In November, President L. Rafael Reif announced the creation of ODL to explore the opportunities presented by emerging learning technologies to transform education at MIT. OEIT’s focus on developing innovative technology to support curricular innovation and improve student learning directly aligns with ODL’s goals.
Vijay Kumar, senior strategic advisor and director of OEIT, describes the role of OEIT as “enabling sustainable educational innovation.” He explained, “We not only partner with faculty in developing interactive content and applications, but also in making sure that the innovations or the learnings from them can be shared widely.” Described as an “incubator for educational innovation,” OEIT collaborates with faculty, staff and students to devise and share technology-enabled solutions to educational challenges.
According to Daniel Hastings, dean of undergraduate education, in whose office OEIT currently resides, “[OEIT has] brought much to our mission and sense of community, and [has] helped us and the faculty implement numerous innovative educational technology approaches.” A sampling of OEIT’s work is available in its Gallery of Educational Innovation.
The OEIT staff has been active in contributing to the vision of MITx. During the early stages of MITx planning, senior officers engaged OEIT to help define MITx and discuss a strategy to support faculty interested in moving their class content online. The MIT Council on Education Technology (MITCET), of which OEIT is an active participant, launched experiments to understand the potential impact and benefits of incorporating online teaching tools into an MIT education. Kumar explains that the transition to ODL will “place educational technology and institutional change closer to the academic operations of the Institute.”
Sanjay Sarma, director of digital learning, expressed great enthusiasm for the move of OEIT to ODL. “For years, OEIT has been a force for innovation in education and educational technology,” he said. “We are excited to have OEIT join the ODL family. While continuing their current mission, Vijay and his team will enable us to accelerate the advancement of MITx.”
Faculty, staff and students who rely on OEIT for support should notice no disruption in the office’s services. The transition should, in fact, enhance OEIT’s ability to support the MIT community in its continued pursuit of educational innovation.