MIT Open Learning
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MIT Open Learning

2022 MIT Teaching With Digital Technology Awards

Congratulations to all our student-nominated winners!

Trees covered in pink blossoms
Spring on the MIT campus. Photo by Gretchen Ertl

MIT’s Teaching with Digital Technology Awards are student-nominated awards for faculty and instructors who have effectively used digital technology to improve teaching and learning at MIT. Co-sponsored by Open Learning and the Office of the Vice Chancellor, the goal is to recognize our educators for their innovations and to give the MIT community the opportunity to learn from their practices.

This year, students submitted 207 nominations, representing 5 schools, 12 departments, and 15 different subject areas. A panel of student judges reviewed to select the winners.

The 15 winners of the 2022 Teaching with Digital Technology Award are:

Takako Aikawa, Senior Lecturer, Global Languages, 21G.505
Ana Bell, Senior Lecturer, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 6.S061
Daniel Frey, Professor, Mechanical Engineering, 2.086
Joey Gu, Lecturer, Chemical Engineering, 10.50
Steven Johnson, Professor, Mathematics, 18.369
Maxine Jonas, Lecturer, Biological Engineering, 20.309
Axel Kilian, Visiting Assistant Professor, Architecture, 4.117
Brett McGuire, Assistant Professor, Chemistry, 5.111
Shuhei Ono, Professor, Earth Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, 12.835
Alexander “Sasha” Rakhlin, Professor, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, 9.S979
Ray Reagans, Professor / Associate Dean for DEI, Management, 15.312
Leanna Rezvani, Lecturer II, Global Languages, 21G.301
Emma Teng, Professor / Section Head, Global Languages and History, 21G.S04 and 21H.352
Basima Tewfik, Assistant Professor, Management, 15.665
Steven Wasserman, Lecturer, Biological Engineering, 20.309

A white man in a suit sits in front of a window with a white background
MIT Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz speaks at the awards luncheon

“It is really wonderful with all the effort that people have put in on both sides of the teaching and learning equation, how many students are so thankful for the efforts of so many faculty across MIT. I mean the numbers of nominations we were receiving are really terrific for this award,” said Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz. “Students write nominations for faculty, for instructors, people who use live coding, video clips, online notes, circuit building, augmented reality games, Kami, Perusall, and in ways that aid their learning right. And that’s really the focus of it: people who are doing things that are advancing students’ learning.”

At an award ceremony on May 24, Vice Chancellor Waitz shared a summary from each winner’s nomination.

Takako Aikawa taught concepts in videos and made the information relevant to students’ lives. “The instructor would hand-make videos reviewing grammar concepts and how to write different kanji characters,” a student shared.

Ana Bell used live coding and questions to foster interaction with students. A student said, “She is literally the best professor I have had at my time at MIT.”

Daniel Frey created video clips to teach concepts and used live demos in class. “Prof. Frey is dedicated to teaching with a combined strategy of digital technologies,” said a student.

Joey Gu designed manipulable lecture notes online that help students with difficult concepts. A student said, “[He] created lecture references that could be referenced and manipulated online (seeing how solution behavior changed with varying Reynolds number for example).”

Steven Johnson created a well-organized course with github. “Overall, [18.369 is] my favorite course so far at MIT. [The course is] well-taught, nicely organized, and [has] clear expectations,” shared a student.

Maxine Jonas and Steven Wasserman designed hands-on experiences for students to build circuits and use dichromatic mirrors. A student shared, “Professor Wasserman and Professor Jonas led the most organized and supportive course I have taken so far.”

Axel Kilian used tools such as AR, lab tutoring, and Miro to make the learning experience friendly to students. A student said, “In class, technologies like augmented reality and different interfaces are introduced along with the lab tutoring physical sensors and devices, which greatly alleviate the exhausting zoom fatigue.”

Brett McGuire designed slides to ask questions and walk students through formulas in an entertaining way. “When reflecting on my experiences at MIT, I can conclusively say that my time in 5.111 with Prof. McGuire was the best one I’ve had so far,” said a student.

Students shared that Shuhei Ono Created homemade sensors that they could use to learn regardless of where they lived.

Students offered high praise for Sasha Rakhlin and for his ability to make complex material understandable to them.

Ray Reagans used a software program to increase student engagement and understanding. A student said, “Not only was Prof. Reagans himself incredibly engaging and skilled in teaching, when we used technology, it also followed suit.”

Leanna Rezvani used songs, poems, and games to support language learning. “Moreover, prior to every exam, she would conduct an online puzzle/quiz game in which all the students participated through their phones, and that quiz helped prepare well for the exam,” said a student.

Emma Teng fostered collaborative learning through tools such as Kami, PubPub, timelines, and Perusall. A student shared, “I’ve never taken a class that uses this many technological features and am very grateful for them.”

Basima Tewfik created an environment where students were engaged and would remember the content for years to come. A student said, “[Professor] distilled the art of negotiating into an extremely impactful semester. [I took away] lessons I will use for the rest of my life both professionally and personally.”

From left to right: Axel Kilian and Basima Tewfik, Sheryl Barnes and Shuhei Ono, Ana Bell and Leanna Rezvani

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