Pedagogy Highlights in Course Introduction Videos

Some OCW courses include a short video in which faculty summarize the objectives, salient features, and pedagogy for their course. These videos establish a richer context for the teaching materials found on the OCW course site, in the same spirit as OCW Educator Instructor Insights.

Following are six introduction videos with noteworthy statements about pedagogy. These videos illustrate the thoughtfulness, creativity, and diversity of teaching approaches among MIT’s faculty.


3.091SC Introduction to Solid State Chemistry (Fall 2010)

Professor Don Sadoway during an interview.
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Don Sadoway spotlights the centrality of interdisciplinary thinking in 21st Century problem solving, and how this shapes the content of his introductory Solid State chemistry course. He also touches on how the content of the curriculum is tailored to meet the needs of students with a wide variety of academic interests. The video concludes with remarks about students’ interest in using a technical education to address real-world problems.



3.A26 Freshman Seminar: The Nature of Engineering (Fall 2005)

Lorna Gibson discussing aspects of the course during the recording.
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Lorna Gibson describes a freshman advising seminar with a service learning component. Freshman advising seminars are special small academic classes that combine academic learning with opportunities to establish closer personal ties between students and their advisor. This particular seminar included a community service component, and Gibson highlights the weekly schedule used to structure this learning experience, noting that connecting with a community organization seems to engage students in the learning process.



4.196 Architecture Design, Level II: Cuba Studio (Spring 2004)

Professor Jan Wampler gives an interview about the course sitting in front of colorful artwork.
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Jan Wampler discusses his philosophy of the teaching of architecture, emphasizing that students should leave the classroom in order to experience and understand the people and climates shaping the spaces in which they work. Wampler also provides an overview of the content of his studio curriculum, which includes lectures, individual consultations with students, classroom discussions about students’ work, and formal reviews in which students receive feedback from faculty and professionals.



4.614 Religious Architecture and Islamic Cultures (Fall 2002)

Professor Rabbat sits in an office in front of bookshelves and photos as he discusses the course.
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Nasser Rabbat discusses how he frames religious architecture and Islamic cultures as a “living tradition” by connecting material to content with which students are already familiar, incorporating current affairs, and extending the traditional end of the survey course to include contemporary architecture. Evaluation methods, including writing assignments, discussions, and exams, are noted.



5.95J Teaching College-Level Science and Engineering (Spring 2009)

Dr. Mahajan sits in a student's desk in a classroom with a chalkboard behind him.
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Sanjoy Mahajan describes his experiences facilitating a course in which students learn about pedagogical approaches to teaching science and engineering at the college level. In this course, notes Mahajan, students approach teaching as a “serious intellectual activity.” Of particular interest is Mahajan’s description of a strategy he uses to formatively assess students’ learning and his own teaching at the end of each course session.



12.000 Solving Complex Problems (Fall 2003)

Professor Kip Hodges sitting in a chair with a wall of bookshelves behind him.
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Kip Hodges discusses a course in which freshmen students, working in teams, use content knowledge to grapple with complex large-scale environmental problems that do not have simple solutions. Special attention is paid to grading practices. Hodges also addresses some of the initial discomfort he routinely experiences when first encouraging students to engage in complex problem solving on their own, as opposed to instructing them directly, and his appreciation for the rich learning that results when he allows students to take ownership of their academic experiences.