MIT: Independent Activities Period: IAP

IAP 2018 Activities by Category - Teaching Skills

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Festival of Learning 2018

Office of Digital Learning, VP of Open Learning

Add to Calendar Jan/29 Mon 09:30AM-04:30PM MIT campus

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required


A day of learning: national thought-leaders, MIT innovators, an interactive Learning Expo,  food,  fun, and more. Experience the catalyzing power behind initiatives which transform the way we look at education and revolutionize how we teach and learn.

This is a free event for the MIT community. Registration is required.


 This is a free event for the MIT community. Registration is required.




Contact: Molly Ruggles, NE49-2081C, 617 324-9185,

How to Speak

Patrick Henry Winston, Ford Professor of Engineering/MacVicar Fellow

Add to Calendar Feb/02 Fri 11:00AM-12:00PM 10-250

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up

Professor Winston offers heuristic rules that enable you to do winning job talks
and inspiring conferences presentations, and make your listeners consider your performance impressive.

Sponsor(s): Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Contact: Patrick Henry Winston,

MITell: Personal Storytelling 101

Kirsty Bennett

Add to Calendar Jan/11 Thu 12:00PM-01:30PM 4-149
Add to Calendar Jan/31 Wed 12:00PM-01:30PM 4-149

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/09
Limited to 30 participants
Attendance: Repeating event, participants welcome at any session

How do you tell a good story? Why should you want to?

MITell is a storytelling group, meeting monthly on campus and open to all in the MIT Community. If you’ve been thinking about sharing a story but wondering how to start, this is the workshop for you! Taught by Kirsty Bennett, a former director and producer for The Moth, this class will introduce basic narrative storytelling structure and help you begin to craft your own story.

Storytelling is a chance to reflect on your life, take stock of the events you've lived through, and think about how they have shaped you as a person. It's also a great first foray into tackling public speaking, and finding the confidence to share your own experiences. Sharing stories helps us build connections with our wider communities, understand better the lives of others, and appreciate and celebrate our differences. Join us!

Sponsor(s): MIT Womens League
Contact: Kirsty Bennett, 10-342, 617 253-3656, KBENNETT@MIT.EDU

Presenting with Skill and Confidence

Juergen Schoenstein, Lecturer: Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication, Anna Kohler, Senior Lecturer in Music and Theater Arts at MIT

Add to Calendar Jan/17 Wed 09:30AM-12:30PM 2-147
Add to Calendar Jan/18 Thu 09:30AM-12:30PM 1-273 and 1-277
Add to Calendar Jan/18 Thu 02:00PM-04:00PM 4-364

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/16
Limited to 18 participants
Attendance: Participants must attend all sessions

As engineers and academics, we love to talk about our work – unless it is in front of an audience. For many, public speaking is one of the biggest fears they have to face; even experienced presenters often agonize over the prospect of facing an audience. This workshop will address not only the tasks of crafting a talk and designing the slides, but also how to become confident and comfortable as a speaker. This workshop is intended for graduate students and faculty members who want to improve their oral presentation skills, but undergraduates are welcome, too.

The first part will be a half-day workshop in crafting an audience-specific narrative, and designing professional slides; the next morning, we will do a “clinic” where participants get an opportunity to give a 5 to 10-minute presentation (about their thesis, current research, or any other topic they choose) to a friendly audience of peers, get feedback and practice how to handle the Q and A. In the afternoon, things will become more physical: Anna Kohler, Senior Lecturer for Theater at MIT, will lead a workshop on “Speaking with confidence”. In this workshop, you will do exercises that will enable you to find and fill both the space within you and the space immediately around you, so that you can confidently be yourself in front of a large audience. This workshop is not about oral performance and theatrical speech, but about physical presence and comfort on stage - wear loose clothing conducive for physical movement.

Sponsor(s): Comparative Media Studies/Writing, Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication
Contact: Juergen Schoenstein,

Splash for MIT 2018

Mathew Suazo, Jenna Himawan

Add to Calendar Jan/24 Wed 07:00PM-10:00PM Building 56, various 1st floor classrooms

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up

Splash for MIT is a one-evening IAP event where MIT students present unusual, entertaining and edifying lectures on a variety of topics. Come to teach, learn, or do both!

Regular classes vary in length from twenty minutes to one hour. There will also be a program-long Firestorm (5 minute classes) open to anybody and taught by anybody. Multiple classes run simultaneously, so you can choose whichever sounds most interesting. Pizza and snacks will be provided.

Splash for MIT is a hybrid of some of ESP’s past programs: Splash (MIT teaches high-schoolers), Firehose (learn everything at CPW), and Firestorm (learn everything at Orientation). If you’ve been to any of these programs, you have an idea of what Splash for MIT is like.

Check out for more details!

Sponsor(s): Educational Studies Program
Contact: Mathew Suazo, SUAZO@MIT.EDU

The Matter of Facts

Karen Boiko

Add to Calendar Jan/24 Wed 10:00AM-12:00PM 1-242

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/23
Limited to 30 participants

In this troubling time of truthiness, alternative facts and “fake news,” how might we as instructors steer the conversation in a direction more congruent with our training and values? Do facts look the same in Biology and History? In Electrical Engineering, Economics and Women’s Studies? How do we, as instructors value facts? How do we, or might we, make this valuing explicit in our teaching? Do we talk about truth or limit ourselves to “data,” as so many students seem to want to do?

Participants in this workshop will start by considering Jill Lepore’s New Yorker essay “After the Fact,” which historicizes the concept of the fact, and relates it to the concepts of truth and data. Discussion will then move into the questions of how we recognize facts in our disciplines, and what their value is. We will end by considering how we might engage students more explicitly on this topic as well as identifying ways we already do so.

This workshop is intended for faculty, instructors, and TAs in all disciplines.

Sponsor(s): Comparative Media Studies/Writing, Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication
Contact: Karen Boiko,

Workshop on Academic Argument

Nora Jackson, Karen Pepper, Janis Melvold, Jo-Ann Graziano

Add to Calendar Feb/01 Thu 03:00PM-05:00PM 4-253

Enrollment: Limited: First come, first served (no advance sign-up)
Limited to 18 participants

In one 2-hour workshop addressed to the MIT community (faculty, TAs and grad students especially welcome) we propose to explore written argument across several academic disciplines. As instructors in Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication (WRAP), we will present a comparison of written argument in various disciplines. We will consider structure, claims, evidence, and reasoning with an eye toward understanding what we are (or should be) trying to convey to students, designing assignments to help students acquire skill in argumentation, and structuring our teaching over the four undergraduate years to ensure that there is reinforcement and development without needless repetition.

We invite you to bring ideas for an assignment, an assignment you have used in the past, or notes on challenges you face for our discussion of teaching the foundational rhetorical skill of written argument.

Sponsor(s): Comparative Media Studies/Writing, Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication
Contact: Nora Jackson,