In this episode, Senior Lecturer Emeritus Christopher Terman describes strategies for engaging students in hands-on learning in 6.004 Computation Structures.



You might imagine that fluency is an inherently good thing in teaching. But Dr. Christopher Terman, Senior Lecturer Emeritus at MIT’s Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab, explains that breaks in the flow of the classroom can actually make the learning experience more memorable. This is just one of the insights Dr. Terman has gained in twenty years of teaching the course 6.004 Computation Structures. “If you’re going to spend 40% of your time in the classroom,” he says, “you might as well teach well.”

He and the rest of the teaching team for 6.004 are always seeking to optimize their students’ learning experience, adapting the course through repeated iterations to include as much as possible of what they’ve found works best. Among the details Dr. Terman shares in this episode are how the course engages students from different backgrounds by offering a “buffet” of learning materials through the use of the MITx learning platform, how creating hands-on browser-based digital design lab experiences help students internalize the material, and how online forums reduce student frustration by offering quicker answers to questions that arise outside of class.

Relevant Resources

MIT OpenCourseWare

The OCW Educator Portal

6.004 on OCW

Dr. Terman’s Faculty Page

Enhance your teaching at MIT with the MITx Residential Platform

Music in this episode by Blue Dot Sessions

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