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EdX going forward

The following letter was addressed to The Tech’s editorial board.

Your editorial of October 5 argued that for edX to succeed in transforming residential education, it needs a clear vision of success, developed by the faculty — and I could not agree more. To address this need, the administration is finalizing plans to create a new position, tentatively titled the Director of Online Learning. The post will be held by a member of the faculty, and we expect to announce the appointment within weeks. The Director will work closely with faculty and students to assess our current model of on-campus education and to develop the kind of long-term vision, standards of success, and plans for space and staffing that you call for. This new appointment should be a springboard to a period of intense progress, and I am counting on the collective wisdom and inventiveness of my faculty colleagues and our students from many disciplines to guide us, just as faculty and students led the creation of OCW and of MITx itself.

In his leadership of MITx, Chancellor Grimson already draws on the counsel of a working group composed of faculty from all five Schools as well as a number of students. As I continue my listening tour around the campus, I, too, am actively seeking input and ideas about the best way to blend residential and online education. We have also heard from many faculty members across the Institute who, in the classic spirit of MIT, are eager to get their hands on these new educational tools and experiment with their own courses. In direct response to faculty queries, the Chancellor recently developed and distributed an FAQ document that explains the nuts and bolts of how faculty members can create pilot courses for the soon-to-be-released internal platform called “edX Studio”; these FAQs will be posted on the MITx site, too. What’s more, as part of its mission, edX is energetically collecting and assessing data on how students learn both on campus and online; early results are promising, and the research has only begun. As we continue to explore the possibilities of online learning, we will offer new tools and venues to engage the creativity and expertise of the broader MIT community.

I believe that MIT will invent the future of the residential research university — using our own campus as a laboratory and tapping the energy and insight of our faculty, students, staff, Corporation members and alumni. To arrive at the most inspired answers, we need to begin by continuing to ask questions candidly and by offering possible answers that stimulate a constructive community engagement.

I look forward to being part of this spirited conversation.

L. Rafael Reif

IM Soccer addressed issues

We would like to thank Feras Saad for pointing out some issues with the soccer intramural league in his article “The soccer intramural system needs serious reform.” The IM executive committee has met with the soccer manager and team captains to address and resolve the issues.

There were a number of errors in Feras’ article that we would like to correct:

• Soccer is offered only in the fall and spring seasons, and is currently composed of two leagues in the fall.

• It is the responsibility of team captains to report game scores on Athleague, so there should always be record of a game even if referees don’t show up.

• Sports Managers, the MIT students who “organize sports events for everyone to enjoy” are actually paid for their time.

We apologize for any disorganization within the soccer league this fall. The Soccer Manager is new to MIT Intramural Sports. Managing soccer is complicated by the fact that game locations and times are not consistent week to week. The Manager must manually schedule and create every single game on Athleague.com.

This is a time-consuming process, especially when one is just learning how the whole system works. The Soccer Manager has corrected the issues and the organization should be much improved.

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions about an IM sport, we ask that you first contact the league’s Sports Manager who can quickly resolve your concerns. Their contact information is on the athleague.com page. If the Sports Manager is not helpful or the issue is not specific to a sport, please contact the IM Executive Committee at im-exec@mit.edu. We are here to help you have the most enjoyable IM sports experience possible.

If you would like to be more involved with organizing an Intramural Sport - Manager positions are open to all MIT students.

The MIT Intramural System fosters a low-stress environment for exercise and enjoyment. The primary goal is to have fun, whether you’re playing unihoc, basketball, badminton, or soccer. Get out there and play sports!

Jai Saranadhi ’14, Leah Alpert ’13,
and Quantum Wei ’15
IM Sports Executive Committee