Recap of the Big Things I did at work in 2016-2017

Strategic Education Initiatives Logo

Every year, we submit a report that shares the highlights of our unit activities at MIT. For a number of years now I’ve been the primary author of this “record” of our collective work. Drawing nearly verbatim from this report, below is a list of the major activities I was involved with for the last fiscal year (running July-June). You can also look back on reports from 2015-2016, 2014-2015, 2013-2014, 2012-2013 and 2011-2012.

Strategic Education Initiatives – July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017

SEI supports partnerships between MIT and other universities, foundations and trusts, non-governmental organizations, and national governments in their efforts to advance and transform educational opportunity through digital learning. SEI projects span classrooms and community colleges in the United States to hundreds of schools in India, helping to advance the field of digital learning and prepare students for the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce. SEI supports the Institute’s overall strategy for pre-Kindergarten to grade 12 (pK-12) education.

SEI offers a variety of solutions and products including those that incorporate MITx courses and modules, blended learning experiences for configuring and developing new programs and institutions, as well as capacity building opportunities through professional development for higher education and pK-12. SEI also partners with faculty to create new digital tools used in MITx courses on edX and in residential teaching.

Through these initiatives, MIT is furthering its mission to advance learning worldwide. Moreover, SEI’s work in other settings can lead to new pedagogy and curriculum design at MIT.

Summary and Highlights

In FY 17 (2016-2017), SEI made significant headway in addressing its mission through contributions that will help to shape the future of education at MIT and elsewhere through increased emphasis on digital learning. SEI accomplishments and activities [I was involved with] have notably included:

  • Contributions to the Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx) project including supporting the design and development of curriculum modules in English, Math and Science; developing the assessment authoring platform and interactive tools; supporting teacher professional development and conducting ongoing research.
  • Contributing to the launch of the Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab.
  • Supporting the development of an agreement with SRM University, AP Amaravati to sub-license eight MITx courses for delivery to over 1,500 students in the next three years.
  • Managing the sunset of SEI as an organization with restructuring because of the launch of the Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab.

Goals and Objectives

For FY 17, SEI’s broad goals [I was involved with] were to:

  • Develop (and explore) new strategic education initiatives on behalf of the Institute
    • SRM University
    • A number of other opportunities were explored that have not come to fruition as of the end of FY17.
  • Manage multiple ongoing initiatives:
    • Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx)
    • Open Learning Scholars (OLS)
    • Video Concept Browser


SRM University

In FY 17, SEI led the development of an agreement with SRM University-AP, Amaravati to sub-license eight MITx courses over the next three years and to provide an annual training sessions to prepare SRM faculty to teach courses based on the MITx course materials.

Courses include:

  • 6.00x Intro to Computer Science and Programming
  • 6.002x Circuits and Electronics
  • 6.004x Computation Structures
  • 8.01x Introduction to Classical Mechanics
  • 8.02x Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism
  • 18.01x Single Variable Calculus
  • 18.03x Differential Equations
  • 2.01x Elements of Structure

Open Learning Scholars (OLS)

OLS is a project of MIT and the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education aimed at expanding access to and use of digital learning environments in STEM for learners worldwide. The goal is to make some of the best STEM education in the world available to Arab youth through innovative online and blended learning offerings.

OLS is engaged with:

  • Leveraging digital (online) learning in the Arab world, especially for displaced populations, with an initial focus on the professionally focused MIT MicroMasters.
  • Supporting educational transformation and capacity building through blended learning utilizing curriculum from MITx courses.

FY 2017 key accomplishments [I was involved with]:

  • Hosted a Blended Learning Workshop in Dubai, UAE with the American Universities of Beirut and Cairo to begin the process of sharing MITx curriculum and pedagogy from 7.00x Introduction to Biology, 6.00.1x Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python and 6.00.2x Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science, and 18.03x Linear Differential Equations.
  • Supported Al Ghurair’s efforts to provide scholarships for MIT Supply Chain Management and Data, Economics and Development Policy MicroMasters learners.

Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx)

CLIx (Connected Learning Initiative) is a bold and innovative collaboration between the Tata Groups (Tata Trusts, Tata Institute of Social Sciences Center for Education Innovation and Action Research) and MIT. Its goal is to improve the professional and academic prospects of high school students in underserved communities in India. CLIx will reach approximately 450 schools, 30,000 students, and 3,300 teachers in four states (Rajasthan, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, and Mizoram) through 2017.

At MIT, SEI is collaborating with Prof. Eric Klopfer and his team in The Education Arcade to support curriculum teams in India designing and developing modules in English, Science and Mathematics for Grades 8 and 9.

FY 2017 key accomplishments [I was involved with]:

Technology: MIT’s CLIx activities focused on the design and development of platform technologies and interactive digital tools.

  • Developed an assessment authoring platform that enables the authoring of 11 question types and updated Open Embedded Assessment players. An estimated 400,000 assessments were delivered to students.
  • Updated the Unplatform and content player for delivering ePubs of the CLIx curriculum on stand-alone computers in rural schools.

Video Concept Browser

The Video Concept Browser allows MIT students to browse and watch lecture video by concepts (or learning outcomes). A self-service tool, MIT faculty or graduate students upload video and tag it by concept; students can watch the video to make up for a missed class, to review a concept, and/or to prepare for exams. It is used primarily in 2.002, but has also been used in 2.02A, 8.02, and 3.032.

FY 2017 key accomplishment:

  • Supported 2.002, Spring 2017

Other Projects

In FY 17 SEI closed out [its and my involvement in] a number of projects:

  • AIM Photonics Academy (AIM Academy). SEI’s participation in the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics) Academy (educational efforts) ended having provided website and communications support, and consulting on digital learning and overall Academy strategy.