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Winners of 2020 Teaching With Digital Technology Award recognized for their innovations


Winners of 2020 Teaching With Digital Technology Award recognized for their innovations

On July 30, faculty and instructors across MIT were honored for their outstanding achievements in teaching with digital technology in an online ceremony hosted by Dean for Digital Learning Krishna Rajagopal and Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate and Graduate Education Ian A. Waitz.
The student-nominated Teaching with Digital Technology Awards, co-sponsored by MIT Open Learning and the Office of the Vice Chancellor, celebrate Institute faculty and instructors who have made innovative, effective use of technology for teaching and learning. Launched in 2016, the awards have a special significance this year, following the rapid transition to remote teaching due to Covid-19.
Says Waitz, “What’s special about the honorees is that they are great teachers. Moreover, they stepped up at an unusual time, adapting with new tools and practices on little notice. They demonstrated resilience, ingenuity, and creative problem-solving. But what fundamentally shone through was their unwavering dedication to student learning.”
This year’s 31 winners, selected from among the 232 people recognized in 487 student nominations, are:Steve Banzaert — Mechanical EngineeringKara Blackburn — Sloan School of ManagementAmanda Bosh — Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary SciencesDevin Michelle Bunten — Urban Studies and PlanningSemvon Dyatlov — MathematicsVivek Farias — Sloan School of ManagementMalick Ghachem — HistoryMarah Gubar — LiteratureMichelle Hanlon — Sloan School of ManagementAdam Hartz — Computer ScienceStefan Helmreich — AnthropologyBarbara Hughey — Mechanical EngineeringPei-Ken Hung — MathematicsAlexandre Jacquillat — Sloan School of ManagementGraham Jones — AnthropologyMiro Kazakoff — Sloan School of ManagementJonathan Kelner — MathematicsWolfgang Ketterle — PhysicsMaria Khotimsky — Global LanguagesJames Magarian — Gordon Engineering Leadership ProgramKarthish Manthiram — Chemical EngineeringIsadora Nicholas — Global LanguagesPhiala Shanahan — PhysicsBen Shields — Sloan School of ManagementJoe Steinmeyer — Electrical EngineeringLawrence Susskind — Urban Studies and PlanningClair Travis — ChemistryRodrigo Verdi — Sloan School of ManagementBruno Verdini — Urban Studies and PlanningDavid Wallace — Mechanical EngineeringJacob White — Electrical Engineering
The original nomination period ended in mid-March, just as faculty and staff began the extraordinary process of moving all campus activity online. As MIT’s faculty and instructors began teaching in ways that none had planned for, all relying upon digital technology, the awards committee felt it only right to ask MIT’s students a second time whether they wished to recognize someone for outstanding teaching with digital technology.
As everyone — teachers and students alike — was scrambling to achieve a fraction of their learning goals during the pandemic, it was far from clear how MIT’s students would respond. The response was, in fact, both remarkable and heartening: While the original call garnered 157 nominations for 98 unique individuals, the call for nominations during the period when all teaching was remote garnered a total of 330 nominations for 163 instructors and faculty, including 29 who were nominated in both calls. With more than double the number of nominations as in a typical year, it seems clear that students were extraordinarily motivated to recognize their teachers’ ingenuity and dedication in 2020.
“We’ve read some remarkable testimonials from nominating students, speaking to their instructors’ flexibility, creativity, and compassion in this time of crisis,” says Sheryl Barnes, director of digital learning in residential education at Open Learning. “That combination of mind, hand, and heart is what makes MIT such a special place. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to celebrate our faculty’s dedication to keeping their students learning and growing, even under duress.”

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