2015-2016 Alumni Class Funds Recipients

Aligning Our Teaching with the Needs of Our Alumni - $36,587

Warren Seering, Mechanical Engineering

The objective of this project is to improve our understanding of the professional needs of our graduates so that we can evaluate MIT's curricula against those needs. The focus will be on alumni from Courses 2 and 6, but we will gather data from alumni across a spectrum of departments. Each summer, many of our students accept internships through the UPOP Program. They write reports about the experience. The UPOP Office has agreed to let this project structure the report writing so that we can gather data about the knowledge and skill needs of technical professionals.


Crosslinks: Linking Outcomes, Topics and Resources Across the MIT Curriculum - $11,000

Karen Willcox, Aeronautics and Astronautics
Haynes Miller, Mathematics

The project will research and development further efforts to make explicit links among subjects across the MIT curriculum, building on past work that created the Crosslinks system. To further this mapping, the project will incorporate links to learning objectives and modular assessment resources. Specific objectives are to 1) expand and broaden the coverage of our topic linking across the MIT curriculum, 2) design a new element of our mapping approach that incorporates links between topics and learning objectives, and that introduces  a  new  “Assess”  category  of  resources, 3) implement and assess the effectiveness of the enhanced mapping in a pilot program during Fall 2015, and 4) create specific feedback and recommendations for faculty members who are developing modular online resources.


Developing Video Materials for International Teacher Assistant Training - $8,571

A. C. Kemp, Global Studies and Languages

The goal of this project is to improve undergraduate education by further developing a series of innovative video8based online materials for International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) at MIT. Created specifically for teaching assistants for whom English is a second language and the USA a second culture, these videos will focus on developing ITAs’ strategies for successful, student centered communication in the interactive American classroom. These videos will demonstrate best practices through authentic examples of successful teaching scenarios, interviews with undergraduates and advice from experienced ITAs. The online materials will be incorporated in 21F.217, Workshop in Strategies for Effective Teaching (ELS), and 21F.232, Advanced Speaking and Critical Listening (ELS).


Enhancing Undergraduate Engineering Education through Graphical Visualization, Audio-visual Feedback and Virtual Experimentation - $36,000

Mathias Kolle, Sara Nagelberg, Sean Cormier, Barbara Hughey, and Ian Hunter, Mechanical Engineering

Tailored graphical visualizations and animations play an important role in communicating scientific concepts efficiently to students. They spice up what can otherwise be a dry delivery of important theoretical concepts and therefore make education more memorable and create more profound skill sets in our students. The enhancement of course material in 2.671, a core undergraduate class on Measurements and Instrumentation, with graphical and interactive content through the use of the free open-source 3D animation suite Blender, integrated with Phyton’s SciPy scientific computing environment, will enrich our students’ learning experience and provide a precedence and toolkit for implementing new interactive, virtual environments in scientific teaching scenarios.


Funding Traditional Singers and Musicians - $2,000

Ruth Perry, Literature

Project will support a live concert series of traditional folk music in conjunction with 21L023/21M225, “Folk Music of North America and the British Isles.” Students learn about the history of the preservation and transmission of folk music, from the 18th century to the present, about the oral transmission of texts of remarkable beauty and power and about the modal pentatonic melodies which often carry them. Concerts are free and open to the public.


Incorporating state-of-the-art hands-on high-speed videography and image analysis lab activities - $30,769

Lydia Bourouiba, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Nonlinearity and dynamics are ubiquitous in the world around us and are of great interest to both engineers and scientists. For example, as a nonlinear and multi-scale phenomenon, fluid turbulence has been explored by numerous fluid dynamicists over decades, while still remaining fundamentally unsolved via the traditional analytical methodology of mathematics or physics. Numerous natural and engineered systems also share similar nonlinear and multi-scale dynamic properties; however, such properties can be difficult to learn. The project will incorporate state-of-the-art hands-on videography and image analysis lab activities to enhance teaching and learning of nonlinear dynamics, instabilities, and complex hydrodynamic concepts of undergraduate students in Engineering at MIT.


Live Cinema - $35,000

Jay Scheib, Theater Arts

The integration of media technologies in live performance has dominated innovation in contemporary performance practices—in theater, opera, visual arts and dance. In the telling of stories and in the creation of images that move, experiments with light, with sound, with projection and in particular, the introduction of live cameras have radically altered how we experience live performance. In this project, students examine the historical precedents for the many technological intersections and experiment, in the studio, by developing their own multidisciplinary, technologically augmented stagings of classical plays, operas, and other original live performance events.


Medical Maker Space for Experiential Learning in Healthcare Technology - $49,672

Lee Gehrke, Jose Gomez-Marquez, Anna Young, Grace Teo, and Julie Greenberg, Institute for Medical Engineering and Science

The broad goal of this project is to channel MIT student creativity and intellectual power toward solving pain points in medicine and health care through experiential learning. The two components of the project are 1) a physical “maker space” containing the tools for creating, and 2) construction sets/maker lab courses and interdisciplinary faculty- mentored building experiences to enable MIT students to transform theory into prototypes and products with potential to alleviate human suffering. Alumni funds are requested to share the costs of equipping a novel Medical Maker Space, providing the physical tools for creating health technologies. This support will be leveraged with funds from IMES and other units to continue new and existing offerings that will use the Maker Space year-round.


Pre-7.01: Getting up to Speed in Biology - $30,377

Diviya Sinha and Hazel Sive, Biology

The MIT Biology GIR (7.01) is challenging as it focuses on problem solving. Each semester, about 10% of the class struggles with the material, due to limited educational preparation. Pre-7.01 is a new short course that provides background necessary for entry into 7.01, including cell biology, biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology. The MITx online platform will be used to prepare recitation and homework problems. Pre-7.01 will reduce the number of 5th week freshmen flags and seniors who fail the course. In the near future Pre-7.01x will be built and offered by edX. Pre-7.01x will serve MIT students who are off campus, as well as global and life long learners with an interest in Biology.


’The Making of Cities’ and Encouraging Spatial Literacy through GIS - $6,000

Rafi Segal and Lauren Jacobi, Architecture

"The Making of Cities" and Encouraging Spatial Literacy through GIS has a two-­‐fold aim: 1) to transform an existing course, 4.241/11.330, so that it powerfully serves a diverse range of MIT undergraduates, and 2) as part of revamping the class, we want to develop a module aimed exclusively at undergrads that will teach them GIS software and how to analyze historical data concerning city form. The GIS module will benefit the class long-­‐term as it will build up a series of maps to be used for teaching. Learning GIS would benefit MIT undergraduates immensely as it is increasingly important to have technical and analytic skills that pertain to spatial literacy. GIS is a terrific tool for honing visual reading; a technology perfect for application to "The Making of Cities."


Underwater Conservation Photography - $31,995

Allan Adams, Physics

Project will teach a 2-part masterclass on underwater conservation photography during IAP '16, an experiment in hands-on learning at the intersection of technology, science and art. Ellenbogen is expected to be a Visiting Artist at MIT during Fall/IAP ‘15/‘16. Part 1 of the course, at MIT, will be a 2.5 week crash course on underwater photography, from the basics of nature photography to the construction of camera systems and a simple ROV. Part 2, seven days at a private research station in Belize, will put the students’ learning and constructions to real-world use documenting the fragile Glover’s Reef ecosystem.


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