MIT's commitment to innovative developments in educational technology has received another boost with establishment of the Educational Media Creation Center (EMCC), announced by Provost Brown.
The EMCC brings together the multimedia and web-based production resources of Information Systems' Academic Computing and the Hypermedia Teaching Facility in the Center for Advanced Educational Services (CAES). The EMCC will become the "one-stop-shop" for MIT faculty and staff seeking assistance in creating web-based educational environments. Financing for these efforts will come from competitive awards from specially designated provost funds, faculty and department-generated support, and outside sources.
The EMCC, headquartered in Rm 9-250, will support production of sustainable media- and web-based educational materials. As a production and service unit, it will help develop and execute experiments with technology in the educational landscape. These experiments will guide the direction of how MIT educates its students, both on campus and off, in the context of emerging technologies and new opportunities.
Co-directors of the EMCC are Dr. Vijay Kumar, director of Academic Computing, and Dr. Richard C. Larson, director of CAES and professor of electrical engineering.
The EMCC core team includes Dr. Nishikant Sonwalkar, founding director of the Hypermedia Teaching Facility; Anne Lavin and Katie Livingston of Academic Computing; Rae Wiggins of the Hypermedia Teaching Facility; Michael Barker, leader of the IS Athena Software team and the interim operational manager; and staff drawn from both IS and CAES. Operational and strategic oversight for the EMCC will come from a team comprising the co-directors, the operational manager and the provost. The recently formed Council on Educational Technology will also provide guidance to this team.
ARRAY OF EXPERTISE
The EMCC core team brings together competencies for instructional design, implementation of information technology, development of multimedia applications and project management. Where additional specialized expertise is needed, the EMCC will link up with other MIT units such as the CAES's Center for Educational Computing Initiatives, MIT Video Productions (MVP) and the Libraries, or with external vendors. With these resources of people and technology on the campus, faculty members who are developing innovative and experimental applications of academic technology can direct many aspects of production and support to the EMCC.
The center will work to create the technology platforms and support structures to handle the faculty's educational initiatives and experiments. These platforms will be designed to be sustainable and robust, scalable and highly customizable, and will be able to integrate the particular needs and tools of the individual project. Maintenance and enhancement of educational content will become easier with a platform that is stable and sustainable over time, even in the presence of technological change. Such a platform will also enable more diversity of educational environments without having to constantly retool or reinvent the technology itself.
"The EMCC's role is positioning MIT to respond to and shape the possibilities for education in terms of new technology, new applications, and new communities of learners and scholars," Dr. Kumar said. "An example of the latter is the EMCC's emerging role in supporting the Singapore-MIT Alliance and the System Design and Management program, with their reliance on technologies that facilitate distance learning. Within MIT itself, the EMCC stands ready to apply its resources to developing new courseware applications for use on campus."
"I'm particularly excited that MIT is now building a support infrastructure in technology-enabled teaching and learning unsurpassed in the university community," Professor Larson said. "The EMCC, as a state-of-the-art production unit, nicely complements all the other resources we now have on campus. These include the consulting resources of IS, the R&D capabilities of the Center for Educational Computing Initiatives, the video production capabilities of MVP, and the streaming video webcast capabilities of a new 5-terabyte 'video server farm' of CAES."
For more information about the Educational Media Creation Center, contact Dr. Kumar at x3-8004 or email@example.com; Professor Larson at x3-3604 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Mr. Barker at x3-0119 or email@example.com.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 6, 1999.