MIT appoints first Director of Digital Learning, Sanjay Sharma

In an email to the MIT communty on November 20th, President L. Rafael Reif announced the appointment of Sanjay Sarma, the Fred Fort Flowers and Daniel Fort Flowers Professor of Mechanical Enfineering, as the online learning pioneer’s first director of digital learning.

Mr. Sarma will be charged with evaluating models of online instruction such as MIT’s own edX and the accompanying MITx, the Institute’s course offering on that platform, and assessing how these models can be best integrated into MIT students’ on campus education. The ultimate goal is to discover how professors can use these platforms to assign lectures and other work outside of the classroom environment; thereby freeing up class time to focus on discussion, lab work, and experiments. Additionally, further development of these existing tools can allow for non-MIT students and learners everywhere to access MIT quality course material.

In the email, Reif called Sarma “an experimenter-in-chief,” and said he will determine “what is working best in MIT’s current educational model, what [they] could do more effectively and what kind of changes [they] should pursue, from the way course content is delivered to the way [they] shape the campus itself.”