2020 J-WEL Grants in Higher Education Innovation Awardees announced | MIT J-WEL

You are here

2020 J-WEL Grants in Higher Education Innovation Awardees announced

Congratulations to all of our 2020 Grants in Higher Education Innovation Awardees! In 2020, J-WEL's Higher Education Collaborative awarded over $242,000 in funding to six projects.

The next Call for Proposals will be released late this year.

Projects awarded funding, 2020


Computational Thinking with Julia - Applications to COVID-19

PI: Alan Edelman, Professor of Applied Mathematics
Co-developer: David Sanders, Research Scientist

The grant will support further development of a 6-week class, Introduction to Computational Thinking with Julia: modeling the COVID-19 pandemic, which integrates mathematical modeling with programming and best practices for software style in a context applied to the current COVID-19 pandemic. 


Teaching Media Literacy in the Age of Deepfakes

PI: D. Fox Harrell, Professor of Digital Media & Artificial Intelligence in the Comparative Media Studies Program and Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) 

Project team: Francesca Panetta XR Creative Director, Center for Advanced Virtuality
Joshua Glick Assistant Professor of English, Film, and Media Studies, & Hendrix College Learning Module Designer, Halsey Burgund Fellow at MIT Open Documentary Lab

The learning module aims to equip students to better understand and interpret the dangers of misinformation and the particularly pernicious threat of “deepfake” videos. Students will learn about the history of deepfakes, strategies to combat their effects, and how alternative forms of synthetic media can be used to create a more just and inclusive democratic society.


THE PLANT: Reimagining Core 3 Integrated Studio

PI: Sheila Kennedy, Professor of Practice in Architecture

Project team: Caitlin Mueller, Associate Professor
Rami el Samahy, Visiting Professor
Cristina Parreno, Lecturer

Core 3 MIT 4.153 is the final and culminating studio in the MIT SA+P graduate core sequence. Students synthesize design concepts with the behavior, performance, and construction of building structure and envelope systems. The grant will focus on the development of a new set of course materials to adjust the industrial production program, choice of site, and methods of working with materials to serve a generation of coronavirus-era students who cannot travel internationally.


Embracing Failure through Design: Learning from Failure through Visual Thinking and a Community of Practice

PI: Maria Yang, Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Project team: Madhurima Das, Graduate Student

The grant will lead to a new module themed around embracing failure as a learning opportunity, both as part of the engineering design process and as part of a student’s personal and professional growth. The module will include at least three elements: hands-on, design-related activities that provide the chance for students to fail early and often in a safe, low-stakes environment; reflections on repurposed physical artifacts of failure; and the opportunity for students to hear stories of failure and growth from people they respect.


Sustainable Urbanization: Healthy Building Practicum

PI: Siqi Zheng, Samuel Tak Lee Associate Professor at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and Center for Real Estate

Project team: Fabio Duarte, Lecturer, MIT Senseable City Lab
Zhengzhen Tan, Lecturer, Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Juan Palacios, Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Urban Studies and Planning

The grant will support a new subject, "Sustainable Urbanization Practicum," with its first edition to be taught in the 2021 spring semester. The new subject aims to develop a series of living lab hands-on projects for students who are keen to tackle urgent urbanization challenges.

Electricity and Magnetism Take-Home Design Experiments

Co-PI: Kerstin Perez, Assistant Professor of Physics
Co-PI: Nuh Gedik, Professor of Physics

Project Team: Project Manager Alex Shvonski, Postdoctoral Associate, Digital Learning Lab Fellow
Michelle Tomasik, Lecturer, Digital Learning Scientist
Pushpaleela Prabakar, Lecturer

The grant will support adapting and scaling an existing sequence of hands-on introductory physics experiments for use in remote learning in MIT’s introductory physics course. Students will receive pre-assembled kits to construct experiments testing fundamental physics concepts while applying to real-world applications.