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  • 23 November 2010
  • Your Name Here
  • “To open up the institution’s vast reservoirs of knowledge
  • is a monumental and inspiring endeavor.”
  • — Student, Canada
  • Educators
  • Students
  • Self learners
  • MIT Community
  • Donors & Supporters
  • Empowering Minds
  • Institutional Use
  • Full Case Study - NOT FOR PROJECTION
  • The liberalization of learning
  • Triatno Yudo Harjoko, the University of Indonesia at Depok
  • Triatno Yudo Harjoko has a long and close association with the University of Indonesia in Depok, Indonesia. A graduate of the institution, Harjoko has also been a professor of architecture at the school since 1979, and is currently head of the architecture department. In addition, Harjoko has designed several of the university’s buildings, including the expansive Faculty of Engineering complex, and the stunning University Mosque.
  • Harjoko characterizes the learning atmosphere at the University of Indonesia as primarily a one-way street, in which professors are assumed to be knowledge-bearers, and students are expected to master a predetermined knowledge base. This approach, while typical of many Indonesian institutions, is something that Harjoko has been attempting to change in his department. Together with his colleagues, Harjoko is redesigning the teaching model, moving toward an active, student-centered learning process.
  • Harjoko describes the main goal in this transition as “encouraging students to learn by themselves, and to be both critical and creative.”
  • In the redesign process, MIT’s OpenCourseWare — to which Harjoko was introduced by a colleague several years ago — has served as an immense comparative database for Harjoko and his fellow professors. Rather than directly transposing MIT OCW syllabi to University of Indonesia courses, Harjoko and his colleagues have been scrutinizing MIT’s courses to better understand how they were designed and developed. “We try to understand how the MIT courses are formulated,” Harjoko explains, “and what the expected outcomes are. This gives us an important perspective on the learning process.”
  • Two courses for which this approach has been particularly helpful, he adds, are architectural theory and structure.
  • “I was surprised and amazed that such a renowned university as MIT would freely give access to almost all of its educational information to the world,” continues Harjoko. “This is important, because critical thinking and creativity demand the liberalization of learning and information. But I also believe that it’s not simply the information that’s valuable, but also the glimpse it offers into how MIT has structured its teaching and research to become such a prestigious institution.”
  • Empowering Minds
  • Institutional Use
  • Professor Triatno Harjoko
  • Head of Department of Architecture at University of Depok, Indonesia, is using OCW to add interactivity to architecture instruction by his faculty.
  • Empowering Minds
  • Institutional Use
  • “Critical thinking and creativity demand the liberalization of learning and information. It’s not simply the information that’s valuable, but also the glimpse OCW offers into how MIT has structured its teaching and research.
  • Empowering Minds
  • Educator Use
  • Full Case Study - NOT FOR PROJECTION
  • Brushing up… and then some
  • Richard Hall, LaTrobe University in Melbourne, Australia
  • Richard Hall received a Ph.D. in computer science from LaTrobe University in Melbourne, Australia, in 2002. Shortly thereafter, Hall found himself playing a different role in LaTrobe’s laboratories and lecture halls: teaching courses in introductory information systems, beginning microprocessors, and advanced computer-aided software engineering.
  • In early 2005, Hall learned that he would also be teaching a fourth-year computer graphics course later in the year. Hall knew immediately that the subject would demand a lot of work on his part, since he had had little experience with this rapidly changing field over the previous 10 years. While casting about for a means to brush up on the topic — intensively, and in hurry! — Hall recalled hearing something about MIT’s OpenCourseWare from a member of LaTrobe’s technical support staff. He decided to visit the site to see if he could find a solution there.
  • To his great relief, Hall quickly located the lectures and labs from MIT’s Course 6.837 – Computer Graphics, which guided him through an in-depth review of the subject. In fact, Hall credits the 6.837’s labs — which he completed over the course of several months — with not only fine-tuning his existing skills, but also adding new techniques to his repertoire. The whole process, according to Hall, saved him “an enormous amount of time and stress.”
  • Based on this experience, Hall plans to use a subset of the lectures and labs in his own course next semester. The MIT OCW resource has enabled Hall to offer a course at what he calls a “stunning” level of quality. One of the best things about the MIT OCW computer graphics materials, reports Hall, is how quickly and completely the students are empowered. “The students can get to the fun stuff immediately,” Hall notes. “They’re generating aesthetic pictures right from the start, and all the while their math understanding is growing almost visibly in the background.”
  • And Hall is equally impressed by the aesthetic approach of the materials. “I was also delighted by the weaving in of historical art techniques,” he adds, “and the way the material is so coherently presented. It is truly inspiring to see this level of excellence.”
  • Empowering Minds
  • Educator Use
  • Professor Richard Hall
  • Computer Science instructor at LaTrobe University in Melbourne, Australia, used OCW to rapidly refresh his knowledge of computer graphics for a last-minute teaching assignment.
  • Empowering Minds
  • Educator Use
  • OCW saved me an enormous amount of time and stress. I was delighted by the way the material is so coherently presented. It is truly inspiring to see this level of excellence.”
  • Full Case Study - NOT FOR PROJECTION
  • Experiencing the ‘Western’ approach
  • Kian Wah Liew, secondary school math teacher in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia
  • A secondary school mathematics teacher in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Kian Wah Liew introduces his 18-year-old students to a range of complex concepts, such as matrices, determinants, and differential equations. Though his lessons are conducted in Mandarin, the students use an English textbook — which tends to make Liew’s life more complicated, since his students possess a wide range of abilities in both English and mathematics.
  • Liew, who discovered MIT OpenCourseWare several years ago while searching the Internet for self-study resources in math and physics, sometimes uses MIT OCW video lectures to supplement his teaching. Because the topics are difficult, and the students’ grasp of spoken English imperfect, Liew finds that he often has to narrate the videos as they play.
  • “Since a few lectures in the introductory level courses on OCW are similar to our syllabi, and because I like the way the lecturers conduct their lessons,” Liew explains, “I sometimes use the lectures in the classroom. I let the students watch a lecture — for example, the 18.03 Differential Equations video — accompanied by my own explanations.”
  • Liew readily admits that the MIT OCW video lectures are sometimes too difficult for his students to fully grasp. But at the very least, he believes, the lectures introduce students to another approach to education. “OCW provides a chance for the students, who never learned in an English-speaking environment, to get an idea of how it would be when studying abroad,” he explains. In addition, Liew sometimes steers his most gifted students to other courses on the site to supplement their education. For example, he recently introduced a talented student to Course 18.06 – Linear Algebra.
  • The students are not the only beneficiaries. Liew, whose own education took place in Malaysia and Taiwan (a bachelor’s of science in mathematics in Taiwan, and a master’s of science in statistics in Malaysia), also appreciates MIT OCW because it allows him to experience a Western approach to teaching: “The Western style spends more time on ‘ideas’ than ‘examples.’ Here, we spend 20 percent of the time introducing ideas and 80 percent in demonstrating these ideas through examples. At MIT, most of the time is spent on clarifying the ideas, and very few examples are given during the lectures.”
  • Liew has only limited freedom to change his teaching approach, due to the tight syllabus-related constraints that he must work within. Even so, he says, OCW has been a very important resource to him: “The impact on my mind,” he concludes, “has been great.”
  • 15
  • Empowering Minds
  • Educator Use
  • Kian Wah Liew
  • A secondary school mathematics teacher in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, he uses OCW to provide his students clear explanations of complex concepts, such as matrices, determinants, and differential equations.
  • 16
  • Empowering Minds
  • Educator Use
  • “Because I like the way the lecturers conduct their lessons, I sometimes use the lectures in the classroom. I let the students watch a lecture — for example, the 18.03 Differential Equations video — accompanied by my own explanations.”
  • 16
  • Empowering Minds
  • Educator Use
  • Full Case Study - NOT FOR PROJECTION
  • Filling the management void - Ludmila Matiash, educator and management consultant in Kiev, Ukraine
  • More than 15 years after the Soviet economic system dissolved, management professionals and educators in Ukraine are defining a new paradigm for business. Ludmila Matiash and her colleagues at the Internet project Management: Methodology and Practice are addressing the need for resource materials on management education and organizational transformation in Ukraine.
  • “Universities can’t respond fast enough to the needs of businesses here. Educators are redesigning their curricula but teaching methods take longer to change,” Matiash explained. “As management consultants we were experimenting with ways to improve our training and found OpenCourseWare. We were inspired by the philosophy of the approach and the strategic implications. So we began to introduce the concept of open knowledge to Ukrainian institutions."
  • The legacy of the Soviet university system left a void in business education. “Business management is a new phenomenon in Ukraine — a completely different mentality. This calls for new skills and new thinking,” Matiash said. “We started Management.com.ua because our business clients needed these materials. Soon we realized that the Web site is a change tool. We get to define what modern business management in Ukraine should be like.”
  • Management.com.ua serves as a learning community in the Ukrainian, Russian, and English languages, offering Internet forum discussions on such topics as leadership and authority, quality issues, and motivating employees, to name a few. “We think we can form interesting discussion groups around the use of OCW materials,” Matiash said. “If the process is moderated well, this would add value to different audiences.”
  • For example, the preparatory questions and materials from MIT OCW's Course 15.269: Literature, Ethics, and Authority are helpful training and pedagogical tools. “Business leaders here are experimenting with the guiding principles of decision-making and leadership,” Matiash said. “If we include examples from Ukrainian literature and historical experience we make the discussions relevant and more meaningful.”
  • Management.com.ua already offered users an Internet glossary of management and business terms in translated Ukrainian before MIT OCW, but now, with the help of MIT materials and other sources, Matiash and her colleagues have upgraded the dictionary to be more interdisciplinary. “We're adding entries which define key principles of organizational development, including concepts from [MIT faculty] Peter Senge and Stephen Covey,” she explained.
  • Born in the United States after her parents emigrated from Ukraine, Matiash first went to Ukraine in 1992 with the Peace Corps. She later worked for the World Bank and served with Management.com.ua in Kyiv for six years.
  • 15
  • Empowering Minds
  • Educator Use
  • Ludmila Matiash
  • Educator and management consultant in Kiev, Ukraine, uses OCW to address the need for resource materials on management education and organizational transformation.
  • 16
  • Empowering Minds
  • Educator Use
  • “Universities can’t respond fast enough to the needs of businesses here. Teaching methods take longer to change. We were inspired by the philosophy and strategic implications of the OCW approach so we began to introduce the concept to Ukrainian institutions."
  • 16
  • Empowering Minds
  • Educator Use
  • Full Case Study - NOT FOR PROJECTION
  • Teaching teachers in Guatemala
  • Waleska Aldana Segura, educator at the University of San Carlos
  • For more than 300 years, since its establishment in 1676, the University of San Carlos has served as the center of higher education in Guatemala. In the past half century, it has also been a place where alternative opinions can be voiced, and new realities envisioned. 
  • But the institution also has limitations, many related to its age and relative isolation. Waleska Aldana Segura, a professor of physics at San Carlos, runs up against these limitations in the thermodynamics class she offers for physics instructors. “When you try to teach certain subjects and you don’t have labs, or equipment, or any kind of visualization,” she explains, “the students end up lacking the expertise necessary for their future success as physics professors.”
  • Segura therefore found herself looking for resources to supplement her teaching. Her first Internet explorations led her to the International Center for Theoretical Physics E-journal service in 2001, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory Web site, but these resources often proved too highly specialized for her students’ needs.
  • Then, three years ago, she discovered MIT’s OpenCourseWare initiative through a Google search — and the effects of that discovery have been transformative. In Segura’s thermodynamics class, for example, the students regularly use simulations from MIT courses to explore complex physical phenomena. For the first time, Segura’s students can actually see what’s happening, even without access to a high-tech laboratory. This past semester, Segura also used the syllabus and exams from MIT OCW’s Course 3.00 – Thermodynamics of Materials and Course 3.205 – Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Materials for her own thermodynamics class. Some of Segura’s indigenous students balk at using course materials in English; in these cases, Universia’s Spanish language resources have provided a crucial alternative.
  • Segura is also involved in a long-term initiative to implement a faculty of education at the University of San Carlos — and in this context, too, MIT OCW is proving an invaluable resource. Guatemala’s mountainous terrain makes travel arduous — and underscores the potential importance of online communication. Segura hopes to implement a site similar to MIT OCW at the University of San Carlos, to allow students from all over Guatemala to access the university without the difficulty and expense of daily travel. This concept has the potential to transform education in Guatemala — and according to Segura, MIT OCW is an important inspiration as the program moves forward. “The fact that MIT provides these materials, from so far away, without cost,” she says, “is simply extraordinary.”
  • 15
  • Empowering Minds
  • Educator Use
  • Waleska Aldana Segura
  • Physics professor at the University of San Carlos, Guatemala, overcomes the financial and facility limitations of her institution with OCW.
  • 16
  • Empowering Minds
  • Educator Use
  • “When you try to teach certain subjects and you don’t have labs, or equipment, or any kind of visualization, students end up lacking the expertise necessary for their future success. That MIT provides these materials, from so far away, without cost is simply extraordinary.
  • 16
  • Empowering Minds
  • Educator Use
  • Full Case Study - NOT FOR PROJECTION
  • Recovering precious minutes of class time
  • Hemalatha Thiagarajan, National Institute of Technology in Tiruchirappalli, India
  • Hemalatha Thiagarajan first discovered MIT’s OpenCourseWare Web site several years ago during an Internet search for materials on artificial intelligence. A professor of mathematics and computer science at the National Institute of Technology Tiruchirappalli, in Tamil Nadu, India, Thiagarajan was dissatisfied with the traditional textbook on artificial intelligence, and was hoping to find materials to supplement her lectures.
  • The MIT OCW materials she found for Course 6.825 – Techniques in Artificial Intelligence were just what she was looking for, and she quickly adapted several PowerPoint presentations and lectures to fit her syllabus. To her surprise, however the materials didn’t just improve the content of her lectures; they also allowed her to cover more material in the same number of classes. “I used to spend a lot of class time drawing the pictures on the board,” Thiagarajan confesses. “In data structures, for example, I need to show a lot of pictures of data trees and structures, and I had to draw all of them. Here, with the click of a button, I can show them something which has been very neatly and very beautifully done.”
  • Initially, Thiagarajan notes, the students were not entirely happy with her new approach. “For the first month,” she recalls, with evident amusement, “many of them felt that the course was moving too fast. Obviously, when I have to write everything on the board, I go more slowly, so they get a lot of time to follow the whole thing. When I use the slides, everything moves more quickly.”
  • In the end, though, Thiagarajan received rave reviews from her students — both on the amount of material she was able to cover, and the quality of the MIT materials.
  • Thiagarajan also has found that MIT OCW is a valuable resource for students who would benefit from a deeper look at a particular topic. In her own teaching, Thiagarajan is constrained by a rigid university syllabus. So when a topic emerges in class that she cannot spend enough time on, she is quick to steer her students to MIT OCW. “I’ve told my students that some of the OCW courses would be very, very useful for them. Things like, for example, database management, or microprocessors. I can’t cover these topics fully enough, but they’re important to the students. And when the students do follow up, and look at the material, they find it very useful.”
  • 15
  • Empowering Minds
  • Educator Use
  • Hemalatha Thiagarajan
  • Professor of mathematics and computer science at the National Institute of Technology Tiruchirappalli, India, recommends the OCW site as a resource to her students for study beyond the rigid school syllabus.
  • 16
  • Empowering Minds
  • Educator Use
  • “I’ve told my students that some of the OCW courses would be very, very useful for them--things like, for example, database management, or microprocessors. And students do follow up, and look at the material.
  • 16
  • Empowering Minds
  • Educator Use
  • Full Case Study - NOT FOR PROJECTION
  • Points of access in the developing world
  • François Viruly, University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa
  • As director of Viruly Consulting — a leading South African real estate analysis firm — property economist François Viruly has acquired extensive experience in the South African commercial real estate market over the past decade. Viruly is passionate about his field, and makes an effort to share his expertise with students at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, as well as the University of Cape Town and the University of Pretoria.
  • One of Viruly’s regular courses is a property investment module for graduate students at the University of the Witwatersrand. When Viruly first began teaching the module several years ago, he chose as his textbook Commercial Real Estate Analysis & Investments, a graduate-level real estate text written by MIT Professor David Geltner. As Viruly began to design the module as a complement to the text, he came across MIT’s OpenCourseWare, and was excited to discover that the author himself had already structured a course, Course 11.431J – Real Estate Finance and Investment, to fit the text. Viruly readily adapted a similar structure to fit his module.
  • “OCW is just a great system,” declares Viruly. “It opens up knowledge across the world, which I think is critical. And it allows universities like ours—and I think this is important by itself—to benchmark our teaching. It gives us confidence that we’re in close contact with the international body of knowledge, and international standards. In addition, it assures the students that they are receiving high-quality instruction. What it really means to them is that we are following a course and a methodology which is of the highest caliber.”
  • Asked if real estate instruction can really follow the same model in countries as different as the United States and South Africa, Viruly admits that there are some crucial distinctions. “Obviously, some of the course material is focused on the United States,” he agrees. “We have specific issues in a developing country, and so we complement the OCW materials with South African material, and substitute different assignments. Nevertheless, I think the OCW model is especially important in developing cultures. It can make such a difference to students here to have access to the best professors in the world.”
  • 15
  • Empowering Minds
  • Educator Use
  • François Viruly
  • Instructor at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, uses OCW
  • to benchmark his Commercial Real Estate Analysis and Investments class.
  • 16
  • Empowering Minds
  • Educator Use
  • OCW gives us confidence that we’re in close contact with the international body of knowledge. It assures students that they are receiving high-quality instruction that follows a methodology which is of the highest caliber.”
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