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Why MIT?

Why MIT?

The more I think about MIT, the more it presents itself not as a collection of buildings, of professors, of students, of courses, of papers and catalogues, but as a living vital entity—a being with a character, a personality, a philosophy, a mode of action, a heritage of ideas and methods that have made a deep impression on all who come to know it. And like other living beings, MIT has a history—the story of where and how it was founded, its struggle for survival, its growth and innovations, its evolving position in the nation and the world.
Julius Stratton, MIT's 11th President
CDIO learning spaceProf. John Belcher in TEAL

Mens and Manus. A commitment to hands-on learning forms the core of MIT's motto and mission. Indeed, William Barton Rogers's founding vision was to provide technical training that students could apply to practical goals, producing better results with greater efficiency. This vision has continued to guide MIT throughout its history. Now, the digital age is enabling us to realize that commitment not only for MIT students, but through MIT, to students literally worldwide.

As so often happens at MIT, the initial impetus for change comes from a faculty committee. For example, a group of faculty was tasked with determining MIT's optimum response to and use of the Internet in the late 1990s. Their recommendation—to use it to freely share all MIT's course materials— is entirely in keeping with the university's philosophy of open sharing. The success of the resultant initiative—and the literally dozens of related initiatives—stems from a combination of faculty commitment and administrative support. It is a dual-pronged approach that is unique to MIT—and uniquely effective.

Today, by rethinking and reinventing educational technology, MIT has fundamentally altered the way teachers teach and students learn, reshaping courses across the curriculum and dramatically improving the learning experience.

  • We are challenging the assumptions and practices of the laboratories, classrooms and campus communities.
  • We are supporting projects that make a significant and sustainable difference in how quickly students learn, how much they retain, and how swiftly they can utilize new concepts to create their own new solutions.
  • We are sharing our innovations and developing practical ways for universities around the world to collaborate.
  • We are rigorously assessing the educational outcomes of each new initiative, so that best practices can be identified and effective innovations can be used to improve education worldwide.

As a result, the daily experiences of our students are rapidly changing, as is our understanding of the roles those experiences play in effective learning.

For 150 years, the ideal of cooperation between theoretical knowledge and practical science has been fundamental to MIT. Today, faculty and administrators are pushing that notion further—and we are making the fruits accessible not only to MIT students, but to learners around the world.

Topobo – iCampus student project
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