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Enhancing the First Year at MIT

One of the key priorities of OVC is to engage with students and departments to develop and pursue a roadmap for enhancing the first-year undergraduate academic experience.

Progress to Date

CUP Experiment

In August of 2018 the Committee on the Undergraduate Program (CUP) agreed to move forward with an experiment to investigate ways to promote greater exploration in the first-year undergraduate experience.

The proposal was made possible through a marvelous collaboration between students, faculty, staff and administrators over the last year and incorporates some specific recommendations from the Designing the First Year at MIT course (spring FYE ’18).

IAP Design Course

DFY: Fun-Sized (2.s974/2.s790) is a 3-unit follow-up to the original Designing the First-Year Experience at MIT class offered in Spring 2018.

The class will focus on exploring ideas for radical changes to the first-year experience that could be piloted with a small group of students, for example in a First-Year Learning Community (FLC), as well as less dramatic changes that could be tested with the entire Class of 2023.

It will be offered in IAP 2019 and will be co-taught by Professor Maria Yang and Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz. The class will be held from 2-5 pm every day for the last two weeks of IAP (1/22-2/1). Class participants are expected to attend every session.

Designing the First Year at MIT Spring 2018 Course

As part of the Office of the Vice Chancellor’s priority on exploring the first year undergraduate experience, MIT offered a spring 2018 course, Designing the First Year at MIT, to surface and leverage students’ own insights and recommendations. Open to all enrolled undergraduate and graduate students, the design-intensive course used the MIT first-year experience as a way to teach different methods for how to examine an issue, understand it better, tease out what constituents prioritize changing, design alternate prototypes, evaluate those, and iterate.

With peers and faculty from across the Institute, students reimagined and redesigned the first-year undergraduate experience; developed new skills in design, learning science, and communication; and presented a final project to senior administration. Learn more about the outcomes of the class and preliminary plans to implement students’ recommendations.

Enhancing First-Year Orientation

Orientation for first-year MIT students now focuses on the importance of exploration.

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