Second annual MIT Teaching with Digital Technology Awards recipients selected

The MIT Teaching with Digital Technology Awards were established in 2016 to celebrate innovations in digital technology and the faculty who develop them. Co-sponsored by the Office of Digital Learning (ODL), the Dean of Undergraduate Education (DUE) and the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE), the awards serve to inspire the MIT community to embrace digital technologies and develop new applications that improve classroom teaching and learning.

In June, six faculty members received awards for their work. The second annual Digital Technology Awards winners are:

  • For work in ESD.411/412/413 (Foundations of System Design and Management): Edward Crawley, the Ford Professor of Engineering in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics; Bruce Cameron, director of the System Architecture Lab and lecturer in the System Design and Management Program; Bryan Moser, lecturer in the System Design and Management Program; and Olivier de Weck, professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
  • For work in 21M.051 (Fundamentals of Music) and 21M.220 (Medieval and Renaissance Music): Michael Scott Cuthbert, associate professor of music.
  • For work in 8.033 (Relativity) and 8.323 (Relativistic Quantum Field Theory): Tracy Robyn Slatyer, the Jerrold R. Zacharias CD Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics.

This year, 133 nominations were received for 80 different faculty members and instructors. A committee consisting of Dean Dennis Freeman of the DUE, Dean Blanche Staton of the ODGE, and Vice President for Open Learning Sanjay Sarma of the ODL, as well as five undergraduate and graduate students, evaluated the submissions and chose the winners.

“There is so much innovative teaching going on at MIT and these awards effectively gather those stories from students, celebrate the faculty innovators, and inspire other faculty in similar directions,” says Sheryl Barnes, director of digital learning in residential education.

In keeping with last year’s methodology, students were asked to articulate why their nominee deserved an award and provide details about the technologies used and how they were applied. Excerpts from winning nominations, edited for clarity and length, appear below.

“Professor Slatyer’s use of MITx in 8.033 was great: It was used to give students a chance to familiarize themselves with concepts prior to lecture, holding us accountable to the readings for the class and allowing us to ask questions earlier in the week.”

“Professor Cuthbert uses an interactive approach to teach the fundamentals of music. Artusi offers a variety of exercises on music theories, and we used it during the class to see if we understood the materials he just went over; it was incredibly helpful for us to absorb the theories.”

“Dr. Moser used many different digital tools to aid in classroom learning, the most impactful of which was his engagement on Piazza forums. I’ve never seen a professor who’s been as actively engaged outside the classroom in discussions as he has been. He clearly cares about the students and what he’s teaching.”

The annual MIT Teaching with Digital Technology Awards highlight the strides faculty are taking to actively engage students and facilitate communication by bringing digital technologies to bear on traditional classroom instruction. Awards winners were quick to point out that although students tended to nominate lead faculty, there are many postdocs and educators who deserve recognition for the critical roles they played in bringing these digital innovations to fruition.

Faculty should visit Residential MITx for more information on incorporating digital tools and pedagogies into their classrooms. Based on open edX, Residential MITx is an online learning system that provides the ability to author and distribute videos, text, assessments, interactive elements, and sophisticated automatic grading.

Individuals can request a Residential MITx course site and explore digital tools for the classroom on the ODL website.

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