The vice provost for open learning (VPOL) sets a strategic vision for transforming teaching and learning on and off MIT’s campus and advancing the science of learning, leveraging the innovative use of digital technologies in pursuit of that goal. In close coordination with faculty, students, and staff, the VPOL seeks to further our understanding of teaching and learning; to innovate, study, and scale digital technologies on the MIT campus and worldwide; and to share learning research globally. In short, the VPOL is charged with “learning about learning, changing how we teach at MIT, and educating the world.”

The VPOL leads Open Learning and is responsible for creating a successful, positive business unit within MIT. In effect, the VPOL is the CEO of Open Learning and is responsible for overseeing the culture of Open Learning, the infrastructure to support it (engineering, HR, and other elements), and the unit’s finances and operations, including leading fundraising and other business development for mission-based initiatives.

The VPOL plays a critical ambassador role to advance the mission and operational goals of Open Learning, engaging with faculty through department outreach and initiatives; Open Learning faculty advisory committees; and, as necessary, with faculty governance committees.

The VPOL reports to the provost and is a member of Academic Council. The senior associate dean for open learning; the dean for digital learning; and supporting units (business operations; engineering and products; and resource development) report to the VPOL.

Essential functions

Learning Sciences

  • Oversee research into the use of digital tools and innovative programs (e.g., Day of AI and Day of Climate) in teaching and learning through the Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL), MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili), and Responsible AI for Social Empowerment and Education (RAISE).
  • Advance technical innovation in education and learning, such as the use of generative AI in learning/education.
  • Coordinate RFPs to support MIT-wide participation in advancing technology innovation and science of learning.

Open and Residential Education

  • Provide strategic and operational oversight for the Institute’s innovative open access educational offerings, primarily OpenCourseware, MITx, MOOCs, Micromasters, and Open Learning Library.
  • Expand the use of digital teaching tools on MIT’s campus, including through the Canvas system.
  • Lead units that support digital learning such as MIT Video Productions (MVP) and the Digital Learning Lab.

Professional Education

  • Ensure the quality and support the revenue-generating success of several Institute professional education offerings, including xPro, Horizons, and Bootcamps.
  • Help engage faculty around offerings across the Schools and the College.

New Frontiers

The VPOL will be responsible for exploring new frontiers in open learning, including:

  • Coordinating efforts in K-12 educational opportunities, with a specific focus on advancing opportunities to support underserved communities. This includes online, in-person and hybrid formats.
  • Creating new models and programs for workforce education online and hybrid learning material, including complementing existing professional education offerings with new support for non-college educated workers or underserved learners, globally.
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