This Course at MIT

This Course at MIT pages provide context for how the course materials published on OCW were used at MIT. They are part of the OCW Educator initiative, which seeks to enhance the value of OCW for educators.

Course Overview

This page focuses on the course 11.124 Introduction to Education: Looking Forward and Looking Back on Education as it was taught in Fall 2011 by Professor Erik Klopfer. Most content on this page also applies to the course 11.125 Introduction to Education: Understanding and Evaluating Education.

This course is an introductory course on teaching and learning science and mathematics in a variety of K-12 settings. Topics include education and media, education reform, the history of education, simulations, games, and the digital divide. This course is required for the Scheller Teacher Education Program (STEP) at MIT, through which students can earn a teaching license.

Course Outcomes

Course Goals for Students

  • Sustained interest in education, grounded in knowledge of educational theories, history, and current events
  • Understanding of a wide range of teaching and learning styles
  • Appreciation for the constructivist approach, particularly hands-on, project-based, collaborative work
  • Ability to pursue further courses, work, or other experiences related to education

Possibilities for Further Study and Careers

Courses at MIT:

Expand/Collapse

Professional possibilities:

  • Initial teaching certification in Massachusetts through the STEP program, completed by 8-12 students per year
  • Careers in education, teaching, or educational technology
  • Volunteer work or other involvement in education
 

Curriculum Information

Prerequisites

None

Requirements Satisfied

Offered

  • Every fall

The Classroom

  • In this medium-sized classroom, six rows of seats are visible. Each row has six to seven chairs with attached desks. At the front, there is a small table and two columns of sliding chalkboards.

    11.124 is taught in a classroom that seats 60. Seats are often rearranged to accommodate small-group work and a range of activities.

 

Student Information

On average, about 25 students take this course each year.

Breakdown by Degree Program

All undergraduate students, mostly sophomores and juniors.

Breakdown by Major

Varies

Typical Student Background

  • Strong background in science and math, as is typical of MIT students
  • Interested in education

Enrollment Cap

Student interest in the Scheller Teacher Education Program (STEP), including 11.124, has grown significantly in the past decade alongside increasing interest in education and social issues among the overall MIT student population. For 11.124 in particular, enrollment has surged, with 60-70 students trying to enroll in the Fall 2012 offering. A decade earlier, the course instructors had to advertise extensively to gather a class of 20 students. The class is capped at 25 students due to CI-H limitations. Students are selected based on interest in education, interest in the full STEP program, and seniority.

Ideal Class Size

About 25 students. In past classes with 12-14 students, there wasn’t enough diversity of opinion; in past classes with 32-35 students, it was difficult for everyone to be an active part of class discussions.

 
 

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

In Class

3 hours per week
  • Two class sessions per week; 1.5 hours per session; 26 class sessions total.

Distribution of class time:

  • 1/3: Student-led discussions and activities (Current Events and Chapter Readings)
  • 1/6: Instructor-initiated discussions
  • 1/4: Student Teaching (Modes of Teaching activity)
  • 1/4: Other in-class activities
 

Out of Class

9 hours per week
 

Semester Breakdown

WEEK M T W Th F
1 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled.
2 No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled.
3 No session scheduled. Class session. No classes throughout MIT. Class session. No session scheduled.
4 No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled. Class session; assignment due. No session scheduled.
5 No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled. Class session; assignment due. No session scheduled.
6 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No session scheduled. Class session; assignment due. No session scheduled.
7 No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled.
8 No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled. Class session; assignment due. No session scheduled.
9 No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled. Class session; assignment due. No session scheduled.
10 No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled. Class session; assignment due. No classes throughout MIT.
11 No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled. Class session; assignment due. No session scheduled.
12 No session scheduled. Class session; assignment due. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
13 No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled.
14 No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled. Class session. No session scheduled.
15 No session scheduled. Class session; assignment due. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
16 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
Displays the color and pattern used on the preceding table to indicate dates when classes are not held at MIT. No classes throughout MIT
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when class sessions are held. Class session
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when no class session is scheduled. No class session scheduled
Displays the symbol used on the preceding table which indicates dates when assignments are due. Assignment due
 

Instructor Insights


Prof. Klopfer shares his thoughts at the end of a student-led discussion. (Image courtesy of MIT OpenCourseWare.)

In the following pages, Professor Eric Klopfer discusses specific aspects of his experience as the lead course instructor.

 

Course Team Roles

Instructors (Prof. Eric Klopfer and Wendy Huang)

To inspire and encourage student learning and comprehension of the content covered in class. To design the syllabus and course content, create the assignments, lead in-class activities, and facilitate discussion.

  • Prof. Eric Klopfer: To handle the majority of day-to-day class activities.
  • Wendy Huang: To specifically handle the math-based units and student teaching portions of the course.

Teaching Assistant (Jason Haas)

To help prepare some materials, facilitate discussion, and work with the main instructors to grade and provide feedback on student papers.

Writing Tutor (Jo-Ann Graziano)

To lead a few in-class writing activities. To work with students outside of class to develop their drafts into polished final papers.