I-Campus Fact Sheet

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I-Campus Fact Sheet

Q. What is the goal of this alliance?

A. The new Microsoft Corp. alliance with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), called I-Campus, is aimed at enhancing university education through research and development of information technology. The goal of the alliance is to create and demonstrate technologies that can produce revolutionary IT-enabled teaching models and improved educational tools. The focus will be on realizing the potential for new pedagogical structures, integrating information technology concepts and methods throughout the curriculum, and addressing the changing environment of university education.

Q. What is Microsoft contributing?

A. Microsoft will provide $25 million for work at MIT over the initial five years of the alliance. Microsoft also will provide software support and research staff for joint projects designed to create novel course and program content as well as new educational tools.

Q. What is MIT contributing?

A. MIT’s greatest resources are its talented faculty, students and research staff. In addition to these intellectual resources, MIT will serve as a
“living laboratory”
for the development and testing of new teaching models and educational tools, providing direction for the research and facilities for the projects.

Q. How is this program different from past relationships between Microsoft and other universities?

A. This is Microsoft Research’s largest alliance to date with a university. Past cooperative efforts between Microsoft and other universities have involved donations (either cash or software) and/or support of specific research projects. This alliance will provide widespread support for joint research projects to create technologies that will affect education in the next decade.

Q. How is this program different from other alliances MIT has entered into with other corporations?

A. This is the first major alliance entered into by MIT that focuses entirely on making technology an integral part of higher education.

Q. What are the areas of research and development the alliance will address?

A. The alliance will involve research and development in three broad areas where information technology has a major impact on university education:

  • Integrating information technology concepts and methods throughout university education. Examples include large-scale collaborative engineering design, the study of complex systems, and the creation of information-based curricula across traditional disciplinary boundaries.

  • New pedagogical approaches and structures. Possibilities include remote access to laboratory instruments, new software tools for delivering educational content, new tools to aid student learning such as tutoring and mentoring at a distance, and Web-based virtual museums.

  • Addressing the changing environment of university education. Options include providing education at a distance and lifelong learning to a larger community, and the impact of digital information technologies on academic publishing.

Q. What will the Joint Steering Committee do and who are its members?

A. Composed of three members from MIT and three members from Microsoft, the Joint Steering Committee will review proposals for research projects and manage the collaborative research, selecting research projects proposed by MIT. The committee will review the progress of ongoing projects and select new projects on a yearly basis. Following are the members of the Joint Steering Committee:

  • Peter Path
    , co-chair, general manager, Microsoft Research, University Relations

  • Hal Abelson, co-chair, MIT professor of electrical engineering and computer science

  • Thomas L. Magnanti, institute professor and dean of MIT’s School of Engineering

  • Anoop Gupta, senior researcher, Microsoft Research, Collaboration and Multimedia Systems Group

  • M.S. Vijay Kumar, director, MIT Academic Computing, Information Systems

  • William Vablais, program manager, Microsoft Research, University Relations

Q. What projects are currently on the table?

A. The five-year effort involves cooperative projects between MIT and Microsoft Research personnel. The alliance begins with three initial projects:

  • Expansion of the MIT Shakespeare Electronic Archive. The Shakespeare Electronic Archive combines electronic texts, wide collections of art and film, and digital facsimiles of early editions of Shakespeare’s works made accessible for both classroom use and research. The planned expansion of the archive will include the development of new software tools allowing users to create their own organizations and representations of the archive’s contents; the creation of tools that allow people to use the archive collaboratively over the Internet; and the extension and adaptation of additional materials for the World Wide Web.

  • Educational System for Global Education Project. Researchers at MIT, Microsoft and The National University of Singapore will collaboratively design an educational system for global education that optimizes student learning. Focusing first and foremost on the student’s educational needs, the project will examine activities in a
    “global classroom”
    recently established between the two universities which delivers graduate engineering education across 12 time zones using Internet2. (This global classroom has been implemented under the auspices of the Singapore-MIT Alliance, formed last year by MIT, The National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University.)

  • MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics Initiative. The initiative of MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics to make the conception/
    design/implementation/operation of systems and products into the context of education for engineering will be expanded to include the experimental use of distance collaboration in design courses. Using desktop videoconferencing, designers and students from various remote sites will work together by linking outside experts into MIT subjects, and by allowing collaboration with graduate-level designers in parallel courses at peer engineering departments

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