Online Materials Expand Frequency of Subject Offerings in Physics

8.S05
  • Physics (Course 8)

Faculty/Instructor: 

Barton Zwiebach
Saif Rayyan

Digital Innovations & Tools: 

  • Blended Learning & Flipped Classroom

MIT is one of a few schools that offer three quantum mechanics subjects at the undergraduate level. Because some of these classes are only taught once a year, it can cause scheduling problems for students.

Using online materials and blended learning, Professor Barton Zwiebach is able to offer these subjects more often than otherwise would be possible. This is accomplished with minimal additional burdening of faculty time. Students watch videos of Zwiebach’s lectures, complete computer graded homework, and meet for face-to-face recitations once a week. Student performance and satisfaction are comparable with the conventional course format.

Additionally, while the online course 8.S05 is taken by MIT students, the MOOC 8.05x is offered to a global audience for free. Data from user behavior gleaned from the MOOC provides insights on study patterns of succesful students and which teaching strategies are most effective.