Students Collaborate Online and in Class

Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (Course 6)
Erik Demaine
Digital Innovations & Tools
Active Learning
Blended Learning & Flipped Classroom

Students in Professor Erik Demaine’s course Fun with Hardness Proofs (6.892) study the algorithms that make games interesting and complex. They seek to uncover and formalize what it means for a game to be challenging.  

This is a popular course among MIT students. However, in his class of 50-60 students, it was hard for Demaine to get a global sense of what everyone was doing, especially when students were working in small groups. To remedy this, Demaine designed a digital system, Coauthor, that organized student discussions into threads. Using Coauthor made it feasible for contributions and ideas to be shared asynchronously among the students in the class. If Demaine or a student wanted to know what was being done in regards to a specific problem or project they could click on the thread and see the discussion. Having this medium allowed students and Prof Demaine to record ideas and thoughts that others could follow up on later. In addition, Coauthor became the archive of what the class accomplished each week.

Winner of the 2019 Teaching with Digital Technology Award, Erik Demaine shares his story in the above video of innovating his teaching using Coauthor.