The Office of Digital Learning (ODL) offers instructional support services and training for MIT faculty, course teams, staff, and students interested in incorporating technology into the teaching and learning process. These services are available in the context of a specific course or project, as well as for more general strategic needs. Our instructional support services include:

EdX and the Residential MITx platform

The edX and Residential MITx platforms are online learning management systems that can be used to complement both face-to-face and online instruction. The platform can be used to:

  • Provide students with online access to learning materials.

  • Build communities of students with discussion forums and wikis.

  • Assess and track student progress with interactive assessments and solutions.

  • Conduct research to increase pedagogical effectiveness.

  • 'Flip' the classroom to free up valuable in-class time for deeper discussion and project work.

Research documents from an MITx course
Data research to improve MOOCs

Instructional design

When designing an online, on-campus, or blended experience, you’ll want to think about how to best design for the target audience and environment. Instructional design is a systematic process and methodology of designing, developing and delivering instructional materials to align with learning objectives and outcomes. These best practices are typically considered at the start of a digital learning project.

ODL can help course teams make decisions around key design questions such as how to create clear curricula utilizing modularity and measurable learning objectives, how to leverage online tools to ensure a rich and engaging digital learning experience, and how to understand online learner behaviors and motivations. Key research-based practices for teaching and learning are summarized with examples and additional resources . Email the Residential team to learn more.

Media services

Video and other types of media are often a major component of digital learning projects. ODL’s media services teams work collaboratively with faculty and course teams in the creation and management of video-based educational materials. ODL provides consultation to faculty in developing content, and makes recommendations around video approaches and best practices, and end-to-end media workflow.

Take a look at the clip below, highlighting some of the innovative work being done by MITx Media Services.

You can also check out our list of course "About Videos" - short trailers for each MITx on edX course - on YouTube.

Intellectual property

When creating digital projects to be used on campus or around the globe, you’ll probably include some of your own original content and some content created by other people. There are key intellectual property questions to consider at the start of a project:

  • Is the content or work protected by copyright?
  • Is there a license that covers my use?
  • Is my use covered by fair use?
  • Do I need permission from the copyright holder for my use?

Based on your goals, the answers to these questions may vary. For example, intellectual property usage will depend on whether you are planning to use the content in an MIT residential class, in a MOOC (massive open online course), or in a module that might be relicensed or used in fee-based professional education. MIT and ODL have established policies and procedures for IP management specific to each type of digital learning project, and our experts can consult with you on IP issues.

Accessibility

ODL is committed to working with you to provide a learning environment that is accessible to MIT students and global learners with disabilities. In the context of instructional support, accessibility is the practice of considering how learners with disabilities participate in your courses — from reading to doing problem sets, from engaging in discussions with faculty and peers, to coding or building a prototype.

When designing instruction, the best way to avoid barriers for learners with disabilities is to familiarize yourself with the common technology pathways they use to access learning. Learners may have limitations in their ability to hear, see, move, or speak, compared to the typical user -- but pathways exist for them to access our information and content. For example, subtitles, captions, and transcripts provide a visual pathway to video or audio content for learners who are deaf or who have hearing impairments. Electronic text (e-text) formats such as HTML, Text-based PDF, and Word documents provide a pathway for multiple learners to read the text in the way that works best for them:  learners with low vision or colorblindness can magnify, change font size, color or contrast; learners with dyslexia can adjust the line spacing; those with learning disabilities can read with text-to-speech software, and learners who are blind can use screen reading or translate the text to Braille.

ODL provides best practices for how to create accessible pathways to instruction.  After a course is in process, MIT and ODL have procedures to engage with students and learners with disabilities who may request additional learning pathways or who encounter barriers to participation. 

For more information on accessibility best practices or student / learner requests contact:

Mary Ziegler, ODL Program Manager for Online Accessibility. 

MIT Student Disability Services (for MIT residential students)

Tools and software

See Residential MITx and Digital Tools for the Classroom.

Training workshops

Free, hands-on training sessions are available for faculty, course teams, staff, and students. These training sessions address the use of instructional technology — such as the edX platform, media production, and equipment — to support teaching and learning.

ODL offers workshops on creating an accessible course, designing a project for the end user, and intellectual property. Instructor-led training workshops are typically scheduled throughout the year, Monday through Friday, during regular business hours.

Please check the ODL events calendar for the most up to date offerings, or contact us.