variety of perspectives, with the aim of understanding how we have gotten where we are, and how we should decide where to go next.

Musical Theater (Technology) Workshop - Transforming 21M.704- $13,400

Professor Thomas DeFrantz, Music and Theater Arts

Professor DeFrantz will create an innovative delivery system for sheet music through the use of tablet PCs, mp3 recordings and scanning technologies to create a PC Tablet database for the subject.  The database will include sheet music, audio recordings, and video clips of sequences studied in class.  The project thus will prototype a “digital textbook” in a performance-oriented subject, as the tablets will contain not only the materials being used by current semester students, but also a database of materials related to musical theater that my be used by future students.

Pilot Project for URIECA: An Experimental Chemistry Curriculum for the 21st Century - $17,000

Professor Keith Nelson, Chemistry

Professor Nelson proposes an entirely new approach to the teaching of undergraduate laboratory practice.  Students will enroll in individual lab modules that are well matched to past and current lecture coursework and individual interests.  Each new lab module will have explicit connection to at least one research group in the Chemistry Department, thereby providing a segue from the learning of lab techniques and underlying theory to the application of related techniques and potential student participation in forefront research.   This pilot project will develop a module focused on practice and understanding of spectroscopy at an introductory level, on the basis of which major outside support will be sought for the remaining modules that will constitute the new curriculum.

The Teaching/Learning Discussion Center - $8,500

Professor Paul Lagace, Aeronautics and Astronautics

Professor Lagace will establish a virtual on-line location for academic teachers from around the world to share their views on teaching and learning.  This center will be tied with the “Tomorrow’s Professor Mailing List”, a twice-per-week email received by over 23,000 subscribers at over 600 academic institutions in 106 countries.  Working with the developer of this initiative, the Center for Teaching and Learning at Stanford University, this project will promote the growth of MIT and other academics in teaching and learning techniques through the sharing of their thoughts, practices, and learnings.

Videocases of Student Funded Companies - $11,000

Professors John Carroll and Thomas Kochan, Sloan School of Management

Professors Carroll and Kochan will create videotaped cases based around the experiences of entrepreneurial companies formed by MIT students as an outcome of the 50K Competition and other similar opportunities on campus. Objectives for these cases include engaging students in thinking about how they will need to develop their own skills to be successful in such start-up environments and other leadership opportunities, sparking the realization that technical excellence must be combined with interpersonal and organizational capabilities, and developing a varied corpus of examples illustrating a wide range of principles of managerial psychology and organizational behavior.

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