Instructor Insights

Valuing the Contributions of Others

In this section, Professor Tom Kochan discusses how he incorporates the contributions of leaders, colleagues, and students into the course.

Perspectives from Leaders

"One of the smartest things we did in designing the course was to include a video featuring two students sharing their perspectives on what millennials want from their experiences in the workforce."
— Tom Kochan

15.662x includes contributions from many people, including distinguished leaders in the field, such as the U.S. Secretary of Labor, the Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO, and the Director General of the United Nations International Labor Organization. It’s important that we continue to include the perspectives of leaders such as these, because the more we can get people to see that others see work issues as important, the better. MITx on the edX platform is extremely useful in this endeavor, because it’s much easier for leaders to provide their perspectives from their offices in video snippets than it is for them to spend a day traveling to campus. Using MITx means we have the opportunity to reach some very interesting people in new ways.

Millennials Share their Experiences

One of the smartest things we did in designing the course was to include a video featuring two students sharing their perspectives on what millennials want from their experiences in the work force. In the video, they share what the research says millennials want, and then what they hear their peers saying. It’s one of my favorite videos because it captures a contribution to the course that I could not have made myself. I could have said the same words, but my words wouldn’t have had the same impact. Participants needed to hear information about millennials from millennials.

Men and women holding signs that say "Higher Wages," "Collective Bargaining," "5-day Week" and other slogans.

Mural of workers holding placards. (Image courtesy of Kheel Center. License: CC BY.)

Insights from Experts

I firmly believe that valuing the contributions of others enhances the course. I can talk about technology in the workplace, for example, but since we have Erik Brynjolfsson, one of the world’s leading experts on this subject here at the MIT Sloan School of Management, we interviewed him for the course! Similarly, we had MIT’s Scott Stern speak to the topic of entrepreneurship. We had conversations with our colleagues and incorporated their materials into the course. Doing so communicates to students that world-class experts are contributing to the course, that the course content reflects more than just a single instructor’s perspective.

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