MITxBio research

Take a look about what we are studying about design and learner engagement.

Peer-reviewed publications

Assessment That Matters: Balancing Reliability and Learner-centered Pedagogy in MOOC Assessment.. Alexandron, G., Wiltrout, M. E., Berg, A., & Ruipérez-Valiente, J. A. Accepted for LAK 2020. Preprint currently available. go to paper »

Key takeaway: We can intentionly design online assessments and course structure to prevent cheating and measure the impact of the design with an analytical method. This paper gives one example of an assessment model and metrics on the impact to cheating based on our 7.00x Introduction to Biology MOOC.

The Effect of Course Content Position on Student Attempts of Practice Problems in Introductory Biology. Wiltrout, ME, Roy, Anindya. Learning With MOOCS (LWMOOCS). IEEE, 2018. go to paper »

Key takeaway: We can encourage students to do more practice problems by placing the problems after videos in a learning sequence instead of a separate practice problem set or exam section.

Criteria for Video Engagement in a Biology MOOC. Thornton, S, Riley, C, Wiltrout, ME. Proceedings of the Fourth ACM Conference on Learning@Scale. ACM, 2017. go to paper »

Key takeaway: We find that our animated, scripted videos in 7.28.1x Molecular Biology MOOC show decreased learner completion compared to the unscripted lecture videos. We tested a variety of hypotheses and lean toward learners more experienced in the topic engage less in those videos. Additionally, you can see in the analysis of our course data that engagement with any video is independent of video length. This finding opposes the "6-minute rule" established for MOOC video length based on Guo et al.'s paper.

Teaching MIT Students to Think Like Cell Biologists: A Visual Approach. Thornton, S, Wiltrout, ME. EducationXpress, 2015. go to paper »

Key takeaway: This paper is more of a case study to describe the 7.06 Cell Biology project that we did with Professors Frank Solomon and Adam Martin. In this project, we created animated videos to walk through the scientific thinking of a published paper. We found that MIT students and teaching staff responded very positively to these videos and the alignment with the course materials. Learn more through the hybrid tab.

Workshops in Digital Learning

workshops including MITx Biology as part of the organizing committee or lead presenter

If you are interested in having a workshop be part of your conference or event, contact us.

Learning Design for Engaging Digital STEM Assessments, London, England
go to the Reimagine Education conference website »
Mary Ellen Wiltrout led this workshop as part of the Reimagine Education conference held December 2019. The focus centered on assessment in digital learning.

Toolkit to Master Learning Design for Student Success, Melbourne, Australia
go to the Learning Design conference website »
Mary Ellen Wiltrout led this workshop as part of the Learning Design Summit held August 2019. The focus centered on the question: How do we assess learning online? The learning outcomes included:

  • Recognize the different types of assessment and how technology is changing the landscape for assessing learning.
  • Discuss how to design online learning activities that stimulate experiences of those in that field of work.
  • Analyze the challenges to assessing student learning online.
  • Give careful consideration to diverse demographics and backgrounds when developing digital learning materials.

Engaging Digital Learning Experiences 2019, Cambridge, MA
go to LINC website »
go to program website »
Similar to the goals of MOOC makers, the Digital Learning Lab and MITx brought together a community of practictioners and LINC participants to discuss current work in creating digital learning experiences for MOOCs or hybrid/blended learning.

HybridEd Workshop 2019: Smart, Data-Informed Blended Learning, Paris, France
go to event website »
With our international collaborators and support from MIT MISTI, we brought together an international community in Paris, France to discuss the current work in blended or hybrid learning.

HybridEd Workshop 2018: Successful and Promising Experiences in Blended Learning with MOOCs, Cambridge, MA
go to event website »
With our international collaborators and support from MIT MISTI, we brought together an international community at MIT to discuss the current work in hybrid/blended learning.

HybridEd Workshop 2016: MOOC Makers, Cambridge, MA
go to event website »
The Digital Learning Lab and MITx created an event that focused on bringing together a community of practioners creating MOOCs and blended learning experiences prior to the LINC event at MIT.