Outside ESG’s core mission of teaching the first-year general institute requirements in an interactive, small-class setting, ESG has a proud history of being the birthplace of a wide variety of educational experiments. Some of these experiments have taken on a life of their own outside of ESG and become part of the MIT mainstream experience. ESG provides a fertile ground for students and staff alike to take part in initiatives that include a successful and diverse seminar series; a one-of-a-kind training program for first-time undergraduate teaching assistants; and a communications initiative that helps students develop and create educational video content at a high level.
ESG Pilot Projects
Throughout its history, ESG has piloted new and innovative teaching and learning within MIT’s core first-year curriculum. Most recently, ESG piloted a first-year experimentation project, 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. We are also piloting a project 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.
ESG Seminar Series
ESG sponsors 5-10 six-unit pass/fail seminars each year on a variety of innovative subjects not covered in the regular curriculum, including psychology, chemistry, social networking, mathematics, and physics. Many seminars are student-generated; ESG allows upperclass students with a passion for a particular subject to propose a seminar and, with faculty supervision, to develop and teach it. These seminars are open to all ESG and MIT students and are intended to be hands-on and experiential in nature.
ESG TA Training Program
Every year ESG hires approximately 25-40 undergraduates, most of whom were at ESG for their first year, to work as teaching assistants (TAs) and graders. ESG supports these first-time TAs by offering ES.200, the ESG Teaching Seminar. This seminar provides guidance, supervision, and a safe environment for TAs to share their teaching experiences and learn from one another. TAs at ESG are an invaluable resource, not only because of the expertise in a given subject but also for their past experience as first-year students. Having recently been through ESG as a student themselves, they teach with a unique empathy and insight. This peer teaching experience adds a layer of depth to first-year learning and adds value to the program as a whole.
The Educational Justice Institute
The Educational Justice Institute (TEJI) is a groundbreaking initiative that provides transformative learning experiences for incarcerated individuals and university 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. For more information about TEJI, see teji.mit.edu.