2011-2012 Funded Projects

Crowd-Driven Code Review - $18,277

Prof. Rob Miller (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science)

Prof. Miller will develop a web-based system for "crowdsourcing" code review of programming assignments, and deploy it in MIT courses that use programming heavily, such as 6.005. The idea is it to draw on a much larger group of people — students and alumni as well as teaching staff — to give students faster, richer, cheaper feedback about their code. Ideally, a programming problem set handed in on Friday should be code-reviewed by Monday, so that students get feedback while the assignment is still fresh in their minds, and well before they start working on the next week's assignment.


Demonstrating and Prototyping Building Performance - $10,000

Prof. John E. Fernandez (Architecture)

The physical phenomena relevant to the performance of a building encompass a broad and diverse range of mechanical, thermal, and optical properties. The complex systems of a building's structure, exterior wall assembly and windows, and various devices manage and control the flows of mechanical forces, heat, light, and radiation. This project will develop five learning modules centered around physical setups intended to demonstrate the performance of building assemblies. Each physical setup will offer real-time demonstration and prototyping of an aspect of building performance and serve as the center of learning.


Development of a Lecture- and Project-Based Community Assistive Technology Subject - $40,000

Prof. Seth Teller (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science), Prof. Nick Roy (Aeronautics and Astronautics)

Prof. Teller and Prof. Roy will design and develop a new subject, primarily for undergraduates, focused on assistive technology (AT). The subject will have a lecture component covering many aspects of AT, and a project component in which small teams of students will identify an individual within the local community with a need for AT, and work with that individual to understand the need and develop a prototype assistive device. Both staff and students will network extensively with local AT entities such as user groups, commercial firms, and government organizations to help understand needs, define projects, and evaluate progress.


Facilitating Interactive Learning in the Neuroscience Classroom - $11,354

Prof. Ki Ann Goosens (Brain and Coginitive Sciences)

The aim of this project is to enhance teaching in course 9 by integrating classroom technologies into courses taught by Prof. Goosens, including 9.15 and 9.31. Personal response devices (clickers) will be used during lectures to facilitate class participation and incorporate problem set questions. Additionally, a tablet PC will be used to deliver lectures, which will enable dynamic, handwritten content that can be saved and posted to Stellar. The use of these technologies will further enhance the curriculum of two highly rated undergraduate courses.


Folk Music of the British Isles and North America - $18,271

Dr. George Ruckert (Music and Theatre Arts), Prof. Ruth Perry (Literature)

The goal of this project is to overhaul a very successful but outgrown subject and its resources. As the class enters its sixth year, the syllabus materials are in great need of revision and emending. The instructors have added reading and listening materials without the benefit of getting them to apply more directly and efficiently to the practical classroom pedagogy. The project will involve selecting new materials, editing out readings and listenings, evaluating new texts, acquiring and editing recording videos, and establishing the class in such a way that its success can be assured beyond the personal participation of Prof. Ruckert and Prof. Perry.


Hands-on Equipment for Hands-on Astronomy - $29,472

Prof. Richard P. Binzel, Dr. Amanda Bosh (Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences)

The aim of this project is to modernize the equipment used in 12.409, Hands on Astronomy. This includes new, portable telescopes to use on the roof of building 37; new, sturdier mounts to use with the current larger telescopes (8 inches); and modern digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs) that will allow students to collect images and data on the night sky without the frustration that the current equipment brings. This new set of equipment will be used for the seminar and also for OBSERVE@MIT, the open observing program that is available for anyone in the MIT community, as well as for school groups at Wallace Astrophysical Observatory. With this new equipment, the team will introduce many students and non-students to the beauty and science of planetary and extra-solar-system astronomy.


International Connections Related to 2.007 - Design and Manufacturing I - $16,000

Prof. Daneil D. Frey (Mechanical Engineering)

Prof. Frey's project is an effort to enhance the connection of the MIT subject "2.007 - Design and Manufacturing I" with an international community of designers, primarily through engagement in a robot design contest. In addition to supporting the normal, ongoing engagement, he seeks to use the design contest to encourage innovative approaches to teaching in 2.007. He will engage a leading social psychologist in creativity to study the design contest and gain insights about approaches to technical, creative work across cultures. These insights will help him to improve the modules on creativity in the MIT subject.


MIXIMIZE: Editing for Readers - $23,415

Dr. Wyn Kelley (Literature), Dr. Kurt Fendt (HyperStudio)

In a partnership between Literature and the HyperStudio at MIT, this project will develop a new pedagogical tool called MIXIMIZE: Editing for Readers. Drs. Kelly and Wendt believe that students can more actively engage in critical reading, writing, and thinking when they see themselves as editors directly involved in making a text readable to a wide variety of users. This tool will provide students a digital workspace in which 1) to select and annotate elements of a text, with particular attention to its multimedia sources and adaptations, and 2) to use their findings for research and writing projects in humanities classrooms.


MOSS: The Mobile Sounds Studio for Teaching and Learning at MIT - $40,000

Prof. Michael Scott Cuthbert (Music and Theater Arts)

The Mobile Sound Studio at MIT will be a resource allowing students in many music subjects, but particularly "21M.380: Music and Technology," to study modern audio recording, transformation, and editing techniques and live-electronic performance both in various locations throughout the Institute and Boston (each with their own opportunities and difficulties) and in their own rooms using computers with which they are comfortable. The new equipment complements a push by Music and Theater Arts to bring in new faculty and offer new subjects in music and technology; a move currently limited by lack of modern equipment for sound recording and design.


New Orleans Living Laboratory - $19,740

Ms. Cherie Miot Abbanat, Prof. Amy Glasmeier, Mr. Karl Seidman (Urban Studies and Planning)

This project will jump undergraduates into the complexity of planning in New Orleans post-disaster. Students will learn about people, planning processes, politics, and policy and how a disaster forces change, rethinking, and reprioritizing. Once grounded in the history of New Orleans and the specifics of Katrina (and Rita), students will then work on projects that are connected to the ongoing work of faculty, graduate students, and alumni/ae. Specifically, students in the Living Laboratory will respond to work requests by neighborhood groups, city, and agency officials seeking to move redevelopment projects forward. This laboratory will be living and changing, and as such student projects will grow and change accordingly.


Physical Education GIR - New Intermediate Archery Course - $6,000

Mr. Todd Linder, Ms. Carrie Sampson Moore (Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation)

The project will develop and implement an intermediate archery course. The grant will fund the required international style target archery equipment to teach competitive shooting. The primary objective of this new course is to enhance students’ skills and knowledge learned in the introductory class by providing instruction on intermediate level re-curve archery bows and the use of supportive attachments to allow for greater shooting accuracy.


Third World Housing Challenge: Engagement With Communities - $20,000

Dr. Reinhard Goethert (Architecture)

Mini-courses are seen as a way to broaden exploration and participation of students outside of the over-burdened, over-pressured semesters, and increase engagement and depth of focus. Three mini-courses are planned targeting architects and planners. They link: 1) further development and testing of innovative 'tools and strategies' for designers; 2) direct community involvement through field workshops; and 3) reflection on practice in a learn-do-reflect/brainstorm cycle. Instead of seeking funding for a single course, a series following a single theme is proposed, addressing a broader range of related issues.


Training MIT Students To Become Global Citizens - $12,978

Prof. Shigeru Miyagawa (Foreign Languages and Literature)

This project will create a Very Fast Track (VFT) in Chinese and Japanese that will compress into as little as six months what now takes two years of language training. Prof. Miyagawa will do so by tapping the best of MIT's engineering, neuroscience, and educational technology expertise. The VFT will allow students to fulfill MISTI's language requirement, making it possible for them to go abroad as interns as early as after their freshman year instead of having to wait until their sophomore or junior year. Many of the VFT students will go on to study more language and attain fluency unimaginable in the present program. The applications developed with CSAIL and others will also be applicable to several languages.


Visual Documentation and Communication of Educational Experiences of Mech. Eng. Students - $9,600

Prof. Maria C. Yang, Mr. Justin Lai, Mr. Geoff Tsai (Mechnical Engineering)

The goal of this project is to teach students the skills and habits that aid in the reflection and learning from their educational experiences by the creation of a successful portfolio. The conventional, text-based resume is not sufficient to completely convey the detail of work produced by students, particularly in classes in mechanical engineering, where students' work include design projects. In many product design firms, a portfolio is required in addition to a resume. The project team defines a portfolio as something (printed, electronic) that displays work visually, whether it be a website, printed material, or electronic file. The creation of the portfolio will give students an opportunity to reflect upon and learn from their experiences, whether it is from the classroom or the workplace.


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