The MIT Core Concept Catalog (MC3) project is designed to enhance re-use of digital educational resources, such as OCW and other online educational content or activities. The catalog is designed from the perspective of core curricular concepts and learning objectives/outcomes. In addition to supporting deeper learning, the project will explore the question of how modular content can be more effectively used by MIT faculty and students for instruction and learning.
Although in recent years much attention has been focused on developing and cataloging content, we now see a growing trend in developing and cataloging conceptual models and pathways within and across the subjects and disciplines of the Institute. Through engagement in this endeavor, OEIT intends to support this growing trend by providing systems and tools to our community.
The end goal of current MC3 efforts is the ability for a teacher or learner to search, browse and/or otherwise navigate educational resources based on the topics or educational objectives for a particular subject, discipline or field of study. From a teacher’s perspective, MC3 is designed to facilitate the re-use of cross-disciplinary content in the preparation of course materials. For students, it is designed to allow for efficient navigation of the vast and growing collection of educational materials at MIT and elsewhere to help augment and deepen understanding.
The initial phase of the MC3 project has produced a software service for creationing and managing a set of curricular concepts and learning objectives for a subject or field of study and to facilitate mapping of these objectives to online content. OEIT is currently, in support of key MIT initiatives, building an initial set of software applications that make use of the data stored in MC3. The first of these builds on the Crosslinks projects initially developed by Chad Lieberman, Haynes Miller and Karen Wilcox. Future applications built on MC3 and other services OIET is working on may also be used to support more advanced and automated processes including semantic analysis, assessment feedback and filtering of content based on usage data, etc.
While the architecture and tools of MC3 will be relevant and useful to the broadest range of educational environments, including both K-12 and Higher Education, it should be noted that MC3 does not strive to normalize or align the world of educational objectives into standards. There are currently projects underway to align educational standards, primarily in primary and secondary education. For instance, the CCSSO Common Core Standards project is doing this across a number of state school systems. The tools and architecture of MC3 is designed to work with these standardized models.
For MIT, however, our intent is to support the widest variety of concept mapping and inventories and to expose conceptual models across disciplines or among instructors and students within the same discipline. For instance, while studying the concept “Center of Mass” for Physics, the MC3 tools would allow a student to quickly explore how other disciplines treat the concept (such as mechanical engineering) or perhaps how a physics professor at another Institution treats the same or similar concepts.
Next Steps and the Design of MC3:
This project is designed to anticipate future needs beyond its immediate scope and beyond MIT, and therefore a number of architectural assumptions have been developed:
The initial MC3 service has been developed and is being tested with and applied to a number of current educational projects at MIT, including but not limited to: