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MIT reorganizes academic computing services

Academic computing services at MIT have recently been realigned to better support educational innovation and improve responsiveness to faculty and students. Over the past several years, many educational technology projects, organizations and services have evolved and matured. These include initiatives such as iCampus, as well as services such as videoconferencing and the Stellar course management system. The organizational changes will address the sustainability of these projects and services, while providing a collaborative environment for exploring new options.

Based on recommendations of a committee appointed by the provost, the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education (DUE) now leads and promotes educational technology innovation at MIT. The DUE has formed an Office of Educational Innovation and Technology (OEIT), which is staffed primarily by the educational consulting and software development groups formerly in the Academic Computing group in Information Services & Technology. This office will work closely with the Teaching and Learning Lab and the Office for Faculty Support. Academic Media Production Services (AMPS), with the exception of Stellar, is now part of the MIT Libraries. IS&T will continue to maintain academic computing clusters, including Athena clusters. The Stellar development team has moved from AMPS to IS&T's infrastructure software development and architecture group. See story on OEIT, page 6.

The Office of the DUE, the Libraries and IS&T are committed to working together to ensure responsive and seamless academic computing services. Toward this end, the Academic Computing Coordinating group (ACCORD) has been established, initially with representatives from OEIT, the Libraries and IS&T. ACCORD will work closely with faculty and staff to ensure that the combined academic computing service portfolio offered by the DUE, the Libraries and IS&T supports their perspectives on academic computing at MIT. A key goal of ACCORD is to move innovation from the lab into the classroom more effectively, while allowing faculty and students to take a more active role in designing and experimenting with technology for teaching and learning. ACCORD welcomes input from the community. Anyone with questions about academic computing services, can reach the group at

MIT's Council on Educational Technology (MITCET) will develop a review process for setting priorities in educational technology; this process will be administered by the dean for undergraduate education. MITCET brings focus and commitment to MIT's educational technology initiatives by providing strategic guidance to program and infrastructure initiatives designed to enhance the quality of an MIT education; coordinating Institute-wide educational experiments and programs; and assessing the effectiveness of educational technology initiatives.

Additionally, the dean for undergraduate education, with the assistance of the vice president for information services and technology, will prepare an annual report of educational technology spending. This report will be presented to MITCET and the Information Technology Strategic Planning and Resources Coordinating Council (IT-SPARCC) for their subsequent recommendation to the provost and executive vice president. IT-SPARCC functions as the strategic coordinating body for information technology at MIT.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 14, 2007 (download PDF).

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