Header Photo: Brian J. Matis / Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

By Sarah Hansen, OCW Educator Project Manager

The OCW Educator initiative has just published the 100th course in which instructors share their insights about pedagogical approaches.

Appearing in Instructor Insights sections of OCW course publications, these insights take you behind the scenes with MIT faculty and explain how the courses were taught on campus. In their own voices, instructors give candid accounts of which teaching strategies are working well and which ones still need tweaking. They also spotlight their latest innovations in the classroom. Instructor insights, in short, infuse a course with personality!

How Instructor Insights Come to Life

To learn about an instructor’s pedagogical approaches, we write questions we think educators in our wider community would like to ask if they were in the room with the instructor, such as “How do you teach problem-solving?” and “How do you facilitate productive classroom discussions?”

Instructors can respond to these questions in a variety of ways: usually, in face-to-face conversations that are recorded and later transcribed. The best part of these conversations is when instructors say they’ve made a new connection or had an “a-ha” moment about teaching by participating in the interview.

Sometimes we video-record our conversations with instructors. Instructors are game to be recorded in all sorts of locations, such as their labs and offices, maker spaces, studios, and even neighborhoods. Sometimes they bring props, such as the cross-section of a 3D printed elephant skull that Lorna Gibson shared during her instructor insight videos for 3.054 Cellar Solids: Structure, Properties and Applications.

Hands holding a cross-section scale model of an elephant skull.

Professor Lorna Gibson describes a student’s model of an elephant’s skull made with a 3-D printer in 3.054 Cellular Solids: Structure, Properties and Applications.

The time investment that instructors make in sharing their teaching insights is small, but the results speak volumes about how deeply they care about teaching and communicating with other educators. We are so grateful for their participation.

Lucky #100: 21L.011 The Film Experience

Screenshot of male professor speaking, hands raised in emphasis.

Professor David Thorburn shares his view on the value of good lectures.

Check out 21L.011 The Film Experience, our 100th course published with Instructor Insights! Professor David Thorburn, who has taught the course for nearly three decades, shares how he has met the challenges of teaching film in a changing technological environment in seven instructor insight videos on his Instructor Insights page:

Explore the Collection

Webpage screengrab showing search by Instructional Approach, and list of course results.

Our new OCW Educator portal makes it easy to explore all of these instructor insights. Select from the list of instructional approaches—e.g. active learning, engaging learners, teaching problem solving—and you can view all the courses with relevant instructor insights.