First Year Design Course at MIT


[MUSIC PLAYING] [SIDE CONVERSATION] This class is designing
the first year. And we’re trying to
look at the first year, assess the needs of
various stakeholders who are invested in the
first year experience and try to address those
needs by providing solutions. I had a really
rough freshman year. So when I heard
about this class, I was really interested in
making the freshman year better for other students. Coming in it was kind of
a nebulous idea, right. I felt like almost anything
could come out of this class. We found a lot of
problems in freshman year advising in both
building that relationship between the advisor
and the freshman because it’s a two-way street. The advisors have to reach out. But the freshmen need to be
invested in that relationship as well. It’s like people tell you don’t
talk about religion or politics when you’re at the
family reunion. Don’t talk about the GIRs. We hope to give freshmen a
greater sense of confidence when they’re going off and
choosing their major at the end of their freshman year. Welcome to the
final presentations of designing the
first year at MIT. The students in this class
were creative and rigorous in understanding the
different stakeholder needs and developing concepts. And I’m very excited
for everyone here to hear about their
recommendations for the first year. [APPLAUSE] I’m Eric. And along with Coral,
Shane, Gonzo, and Ari, we’re here to present
MIT Explorer to you. And I think what happened and
what I was really surprised by was how much people developed
an understanding of how my MIT works and
what was possible. And the final concepts I think
were very realistic points that really will make
MIT better for freshman. Our first recommendation is to
have a campus wide discussion about what should be
the purpose of the GIRs. Three unit exploratory seminars. They’re half as many hours per
week as a traditional class for half the semester. Things like this are already
being run to great effect by Craig Carter in course three
and Linda Griffith in course 20 to help expose undergraduates
to smaller majors they might not have heard of before. We built MIT Explorer, an online
shopping portal for activities that at MIT where instead
of spending money, you spend your 168
hours per week, allowing you to plan your time
efficiently and effectively. For advisors, we recommend
a group-based training with discussion activities
such as role play to help simulate
advisor-advisee interactions. For students, we recommend
summer online training to make them more comfortable
and confident when interacting with their advisors. Students can
prototype small parts of their future using
existing resources in an advising seminar. To provide first years
with an experience that would be unlike any
other, where they could get hands-on, engaging,
inspiring work that was project based,
but more structured than the current UROP system. So our recipe for change is that
we should make the science GIRs P/NR any time and offer these
alternative class formats as it will increase flexibility
and exploration for first-year students and
allow students to customize their MIT experience that best
represents their interests and needs. Yesterday I had the
opportunity to present at the academic council and
that was a really exciting way to kind of inform important
people at MIT of what’s been going on in this class. And they seemed really
excited about change and recognized that there
was a need for change. I mean, we’re sitting at
the forefront of change at one of the finest
institutions in the world and just being able to
say I was a part of that, just being able to say I
helped make that change at MIT. This is crazy. I know I came here
to go to school, but little did I know I can also
help the future and change — completely reform
the way the students are taught in the future. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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