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New Global Initiatives in ELearning from MIT

New Global Initiatives in ELearning from MIT - The Evolving...

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The Evolving International Role of a research university: An MIT Perspective Janet Wasserstein Communications and Development Officer Center for Advanced Educational Services (CAES) Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States [email protected] Co-author: Professor Richard C. Larson, Director, CAES Abstract: MIT’s Center for Advanced Educational Services is taking major strides in crossing the digital divide through innovative web-course development and strategic e-learning partnerships. This paper will highlight “The Learning International Network Consortium” LINC, a global initiative to empower organizations within developing countries to design, create and operate top quality higher-education e-learning systems. Also highlighted will be the MIT-African Virtual University partnership and the creation of the first two in a series of free interactive web-based courses for healthcare professionals. Introduction The role of a research university today, compared to fifty years ago, now needs to be aware of the global picture and interconnectedness. If tertiary education leads to greater understanding internationally and empowers students, what role should a research university play? At MIT, several programs are currently underway that address this question. MIT offers some distance learning programs but does not offer degrees solely through distance learning. i There are other universities that concentrate on that area. MIT is interested in researching new educational technology such as interactive online tutors (e.g. PIVoT ii ), and initiatives such as the Open Knowledge Initiative and Stellar iii . MIT is also looking at new pedagogies that are goal-oriented, non-linear and experimental and new ways of collaborative learning such as the Technology Enabled Active Learning project (TEAL iv ). MIT employs many different models for distance learning or technology-enabled education as part of teaching tools that have global dimensions. MIT provides outstanding content by its faculty and innovative research in ways of teaching and learning. I. MIT models of global learning initiatives Publishing Model The latest project that has received much publicity is OpenCourseWare. This is a project to put MIT course materials up on the web free and open to the public. This is not distance learning, however, as no interaction occurs between teacher and learner, but it is an invaluable resource for students and teachers across the globe. “The idea behind MIT OpenCourseWare (MIT OCW) is to make MIT course materials that are used in the teaching of almost all undergraduate and graduate subjects available on the web, free of charge, to any user anywhere in the world. MIT OCW will radically alter technology-enhanced education at MIT, and will serve as a model for university dissemination of knowledge in the Internet age. Such a venture will continue the tradition at MIT and in American higher education of open dissemination of educational materials, philosophy, and modes of thought, and will help lead to fundamental changes in the way colleges and universities engage the web as a vehicle for education.
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