Blog

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Teaching & Learning with ChatGPT: Opportunity or Quagmire? Part II
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How Can We Use Generative AI to Support and Enhance Student Learning? As described in our previous post, the unavoidable entanglement with generative AI tools represents a unique and optimistic […]

Teaching & Learning with ChatGPT: Opportunity or Quagmire? Part I
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The recent launch of generative artificial intelligence models, like ChatGPT, are eliciting an energetic variety of responses from instructors everywhere, ranging from consternation to cautious optimism.

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Rigor as Inclusive Practice
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Brooks and McGurk argued that incorrect assumptions that rigor and inclusion are in opposition lead to teaching practices that are neither inclusive, equitable, nor rigorous.

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Leveraging Best Practices to Support Community, Wellbeing & Belonging
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Additional Resources from TLL’s December Speaker Series Talk General Office of Student Wellbeing (DSL) DoingWell.mit.edu (DSL) Flipping Failure (TLL) Community Wellness at MIT (MIT Medical) TLL blog posts and pages […]

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Fostering Academic Wellbeing in the Classroom
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By creating a supportive culture through class practices, norms, and policies, faculty and instructors can play a vital role in supporting students’ well-being in the classroom. In addition, faculty and instructors can help students understand how well-being affects all aspects of their experiences inside and outside the classroom.

How Increasing Equity in the Science Classroom Drives Social Change
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On Wednesday, Sep 11, 2019, Dr. Cissy Ballen addressed how certain features of the introductory science classroom create barriers for historically underserved students, supported by large-scale experimental and observational efforts across institution types and geographic regions.

The Power of Daily Mentoring
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Key takeaways: A more holistic approach to student thriving considers external factors in a student’s environment that may impact their performance. The holistic model seeks ways to support students as […]

Job Opening: Assistant Director for Research and Evaluation
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The Teaching + Learning Lab is seeking to hire an Assistant Director for Research and Evaluation.

Community of Anti-Racist Educators @MIT
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In January 2022, the Teaching & Learning Lab launched a new interdisciplinary community in which 12 MIT faculty and instructors came together to engage in anti-racist work within the context […]

Options for Final Exams – Updated Spring ’22
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In light of the recent uptick in the number of students affected by Covid on campus — and the imminent start of final exams — you may want to consider how you will address student absences and overall student & instructor anxiety around in-person final exams.

Creating Learning Environments to Support Student Motivation Post-Pandemic
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On March 30, 2022, TLL hosted a talk by Professor Carlton Fong of Texas State University on the many ways the COVID-19 pandemic impacted student motivation. Professor Fong discussed evidence-based strategies to maximize student confidence, learning, support, and belonging.

Maintaining Academic Continuity during Spring 2022
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We provide here a listing of resources that we hope will benefit you, your instructional team, and your students.

Mid-semester Formative Feedback
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Collecting formative mid-semester feedback is an extremely effective way to gain targeted and specific information from students about what aspects of the subject support their learning.

Addressing difficult events in the classroom
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This page provides pedagogical tools and resources for addressing charged, difficult, and/or stressful issues while remaining sensitive to the range of opinions, emotional reactions, and potential for student harm.

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How the Pandemic Changed My Teaching: The Moral Dilemma of Going Back
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On February 16, 2022, we hosted a talk by Professor Eric Mazur of Harvard on how the COVID-19 pandemic transformed his approach to teaching introductory physics and why he is keeping many of the changes going forward.

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Inclusive teaching at MIT highlighted in Festival of Learning panel
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This post highlights concrete ways that Arathi Mehrotra, Peter Dourmashkin, and Canan Dağdeviren have created learning environments where all students feel welcomed, supported, and valued as they learn, as shared in a panel on Inclusive Instructional Practices at the Festival of Learning 2022.

Recent Study on Near-Peer Mentorship Program to Support Academic Success
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A recent study on the effects of a near-peer mentoring program on first-year students intending to major in biology found that participants in the program were more likely to develop productive academic habits, earn higher grades, and persist in the biology major.

Reinventing Education Post-Pandemic
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On December 16, 2021, we hosted a talk by Professor Justin Reich. Professor Reich discussed his research on how the experiences of students and teachers during pandemic schooling are vital to educational recovery and building back better.

Job Opening: Communications and Events Administrator
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As of January 3, 2022, the Teaching + Learning Lab is seeking to hire a Communications and Events Administrator.

Trauma-Informed Teaching
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On October 26, 2021, we hosted a talk by Dr. Mays Imad on Trauma-Informed Teaching. Dr. Imad’s talk built on neuroscience research on trauma and learning and her experiences using trauma-informed teaching practices in the classroom.

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Maintaining Academic Continuity During IAP 2022
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To be able to respond effectively to unexpected situations, however, you should begin now to thoughtfully develop a simple and flexible contingency plan for your for-credit IAP subject(s) to ensure academic continuity and achieve essential learning objectives …

AV Equipment & Support for the End of the Semester
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Are you planning to have student presentations as part of your final assessments for your subject this semester?  If so, there are a few additional considerations you’ll want to take into account given the additional classroom restrictions around masking this semester. …

Instructor contingency planning
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Due to Covid-related attestation, isolation, or quarantine policies for you and/or those in your care, it may be necessary for you to teach from home / away from campus for portions of the semester, to enlist a colleague to teach for you, or to reschedule/cancel class …

Fresh Perspectives from MIT educators (part 2)
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On Tuesday, October 5, 2021, the Teaching + Learning Lab hosted the second of two panels featuring faculty and instructors highlighted in the Fresh Perspectives series.

Fresh Perspectives from MIT educators (part 1)
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On Wednesday, September 29, 2021, the Teaching + Learning Lab hosted the first of two panels featuring faculty and instructors highlighted in the Fresh Perspectives series.

Learn student names and pronouns
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Learning students’ preferred names, pronouns, and pronouncing names correctly affirms student identities and builds community in the classroom. A person’s name may be tied to their identity and carry cultural or family significance. The cumulative experience of having names mispronounced is linked to increased feelings of anxiety, shame, and being “othered” or not belonging in the classroom (Kohli & Solorzano, 2012). Moreover, learning and using a student’s pronouns is a first step towards respecting their gender identity and resisting the assumption that all students are cisgender. 

4 strategies to minimize academic dishonesty on remote exams
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Include explanation components; Create non-Google-able questions and prompts; Select assessments that require deeper levels of cognitive processing; Implement a code of conduct (read on for more details)

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Planning for COVID-related absences
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To save time and reduce stress during the term, make a plan before the semester begins for how you will support students in the event of absences and communicate these plans to your students on your course syllabus. …

Preparing to teach with masks
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Effective 10 February 2022, the “One-Mask-Down-at-a-Time” Policy applies in MIT classrooms and other learning spaces. The policy states: “When speaking in a group setting where all others present are masked […]

Changes to your syllabus
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Although it is essential to ensure your syllabus is clear and transparent in “normal” times, this is especially true this fall. Please consider including in your syllabus: explicit statements about […]

Meaning Makers: cultivating growth mindset environments
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In this talk on April 29, 2021, Dr. Canning discussed her recent research on cultivating growth mindset cultures in the classroom — the idea that anyone can develop their ability and talent over time with effective strategies, deliberate practice, and adequate support.

How active learning can improve inequities in STEM
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Educational inequities often exist in the classroom, particularly minoritized students in STEM who may not have had the opportunity to see someone like themselves succeed in the field. In the K-12 setting, studies have shown that a lower proportion of students from low-income backgrounds, meet or exceed standards compared to students from non-low-income backgrounds. Elli Theobald, an assistant teaching professor of biology at the University of Washington, presented her findings on these inequities between students in higher ed STEM classrooms in a talk on April 1, 2021.

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How to overcome Zoom’s algorithmic bias
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Have you ever wondered what determines the arrangement of participant thumbnails in Zoom’s Gallery View? By default, the order of participants changes over the course of a Zoom meeting. As […]

How Instructors Can Support Student Well-being
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On February 24, 2021, the Teaching + Learning Lab hosted this talk on strategies for promoting a culture of student well-being, involving a case-study from the University of Washington. The session includes a sample of practices and teaching strategies drawn from the guidebook, considerations for developing a community of practice around this work, and reflections on leveraging well-being practices and resilience coping skills to teach in a more equitable and inclusive way.

Preparing to Teach Remote Spring 2021 Semester
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We have learned much from the remote teaching and learning challenges experienced in the spring and fall semesters, thanks to feedback from students, faculty, and staff. In the following recording, […]

Assessments & Assignments for Remote Learning
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On January 14, 2021, the Teaching + Learning Lab and Open Learning cohosted an IAP panel discussion for faculty and instructors on innovative assessments and assignments for remote subjects. Panelists discussed a spectrum of assessment and assignment options and shared their unique approaches and decision-making processes.

Teaching with English as a Second Language
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On October 30, 2020, TLL held a panel event for English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) TAs. This event was conceived and hosted by Jingfan Yang, a Teaching Development Fellow, to introduce ESL TAs […]

Building Community in the Remote Classroom
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On Thursday, November 19, 2020, Open Learning and TLL cohosted this xTalk panel discussion, where MIT instructors shared their experience of building and maintaining community while teaching in a remote learning environment.

How Are Our Students Doing, Really?
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One of our biggest concerns in 7.012, a large introductory biology course, was helping our students connect with one another and with the teaching staff during the remote semester. With 500 students enrolled, it felt daunting to be tasked with checking in on all of our students regularly, especially when they were tuning in from all over the globe.

Leading with Data
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This workshop, “Leading with data: overcoming the data divides,” explored the evidence-based data literacy continuum to provide a framework that data leaders can use to foster confidence and growth to empower their teams.

New Insights & Directions for MIT First-Year Advising
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On Tuesday, October 27, 2020, this presentation described the reasons for the pilot and the accompanying study of the first-year advising experience from the perspectives of the faculty, OFY staff, and first-year students, and the findings and recommendations for future implementation.

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Teaching in a Tense Political Climate (Updated)
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With the 2022 mid-term elections occurring next week, we are highlighting our post from 2020, Teaching in a Tense Political Climate, with updated resources to help guide discussions in your classroom and support students who may have questions and concerns.

Teaching Development Fellowship Network AY20-21
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The Teaching Development Fellowship (TDF) Network launched in January 2019 after Benjamin Hansberry, Ph.D., Assistant Director for Graduate Student Teaching, joined the Teaching + Learning Lab.

Taking MIT’s Pulse
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This past May and June, the MIT Pulse survey was sent out to the MIT community. The purpose was to inform decision-makers and find out the needs of the community after the move to working remotely.

How did 8.02 create an online mentoring program?
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Professor Ed Bertschinger delivered a webinar on Tuesday, July 7 about the 8.02 mentoring program, talking more about the implementation of the program and its promising results.

Writing-based Strategies for Learning
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This session explored applications of writing-to-learn pedagogy used in a variety of STEM classrooms. Dr. Ginger Shultz led a discussion of strategies that make writing feasible, even in large introductory courses. Writing engages students in solidifying tacit and unformed ideas, connecting them, and translating them for particular audiences.

Co-Designing Assistive Technology Around the Globe
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In January 2020, MIT piloted a new subject, 3.008 Humanistic Co-design of Assistive Technology Around the Globe, bringing 8 MIT undergraduates to India and Saudi Arabia. Students worked with international students, engineers, designers, NGO’s, and persons with disabilities to create low-fidelity prototypes and project plans of assistive technologies.

Optimize Your Mentoring Practice
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On Monday, January 13, 2020, we hosted Dr. Christine Pfund who presented how to use the science of effective mentorship to optimize your mentoring practice.

The Power of Daily Mentoring
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In this interactive session on Tuesday, October 29, 2019, participants explored research-based, practical strategies to improve your day-to-day mentoring.

Supporting the Whole Student
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Dr. Darcy Gordon, an MITx Digital Learning Fellow in the Department of Biology, highlighted recent multi-year, systematic curriculum redesign efforts to apply learning principles to 7.05. Although the original intention of incorporating learning principles into 7.05 was to enhance the current set of resources available to students on the MITx platform, students who utilized the additional resources experienced lower subject-related stress.

How Increasing Equity in the Science Classroom Drives Social Change
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On Wednesday, Sep 11, 2019, Dr. Cissy Ballen addressed how certain features of the introductory science classroom create barriers for historically underserved students, supported by large-scale experimental and observational efforts across institution types and geographic regions.