Media Lab X – A design course for new learning platforms

MAS.S70 (Special Topics in Media Technology)                                                            

E14-493 / Wed 10-12:00

Philipp Schmidt, Pattie Maes, Mitchel Resnick, Ethan Zuckerman

One way to open up the walls of the Media Lab is through online learning – connecting students and staff on the inside, with individuals and diverse communities on the outside.Recent innovations in online learning have focused on improving instruction (the delivery of lectures and content). MLx looks beyond instruction to explore how project-based and peer-to-peer learning, practices we use every day at the Media Lab, could be supported online at scale. The goal of this course is to explore what online learning looks like, if it is invented at the Media Lab.

In particular, we will take a close look at learning with communities: helping communities identify what they want to learn and what they can teach; helping us explore learning models that are more symmetrical than traditional classroom-based paradigms.

MLx is a design course, in which students create prototypes for new learning platforms. Students will work alone or in small groups, with the support of coaches and mentors (primarily Media Lab faculty). IDEO staff will guide students through the design thinking methodology.

The course will meet weekly. It is made up of a mix of seminars to discuss relevant learning theory and literature, review recent online learning projects (and hear from the innovators behind them), and give students a chance to share their progress with each other. In the off-seminar weeks, students will meet with each other, and with coaches and mentors to work on their projects.

Final goal and deliverable: Project teams present and demo their prototypes or mock-ups


  • First session: Sep 4th (Intro session)
  • Weekly meetings (some weeks these are seminars, other weeks students meet in project teams or with their coaches)
  • Time: Wed 10-12:00
  • Venue: E-14-493

Feel free to write to Philipp Schmidt for more information about the course.