The Internet is an enabler for, amongst much else, business school study. MIT (which stands for the Massachussets Institute of Technology which is almost impossible to pronounce so that acronym is a blessed relief) is very serious about its efforts to bring educational technology with China. This year it has, as it were, doubled its efforts.
In June students joined MIT faculty at the first Asian MIT-iCampus Conference in Beijing. The idea was to introduce China’s top universities to iLabs, MIT’s free online remote laboratory initiative. iLabs allows students and educators anywhere to access MIT equipment to conduct science and engineering experiments.
Hal Abelson, co-director of the MIT-Microsoft Research Alliance for Educational Technology and professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT (not a title that fits easily on to a name card), said, ‘Universities can share what would ordinarily be extraordinarily expensive equipment, just using the Internet.’
Last summer, a team of MIT undergraduates worked with Chinese students at Tsinghua University in Beijing, demonstrating how to set up and access MIT’s free online computer science courses, experiments and labs. The team also gathered feedback from the participants about how well the initiative worked within China’s educational system.
MIT students first began working in China’s high schools in the mid-1990s to help connect students to the Internet through the China Educational Technology Initiative. In 2004 teams of students went to introduce OpenCourseWare on the college level in China. Last year four teams of students set up iLabs and iCampus projects at four Chinese universities.
This year, students will work in twice as many schools throughout China. iLabs is an initiative of the MIT iCampus program, which is funded by Microsoft.