Tagged ‘MIT’

Prestige, Measurement, and What’s Left Out that Matters

Fifth in a Series.  First one is here.

When I was at MIT, it seemed like hardly anyone there was interested in teaching.  My advisor told me that mathematicians viewed teaching as akin to golf: an unrelated side-interest.  The teaching award was known as the “kiss of death,” because faculty who got it did not get tenure.  Graduate students who showed too much interest in teaching were presumed not sufficiently serious about research.

But with MOOCs, MIT and its peers Harvard, Stanford, and the like, are now interested in education, and due to their prestige, are the presumed leaders.  A bit after I enrolled in the physics MOOC from MIT there was an article about MOOCs in the Boston Globe that discussed the course, and where another MIT instructor talked about how from MOOC data he learned that students often start the problems before they watch lectures, which gave him the idea to sometimes intentionally start with problems, something that many of us (including some in the dreaded ed schools) have known for years (and some of us skip lecturing almost entirely).

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Summer MOOCs 2: Mechanics ReView

Second in a series.   First is here.

The first MOOC I started, Mechanics ReView, was originally developed at MIT as a short three week course for students who didn’t do well in their regular introductory Newtonian Mechanics Course (generally the first college physics course).  The instructors devised a method to teach physics problems solving, which they said was proven to work, based on the student improvement in the on campus course and grades in subsequent physics courses.   The online course was ten weeks, with eight required units and an optional three more units, and an expectation of about ten hours per week of work.

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Truth Values: One Girl’s Romp Through MIT’s Male Math Maze

Last night I went to see the play Truth Values: One Girl’s Romp Through MIT’s Male Math Maze, written and performed by Gioia De Cari.   Gioia and I were friends at MIT – we both started the Math PhD program in 1984.   She left a few years later with a Master’s, moving on to pursue music and acting;  I held on, staying halfway in and halfway out of MIT, finally finishing my PhD in 1992.  The play helped us reconnect after twenty years.   Read more >>