Redesigning the First Year Experience at MIT
The last major structural improvement to the first year experience was in 1964. Since then, MIT students have changed and the world has become quite different. This indicated a need for change in the first year experience. Students want more flexibility in course choice, more support choosing a major, more comprehensive advising, and more use of research-based learning strategies in classes.
At the 2018 Festival of Learning, Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz outlined a process for redesigning the first-year experience at MIT: a new design course launched Spring 2018. The 12-unit class (2.S911) offers undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to research questions around what the first year should be. Working with mentors and instructors from across MIT’s curriculum, students in the course apply rigorous methods to synthesize needs, develop and evaluate options, and participate in the creative process of re-imagining education at MIT.