Supporting the Whole Student

Supporting the Whole Student

Mindful Integration of Learning Principles in 7.05 and 8.591J

A well-designed and implemented course not only enhances student learning but also creates positive and inclusive learning experiences for students. On Wednesday, October 9, 2019, this seminar presented the case studies of two such courses at MIT — 7.05 (Biochemistry) and 8.591J (Systems Biology).

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.

Professor Gore, an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics, described how he maximizes student engagement and provides equal opportunities for students to succeed in his course. His presentation highlighted how he combines clear articulation of course goals, classroom norms, and expectations with the thoughtful implementation of active learning to create a positive and inclusive classroom environment.


Dr. Darcy Gordon

MITx Digital Learning Fellow, MIT Department of Biology

As a core member of the MITx Biology course development team, Dr. Gordon collaborates with faculty to enhance on-campus instruction through the use of technology, while also building Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). In this role, she blends her pedagogical and scientific expertise to foster authentic learning experiences online, including the creation of visual resources and assessments. As part of her work, she draws from scientific research on learning to improve in-person, hybrid, and online learning experiences. Dr. Gordon completed her Ph.D. in the Traniello Lab at Boston University, studying the behavioral ecology and neurobiology of social insects, while also developing curricula for science outreach programs.

Professor Jeff Gore

Associate Professor, MIT Department of Physics

Professor Gore leads the Ecological Systems Biology Laboratory and works to advance interdisciplinary approaches in biology through the Physics of Living Systems Group at MIT. His research interests range widely, from the current focus on ecological dynamics to his single-molecule research in graduate school with the Bustamante laboratory. Before starting his own lab, Professor Gore was a Pappalardo Fellow in MIT’s Department of Physics working with the van Oudenaarden laboratory studying cooperation and cheating in yeast. His honors include an NIH New Innovator Award, NIH K99/R00 Pathways to Independence Award, and an NSF CAREER Award. In addition, Professor Gore is a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, Sloan Research Fellow, and an Allen Distinguished Investigator. He has also been recognized at MIT for his efforts in teaching and mentoring. In 2011, he was chosen as the MIT-wide undergraduate research (UROP) Mentor of the Year and in 2013 he received the Buechner Teaching Award from the Physics Department.

active learning assessment inclusive classroom student engagement