MITx has awarded its second annual Prize for Teaching and Learning in MOOCs (massive open online courses) to two instructors selected from a pool of individuals who made significant contributions to MITx MOOC coursework offered on edX.org during the 2017 calendar year.
The MITx Prize for Teaching and Learning recognizes educators who have developed innovative digital course content that engage online learners around the world through digital classrooms. The award debuted last year as part of the Institute’s effort to encourage the development of new MOOC methods and technologies.
Chris Caplice, executive director of the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics, received the award for his work on the MicroMasters Program in Supply Chain Management. MIT launched the MicroMasters credential in fall of 2015. Since then, more than than 25 universities have also launched MicroMasters programs through edX. The MicroMasters Program in Supply Chain Management includes five courses of 13 weeks each, plus a final comprehensive exam.
Individuals who pass the five courses plus the exam earn the MicroMasters credential and may apply for a master’s degree at MIT and other universities. Caplice notes that online learners can access the same exceptional resources as those taking courses on-campus.
“Each course is rigorous and mirrors what we do in the campus classes here at MIT,” he says.
The award for Caplice praises his “dedication to creating a high-quality learner experience both in the courses and beyond, and his work to ensure the value of the credential through rigorous assessment.”
Justin Reich, executive director of the MIT Teaching Systems Lab, was selected for his work on 11.154x (Launching Innovation in Schools), a six-week course targeted to school leaders including teachers, principals, superintendents, school board members, and others.
“It’s for anyone who wants to make their schools better,” Reich says.
The course was recognized for creating a collaborative environment for educators to take the course in facilitated learning circles, where school leaders are encouraged to take courses and create change together. The course was also lauded for encouraging educators to take specific actions each week that they can implement immediately in their own schools.
“We envision our courses not just a learning experience you do and apply it afterwards,” he explains. “You are encouraged to take what you are learning and immediately start applying it in your context to get feedback and iteratively improve a change initiative together.”
“Chris and I are both really interested in professionals out in the working world who are committed learners,” adds Reich. He also points out that distance learning is not new, having been a part of human learning for over a century from the earliest correspondence courses. “MOOCs like ours are built on that long tradition and we are in our century taking advantage of the new technologies to serve our learners today interested in life-long learning experiences,” he says.
More than 10,000 learners have earned over 20,000 individual course certificates, and 1,062 learners have completed the MicroMasters credential. On June 8, the first group of 40 individuals graduated with a master’s degree in supply chain management under the new blended master’s program.
“This year’s winners reflect the dedication of all of our MITx faculty in sharing the excellence of our on-campus MIT experience with global learners,” says MIT Professor Krishna Rajagopal, dean of digital learning. “Their innovative and timely courses have set a high standard for online learning that influences the whole field of this form of education.”
Anyone interested in more information about MOOCs on MITx is encouraged to visit MIT’s Open Learning site. MIT Open Learning will begin accepting nominations for next year’s prize in early 2019.