Exploration of E-Learning and Other Educational Possibilities at MIT

October 04, 2010

To the MIT faculty and students:

The Institute-wide Planning Task Force set out to uncover new ways for MIT to continue to fulfill its mission while reducing costs, creating new efficiencies and tapping new sources of revenue; in the process, the Task Force identified important and exciting possibilities in a range of areas, including education. Today, I am committing MIT to explore three of these broad educational possibilities through the efforts of two new faculty–led ad hoc study groups and one standing committee, the MIT Council on Educational Technology:

—The new Educational Opportunities Study Group will take an in-depth look at new possible opportunities for our residential campus, ranging from summer offerings to "3+2" programs (in which a student would study for three years at another institution and then for two years at MIT). Professor W. Eric Grimson has graciously agreed to chair this Committee.

—The new MIT-Online Study Group will explore the feasibility of extending MIT's educational leadership, excellence and impact, domestically and worldwide, through the possible use of online tools, and potentially offering different levels of certification using MIT content. Professor Dick K. P. Yue has graciously agreed to chair this Committee.

—Finally, the Task Force identified opportunities to integrate online and other technology-enabled tools into the residential campus and classroom experience with the objective of enhancing the learning experience of our students. I will ask the MIT Council on Educational Technology, co-chaired by Professor Hal Abelson and Dean Daniel E. Hastings, to focus on this topic.

Because all these educational possibilities interrelate, I have asked the three groups to communicate closely with one another and for each to deliver a preliminary report by December 15, 2010, with a final report to follow by April 15, 2011. If you wish to share your views, experience and advice on these important themes, I strongly encourage you to contact committee members directly.

I look forward to sharing the results of their explorations.


L. Rafael Reif