Assignments for week 1 of MIT Massive

Annotated Bibliography Proposal

I’m planning to take your advice to align my annotated bibliography with work I’m already doing. There are two directions I could take the assignment, and I would be open to feedback if you feel one would be more appropriate or more productive.

Option 1: A survey of competency based education (CBE)

I’m currently working on a small project with Sanjay Sarma to investigate competency based education or CBE, which is currently a trendy topic in K-16 education. The idea is to investigate how CBE is treated in areas where it has been around for a long time, especially where accurately assessing competency can be a matter of life or death (e.g., for surgeons or airline pilots), and to be able to draw lessons from those fields into K-16 education. When I originally spoke with Sanjay, I had intended to fold the work with him into this class, but I’m no longer 100% set on pursuing it here. This is largely because Sanjay is extremely busy (being named VP of Open Learning recently, in addition to his other responsibilities), and so I’m only able to meet with him every 4-6 weeks. Thus I’m not confident that I would have enough communication with him to be able to align work on the annotated bibliography with the project effectively. If I pursued this project, I would write my annotated bibliography on CBE, with a focus on fields in which CBE is not a new idea.

Option 2: Design-based  research (DBR) approach to improving MITxplore activities

I’m a mentor for MITxplore (, which is a math outreach program for 4th – 6th graders which was started a few years ago by some of my engineering friends/colleagues (who have since graduated). When MITxplore first started, the group had grand visions for how research would be performed to ensure the efficacy of the activities we used, and with sufficient demonstration of the lessons’ effectiveness we would build a framework for the program that could expand beyond MIT. In reality, the “assessment team” stayed involved with MITxplore for only around a year, and we currently modify activities based on gut reactions and debriefing after the sessions. I think it could be very helpful to involve some elements of design-based research (DBR) in improving the activities we use, but I currently know very little about how DBR is implemented in practice. If I pursued this project, I would write my annotated bibliography on DBR, with a focus on applications similar to MITxplore.

Draft Participation Rubric

Personal Compass:

Broadly, I decided to take this class because I am interested in “learning science” (the study of learning) and I would like to be a better teacher. More specifically, I am interested in learning more about cMOOCs, which I know very little about, and in learning about the pedagogies and pitfalls of learning technologies designed to scale. I hope that if I have the opportunity to design curriculum for a MOOC or develop a learning technology intended to scale massively, that this course will provide me with the tools to be successful in that endeavor (or at least more successful than I would’ve been without the class).

Participation Commitments:

I plan to read news articles on education related topics and to share them (and my interpretation of them) with my classmates. I plan to stay active on Twitter over the course of class, and hopefully continue to use it after the class ends. In addition to sharing my thoughts, I’ve already found some new people to follow through whom I’ve found some interesting articles. I also plan to blog, on topics related to the course and topics not directly related to the course, and will share my writing with my classmates. I hope to participate in some online communities beyond the direct purview of the course (Twitter, blog) as well. I hope to read the work of my classmates, discuss with them, and form working relationships that last beyond the end of the course.

Participation Rubric

Criteria Exceeds Expectation Meets Expectation Underperforms Expectation
Read, share, and share thoughts on education articles Share 2+ articles per week, including blogging on my thoughts/reactions to them Share 1-2 articles per week, sometimes including thoughts/reactions Share ~1 article per week or less, only through Twitter with limited explanation of why I found the article interesting
Be an active Twitter user Share resources through Twitter, have dialogues through Twitter, participate in Twitter chats Use Twitter to find interesting articles and to share quick thoughts on resources I find Basically not using Twitter by the end of the course
Blog actively Write high quality blog posts on a diverse range of topics (akin to Matt Might at Utah) Write ~weekly blog posts on topics related to the course (e.g., response to an educational article) Write a small number of blog posts, none of which are particularly in depth
Explore Instructables or a similar online community Post my own DIY project to instructables and write about the experience Try to build one or two DIY projects and write about the experience Explore DIY projects on the site without actually undertaking any of them myself
Engage with classmates Leave the class having developed prospective collaborations with other students in the class Read classmates’ work, comment on it, and dialogue with them through the end of the course and beyond Occasionally read classmates’ work, occasionally leave short comments
Expand understanding of CBE (if I pursue that for grad assignment) Publish academic paper which provides a clear foundation for how to apply CBE in K-16 education Learn about CBE and write a report or long form article on what I’ve learned Learn about CBE, but create no significant content on the topic myself
Improve activity planning of MITxplore (if I pursue that for grad assignment) Implement DBR in MITxplore activity planning and demonstrate measurable improvement in program outcomes Make iteration of MITxplore activity planning more data driven Learn about DBR, but have no/limited implementation in MITxplore


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