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Learning/Innovation  

Undergraduate Seminars

ESG seminars are open to all MIT students and are intended to be hands-on and experiential in nature.


ESG sponsors a number of three, six or nine unit pass/fail seminars each year on a variety of innovative subjects not covered in the regular curriculum, including topics such as psychology, cooking, social networking, ethics, and language. These seminars are open to all MIT students and are intended to be hands-on and experiential in nature.

Fall 2020 Seminars at ESG

All seminars are six units P/F credit unless noted otherwise.

ES.100  Project-Enhanced Learning in ESG Science Core Subjects: An Introduction to Design, Experimentation, Modeling, Building, and Communicating in STEM [3 units]

Instructor:  Dave Custer
Time and location: Wednesdays or Fridays, 4pm (virtual)

Prepares first-year students for the project-based elements of ESG Science Core subjects. In addition to maker-space training, seminar activities introduce theory and practice of design, experimentation, modeling, building, and communicating about projects. In person not required. Limited to students in ESG.

Dave Custer has been teaching hands-on, interdisciplinary subjects for MITs Experimental Study Group and Writing Program for 30 years. His research is the testing and evaluation of equipment used in rock climbing and mountaineering. Dave spends his free time in the vertical world.

ES.92 How Science Can Enable a More Cooperative Future

Instructors: Henry Lieberman and Christopher Fry
Time and Location: Mondays & Wednesdays 3-4:30 pm (virtual)

EThis is a “big think” course about the future of technology and society. It has the unifying theme of the tradeoff between cooperation and competition.

The course covers a variety of topics in computer science, biology, psychology, philosophy, mathematics, economics, political science, and more. We present our thesis that technological advancements like artificial intelligence and personal manufacturing will shift the tradeoff, increasing the value of cooperation and reducing the value of competition. That will provide an unprecedented opportunity to redesign our social structures in a more cooperative and sustainable way. We provide concrete proposals for how this might be done for the central institutions of the economy, government, justice, and education. We welcome alternative proposals, as well as critiques and disagreements. We see this course as a “design workshop” for a future society.