Innovation in Education & Student Learning

MIT was founded as a bold experiment in hands-on, science-based, problem-solving teaching and learning that continues to this day. President Reif has challenged the MIT community to seize an “historic opportunity” to redefine residential and online learning, and Chancellor Barnhart is committed to furthering this bold vision. Here’s how:

  • In 2012, MIT established the Office of Digital Learning to harness the Institute’s digital learning resources and create more integration and coordination among formerly independent education technology departments.
  • President Reif created the Institute-Wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education in February 2013, asking that it “be bold in experimenting with ideas that would both enhance the education of our own students on our own campus and that would allow us to offer some version of our educational experience to learners around the world.” 
  • The Task Force on the Future of MIT Education released its preliminary findings in the fall of 2013 and a final report on July 28, 2014.
  • Recent innovations based on the Task Force recommendations include:
    • The summer@future experiment offered five MIT blended learning courses for credit in summer 2014.
    • The MIT Online Education Policy Initiative launched in 2014 to explore teaching pedagogy and efficacy, to engage in the public discourse around online learning, and to influence policy and policymakers to embrace educational innovation.
    • The MISTI Global Teaching Labs program is leveraging MITx’s global reach and expanding opportunities for MIT students to engage with the world as MITx ambassadors.
    • A new experimental mind and hand freshman seminar launched in the fall of 2015 to provide students with the opportunity to learn modern engineering methods while building projects that complement the material simultaneously being learned in the GIRs. The cohort-based seminar offered a 6-credit subject to compliment the GIRs with project-based learning.
    • In 2015, MIT created the MIT-Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning to advance pre-K through 12 education by combining MIT’s “mind and hand” approach to learning with recent breakthroughs in cognitive science and digital learning. The goal is to help develop and support excellent STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) teachers and school leaders around the world. Initial support for this effort comes from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, which is providing $9.9 million in seed funding.
    • In 2016, President Reif announced a significant expansion of the Institute’s programs in learning research and online and digital education. The MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili), a new effort to increase MIT’s ability to improve STEM learning by students from pre-kindergarten through high school (pK-12), and programs to enhance residential learning and continuing education will help fulfill a number of recommendations by the Task Force on the Future of MIT Education.
  • In 2015, the Residential MITx platform hosted its 100th course. Nearly 90 percent of MIT undergraduates have participated in one or more courses that use the Residential MITx platform.

Get Involved

To get involved in the Chancellor’s innovation in education and student learning work, email