Task Force on the Future of Graduate Education in the Context of MITx (TFGEM)


Residential graduate education, which is intimately entwined with the university research enterprise and mission of MIT, is evolving to include increasingly deeper and diverse collaborations between individuals, laboratories, universities and countries – ever more intellectually and socially engaged, interactive, rapidly connected to resources, information, the Institute, the nation and the world. Technology has enhanced graduate education significantly in many ways already; consider literature organization software, instrument training webinars, scientific social media platforms, online disciplinary discussion groups, remote experimentation and simulation, virtual scholarly conferences and open e-print archives − and yet it is still very early on. MITx, and more generally online learning, hold many possibilities to enhance the quality of graduate education: for recruitment competitiveness; for reducing cost-of- education; for building intellectual, collaborative and cross-disciplinary networks; for professional development and engaging with alumni; for innovations in teaching and research; and for educating society at massive scales to advanced levels. The work of this Task Force will feed into The Institute-Wide Task Force on MIT Education announced recently By President L. Rafael Reif.

The Task Force on the Future of Graduate Education in the Context of MITx will :

1) Formulate a strategic vision for the deployment and development of MITx to enhance MIT residential graduate education, both professional masters and doctoral, based on extensive outreach to the MIT community, current literature and best practices in the field of technology-enabled education;

2) Identify and prioritize key areas of opportunity for the use of MITx to improve the quality of graduate education in the areas of graduate administration, finances, resources and personal support, coursework (i.e. recommendations for classes to put on MITx, the development of new classes, collaboration across schools, etc.), research (including supervision of undergraduates) and professional development;

3) Develop a product roadmap and recommended technical functionalities for the Edx platform for the priorities identified in 2) and 3)

4) Create rigorous pilots and assessment plans for the priorities identified in 2) and 3)

5) Formulate a set of principles, guidelines, training, expectations, certification and opportunities for MITx graduate   student teaching assistants and consider implications of MITx on the TA funding model

6) Consider and recommend steps to plan for future challenges with assessment of online certification in graduate admissions.

Christine Ortiz, Dean for Graduate Education, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering (Chair)
Lori Breslow, Director of the Teaching and Learning Laboratory, Lecturer
Eran-Ben Joseph, Department Head and Professor Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Philip Khoury, Associate Provost and Ford International Professor of History
S. P. Kothari, Deputy Dean and Gordon Y Billard Professor of Management, Sloan School of Management
Pavitra Krishnaswamy, Graduate Student Representative, Harvard-MIT Health Sciences & Technology Program
Vijay Kumar, Director of the Office of Educational Innovation and Technology, Senior Associate Dean, Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education
Alan V. Oppenheim, Ford Professor of Engineering, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Kristala Prather, Theodore T. Miller Career Development Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering
John Rogosic, Graduate Student Representative, Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Sara Seager, Professor of Department of Earth, Atmospheric, & Planetary Sciences
Jit Hin Tan, Graduate Student Representative, Sloan School of Management and Chemical Engineering
Derek Jaeger, Senior Program Manager, Learning Management Applications, Information Services and Technology (Staff to Task Force)

The report from October 2013 to the Director of Digital Learning, Professor of Mechanical Engineering Sanjay Sarma is available online.