Educational Initiatives

ESG has a proud history of being the birthplace of a wide variety of educational experiments.

True to its name, the Experimental Study Group has a history of innovation and experimentation in education, including how the program itself has evolved since it was founded in 1969. With its culture of innovation and creativity, ESG provides a fertile ground for students and staff alike to take part in educational initiatives, which keep teaching and learning at ESG cutting edge.

ESG Pilot Projects

Experimenting with how to better teach and learn is core to the ESG ethos. At almost any given time, ESG conducts educational pilots where staff and students innovate with how the MIT first-year curriculum can be taught and learned. Most recently, ESG completed a pilot, in which we replaced final exams with hands-on final projects, allowing students to apply theoretical learning to real-world projects of their own interest and design. This pilot was such a success that we no longer require final exams in any of our classes.

We are also in the midst of a pilot that combines the teaching of MIT’s introductory computing classes with the physics core curriculum. Students develop the thought processes needed to go from disciplinary knowledge in physics to the posing of appropriate questions that can be addressed computationally. ESG plans to expand this pilot into the other core first-year disciplines in the future.

The Educational Justice Institute

The Educational Justice Institute (TEJI) is a groundbreaking initiative that provides transformative learning experiences for incarcerated individuals and MIT students. Our goal is to improve the quality of life and future prospects of the incarcerated through education and technology, while simultaneously broadening the intellectual perspectives and social consciousness of MIT students by taking courses alongside incarcerated individuals. Founded in 2017 and housed at ESG, TEJI has grown rapidly by developing a variety of co-learning opportunities for students both inside and outside prison walls.

TEJI courses are conducted inside secure correctional facilities throughout Massachusetts, where MIT students learn course content alongside incarcerated students. Learning within the confines of a correctional facility challenges students to examine and engage in dialogue about criminal justice ideologies. Students are also provided with additional opportunities to participate in special events at correctional facilities. This program has proven to be a meaningful and life-changing experience for both students and justice-involved individuals. For more information about TEJI, see teji.mit.edu.