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8.01T Scheduled To Replace 8.01 in ’05

By Michael Snella

The physics department has revised their Technology Enhanced Active Learning program to address student feedback from this spring and now plans to completely replace 8.01 lecture with the TEAL format in 2005.

“Due to the flack we received after 8.02T, we did not want to repeat the experience,” said John W. Belcher, TEAL principal investigator, and as a result he said the department decided to push back the original date for the changeover.

This summer the physics department organized focus groups using recent TEAL graduates to receive feedback on both 8.01T and 8.02T, said Senior Lecturer Peter Dourmashkin, which led to changes in both classes even though 8.01T received less criticism.

The enrollment in 8.01T currently stands at 163, up from 152 last fall.

“Students take 8.01T because it creates a way for them to get to meet other students in an academic activity and learn to discuss,” Dourmashkin said.

Belcher said that training sessions for TEAL faculty, which began on Sept. 10, focus on teaching in a collaborative format and addressing common group problems.

“Last year was the course’s first year. This year we are trying to do things in a more systematic, unified way,” Dourmashkin said. “This year we have a more rhythmic schedule.”

Addressing student complaints about experiments, the general format has shifted to better accommodate student needs.

“The number of experiments has been decreased from eighteen to thirteen, a one third reduction,” Belcher said.

8.01T to expand to Stata Center

A second TEAL studio being built in the Stata Center will fulfill the need for additional space as 8.01T phases in as the complement to 8.02T in 2005.

The 3,000 square foot classroom will be similar to the existing studio except for some minor modifications. “We had to adjust the space. We have spent more time learning from design issues. The entrance is more thought out and planned,” Dourmashkin said.

“We put a lot of effort into getting the projectors tuned up and replaced with better models as we go forward,” Belcher said.

The Stata studio will come equipped with ten projection screens, compared to eight in the current studio in 26-152. The design change will allow instructors to convey information on five dual-screen pairs.

Students approve of new format

Generally, students currently enrolled in 8.01T have reacted positively to the class.

“It’s a little smaller, a little more personal,” than 8.01 said Julie C. Arsenault ’08, who chose 8.01T after talking with her advisor.

“The class encourages personal collaboration and interactive experimentation, not something you get in most MIT classrooms,” said Anthony J. Quivers ’08.

However, students are still wary about the technology portion of the TEAL program. “It takes some time getting used to not looking at the professor but at a video screen,” said Arsenault, who added that the Sunday due date for homework was also unconventional.