Shifting Forms:

Faculty identified nearly 300 courses that could be suitable for EdX/MITx

Shifting Forms:

Students focused on approximately 20 courses that they felt would work in a different format. Most of these overlapped with courses identified by faculty.

Class Features:

Faculty reported on whether a variety of features were present in their classes. The results showed that many MIT classes break out of the lecture format.


Which values and
principles of an MIT education do you feel are most important to maintain or develop?

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Classes before arrival?
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Changes to Time in Class

Students were asked to rate which features of classes they would like to have more or less of. The most popular activities were in-class problem solving and hands-on activities.

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  • Changes in Spaces

    Faculty and students shared many opinions on what spaces would be more useful in the future.

  • “I would like to incorporate more online materials seamlessly into my lectures; better connectivity in the classrooms is crucial.”– Faculty/Instructor

  • “More rooms indoors with tables and whiteboards that are clean and nice. More seating areas inside in open spaces where people can work but where people are also allowed to talk (i.e., not a library).”– Student

  • “Would like touch sensitive large display -- essentially a telestrator to mark up projected powerpoint slides.”– Faculty/Instructor

  • “Allowing access to MIT classrooms (that are not reserved by faculty) after hours is really nice.”– Student

  • “Flat rooms with moveable tables.”– Faculty/Instructor

  • "Lounges for every major / 'hackerspace' with cool technologies like a LeapMotion, KINECT, myo, Oculus rift etc where students from different disciplines can collaborate. Similar to Harvard's i-lab, but more casual than the Martin trust center.”– Student

  • “More teal like rooms, if we never build another large lecture hall, that is too soon.”– Faculty/Instructor

  • “More large conference rooms, preferably mostly soundproof, as opposed to those in the 5th floor of the student center.”– Student

  • “For hands-on classes, it's necessary to have space where students can work on projects, leave them between work sessions, etc.”– Faculty/Instructor

  • “Can we have a more inviting coffee shop? Some people like very silent workspaces, others need some festivity to the environment.”– Student

Changes in Educational Technology

Common faculty suggestions:

  • Videoconferencing
  • Student Response Systems
  • E-books
  • Lecture Capture
Preferred Learning Environments
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  • Faculty-Student Interaction

    Faculty and students suggested many ways to increase quantity and quality of interaction.

  • “Building things together -- I would love to make robots or machine things with faculty and other students”– Student

  • “Give the faculty dinner passes to the dorm dining halls. Or give more guest passes to the students if they invite faculty members.”– Faculty/Instructor

  • “sponsor faculty seminars for mostly-student audience in each department. food / drink after the talk will help in socializing. Maybe have 2-3 faculty present brief talks.”– Student

  • “Give junior faculty (and maybe also senior faculty) free passes to MIT Athletic Center. It will encourage the faculty to play intramurals with the students, and to interact with the students in a more relaxed setting."– Faculty/Instructor

  • “Bar nights with faculty”– Student

  • “Faculty "advisors" should not be reviewing and approving student schedules. That can be better done by well-trained administrators that know the Institute and Departmental requirements. "– Faculty/Instructor

  • “Faculty offer short-term projects to interested students (not just UROP) related to their work during summer or IAP”– Student

  • “Freshman advising seminars with more upperclassmen/grad student support ... topic of personal interest to faculty. Project based.”– Faculty/Instructor

  • “Encourage faculty to have official 'student-time' slots when students can pop in at any time to talk.”– Student

  • “Provide common spaces where people would feel relaxed. The main reason for lack of spontaneous interaction is an environment that provides no opportunity to relax"– Faculty/Instructor

  • “have shared spaces for graduate students and professors in departments for heating up food, getting hot water, etc”– Student

  • “Have large teams of faculty attached to living groups, instead of just house masters. Let the house masters be more like "department heads", not one man shows. "– Faculty/Instructor

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  • Flexibility

    Many faculty were interested in increasing flexibility in degree programs and their requirements.

  • "I wish we gave our students a better balance of independent and guided learning (pushing more towards independence than our current state)." – Faculty/Instructor

  • "Core curricula for undergraduate degrees should have greater freedom: I'd suggest at least four courses reasonably related to degree area but not restricted by departmental boundaries/fiats for any major."– Faculty/Instructor

  • "Increase engineering degree offerings (let students create their class plan to be approved by their advisor)"– Faculty/Instructor

  • "Permit wider peripheral-learning in fields that are not part of the major" – Faculty/Instructor

  • "Less restricting GIRs, more freedom in exploring subjects, including environmental, social, policy subjects"– Faculty/Instructor

  • "Provide greater flexibility as to course requirements and humanity requirements. Let the student define more of his/her path through MIT with self-imposed rigor rather than rigid requirements. "– Faculty/Instructor

Desired opportunities for skill development

Preferences for skill development varied significantly across types of students

Field Experiences

Faculty reported on whether the classes they taught had field experiences and, if not, whether the classes would benefit from the addition of this feature.

Field Experiences

"These responses varied significantly across schools."

Alumnus/a 113, Student 22, Faculty/Staff 26, Friend of MIT 19
The participant group was incredibly diverse, including faculty and staff of all levels, many current students, and alumni from as early as the Class of 1952.
Alumnus/a 113
Student 22
Faculty/Staff 26
Friend of MIT 19
Key Theme:
The Residential Experience

Many participants discussed the component of the MIT experience that emerged from living in the middle of MIT’s unique campus and community.

Your top ideas
  1. Promote greater faculty-student interaction on campus to offset online education
  2. Actively promote group project and pset work via expansion of group spaces
  3. Reduce or adjust MIT's physical footprint to reflect a more online experience
  4. Integrate living spaces with learning spaces, learn/work in small groups
Map: Visitors came from 102 countries
Visits by Country
United States 7,540
China 136
Canada 124
India 110
France 103
Australia 93
United Kingdom 90
Brazil 53
Germany 53
Spain 48
Other 840
  • “My fraternity experience was positive and a major influence after graduation. Please remember student life as you work through the MIT of the future.” – an MIT alum

  • “An option -- rather drastic considering the logistics, but hugely beneficial financially to the student's family -- is to offer a 3 yr BS degree with minimal 'liberal education' requirements” – an MIT alum

  • “I think students from every major could be tackling industry's problems to help fund their education, the same way we currently do with research as graduate students.” – an MIT student

  •  “MIT would accept applications from entrepreneurs who wish to come to MIT to create new companies… They would have access to use of MIT resources and collaboration with MIT faculty, staff, and students” – an MIT alum

  • “What about creating interdisciplinary academic programs focused on specific goals for improving the world?” – an MIT staff member

  • “I do not want to see widespread changes in teaching techniques unless there is some quantitative evidence that they will actually lead to improvement for at least a set of students.” – an MIT student

  • “I find it very frustrating that course evaluations are due DURING exam period… Why can't we have evaluations due a week later?” – an MIT student

  • “Break MIT subjects into atomistic concepts that are linked across the entire institute... Students learn what they want to learn, and they can see how each concept builds upon others.” – an MIT alum

  • “It would be nice to have a long project-type class (similar to 2.009) where Course 6 students could work with Course 2 students (or any other combinations of majors).” – an MIT student

  • “Set up a formal teacher training program, where part of a professor's bid for tenure is dependent on student evaluations.” – an MIT alum

  • “I feel that there is a need for all MIT students to have the chance/opportunity to work as an intern in a company in their field of endeavor during a few semesters.” – an MIT staff member

  • “Online learning enhances our modes of learning but cannot exist on its own. Instead of thinking of ‘blended learning’ - let's think of ‘balanced learning.’” – an MIT staff member

  • “Education is about more than just collecting facts - there is a critical social component as well. I think that no matter how technically deep one could go in an on-line course, it would still be ‘MIT-lite.’” – an MIT alum

Key Theme:
Financing Higher Education

Respondents explored a number of ways to reduce costs and increase revenue streams with a focus on reducing the debt burden on students.

Your top ideas
  1. Offer a cheaper 3 year degree with stripped-down GIRs
  2. Integrate industry partners into classes across departments
  3. Allow students to pay for tuition with a percentage of their future salary
  4. Improve transparency in financial aid
  • “Whatever we do with online education, we need to be the world leader in making it as accessible and inclusive to the widest possible audience.” – an MIT staff member

  • “A friend tells me of her dyslexic son, who's having a terrible time in college because his required courses are on line. He needs in-person classes to accommodate his disability, but his college isn't providing them.” - a friend of MIT

  • “I propose an option for undergraduates to pay for their education out of their salaries after they graduate. [How about] 5% of their income every year until the sum of the percentage points paid totals 100.” – an MIT student

  • “Most [MIT Ph.D. students] will work in private industry... Ph.D. students [should] be prepared to become industry leaders when they leave their labs.” – an MIT alum

  • “The bias of writing 'simple' tests that simply require you to state information needs to be done away with. Instead, tests should focus on asking conceptual questions.” – an MIT student

  • “Enhance the class experience by generating interaction among different kinds of groups. For example in a course, create a problem set that has to be solved by teams in different countries.” – an MIT staff member

  • “Significant dollars can be redirected back to universities from commercial publishers by the advocacy of publishing at reasonable prices. MIT is well positioned to lead in this transformation” – an MIT staff member

  • “MIT [should] make research methods more of a focus: that classes focus as much on defining problems and identifying what topics need to be learned in order to solve them as they do on actually teaching those topics.” – an MIT student

  • “Can we imagine an MIT where we don't have alumni, but life-long students who could 'come back' (for an additional fee) and get MIT (not MITx) credential for career advancement?” – an MIT staff member

  • “Lectures can be recorded and put online. Then instead of lecturing, professors can have more sessions where they can answer questions, solve problems, and hold discussions.” – an MIT alum

  • “What a campus and residential education should offer that the web basically cannot is a person to person connection - one generation training the next generation in how to think, to structure ideas, to solve problems” – an MIT alum

  • “I encourage the new direction to emphasize personal face-to-face interaction... The ILG system in the early 90s did this exceptionally well. If you just want knowledge, then online delivery is fine.” – an MIT alum

  • “It is hard for me to imagine that non-residency could ever become a dominant mode at MIT. What about Labs- which even today are still a crucial part of most technical courses? What about team projects...?” – an MIT alum


Key Theme:
The Online Classroom

Participants explored the many possible uses for the new online platform, proposing creative new paths and unique perspectives on existing models of education.

Your top ideas
  1. Use online lectures to supplement, not replace, future residential classes
  2. Give credit for online education
  3. Create online courses for high school seniors to prepare them for college
  4. Develop new pedagogy for online classrooms
  5. Integrate new pedagogical advances made possible by web technology
Popular ideas
  1. Add online components to residential classes
  2. Promote greater faculty-student interaction on campus to offset online education
  3. Offer a cheaper 3 year degree with stripped-down GIRs
  4. Focus content to be more applied and connected to the real world
Popular ideas
  1. Make education a mix of online and residential classes
  2. Offer versions of courses to fit different learning styles
  3. Integrate industry partners into classes across departments
  4. Give credit for online classes
  5. Create online courses to prepare high school seniors for college
Key Theme:
MIT in the World

Contributors emphasized the need for MIT to continue to be a leader in providing high-quality, accessible content to knowledge-seekers around the world.

Your top ideas
  1. Use MIT's influence to promote conversation on science and technology worldwide
  2. Involve MIT in school-based or nonprofit outreach projects
  3. Create EdX "satellite" campuses
  4. Encourage online collaboration in MOOCs by teams in different countries