The future of MIT education looks more global, modular, and flexible (MIT News)

“The MIT education of the future is likely to be more global in its orientation and engagement, more modular and flexible in its offerings, and more open to experiments with new modes of learning.”

That’s how MIT News summarizes the 16 recommendations of the Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education. Eighteen months ago, MIT President L. Rafael Reif convened this task force to envision the MIT of 2020 and beyond.

Reif released the Task Force’s final report today with a letter to the MIT community, saying the occasion “marks the beginning of an exciting new period of educational experimentation at MIT.” The report’s recommendations aim to lay the groundwork for MIT to reinvent education for future generations of learners both on its campus and beyond.

“The past few years have brought mounting evidence that higher education stands at a crossroads,” Reif wrote. “As with any disruptive technology, MOOCs have been viewed with enthusiasm in many quarters and skepticism in some. However, the underlying facts are inarguable: that the rising cost of education, combined with the transformative potential of online teaching and learning technologies, presents a long-term challenge that no university can afford to ignore.”

“At MIT, we are choosing to meet this challenge directly by assessing the educational model that has served the Institute so well for so long,” Reif added. “We are experimenting boldly with ideas to enhance the education we offer our own students and to lower the barriers to access for learners around the world.”

Among other priorities, the Task Force’s report urges the establishment of an MIT Initiative for Educational Innovation, to foster ongoing experimentation and research in teaching and learning, and recommends that MIT engage with teachers and learners worldwide to broadcast this educational innovation well beyond its own campus.

The report also suggests that MIT consider offering different levels of certification through its online-learning ventures, MITx and edX, and recommends that the Institute redouble its commitment to access and affordability — possibly by increasing MIT’s undergraduate population, which has remained stable for decades despite increasing demand, or by providing flexibility to allow students to complete a traditional undergraduate degree in less than four years…

The MIT News article goes on to explore the report’s specific recommendations in detail, with lots more to say about digital learning, MITx and edX; or you can go straight to the full text of the 219-page final report (PDF).

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