Experimental Study Group (ESG) - Archived
The Experimental Study Group (ESG) is an academic community that
works to foster educational innovation at MIT. ESG was established
in 1969 to provide a more participatory, student-centered
environment. Today it continues to experiment in new methods of
teaching and learning, offering interactive, experiential classes
and community-based education. ESG allows self-motivated students
to take a more active role in their first year at MIT, with all the
freshmen core subjects offered in much smaller class settings to
provide greater personal control over pacing and format. Over the
years, students have consistently said that ESG's small-group
learning, active teaching, and community atmosphere were some of
the most rewarding aspects of their MIT education.
ESG staff includes faculty and lecturers from a variety of
fields, including biology, chemistry, psychology, mathematics,
mechanical engineering, political philosophy, physics, and the
visual arts. In addition to teaching all the core subjects in the
freshman curriculum, staff are also encouraged to teach
supplemental classes and seminars in areas of their own personal
interest, research, and expertise. Fifty new MIT freshmen are
accepted into the ESG community every year. In their later years at
MIT, ESG offers active upperclassmen and graduate students the
opportunity to gain valuable teaching experience. Student
instructors work under faculty supervision as tutors, teaching
assistants, and lead instructors for core classes, and under staff
mentorship they can develop and teach their own seminars.
In recent years, ESG has increasingly focused on the development of its ever-growing ESG Seminar Series, which offers students a wider variety of educational opportunities outside of MIT's core curriculum. In keeping with the spirit of educational experimentation, ESG seminars focus on a potentially unlimited variety of topics, offering instructors the flexibility to teach from their passion. Seminars are collegial in format, taught in small, interactive groups with hands-on activities and plenty of opportunity for student input. The range of past seminars has included world religions, kitchen chemistry, lego robotics, self-exploration through art and writing, and special topics in mathematics.
The ESG Seminar Series is funded primarily by gifts from our
alumni and by annual grants from the Dean of the School of Science.
In addition to participating in OpenCourseWare, ESG staff generate
textbooks from their original classes and seminars in order to
broaden access to this unique course material. The Experimental
Study Group continues to export its successful educational
innovations to the regular curriculum and to educational settings
outside of MIT wherever possible.
For more information visit the Experimental Study Group website.
Undergraduate core curriculum subjects are also listed by their department numbers: Chemistry ( Course 5 ), Biology ( Course 7 ), Physics ( Course 8 ), and Mathematics ( Course 18 ). ESG-developed Seminars are also listed by their Special Programs numbers ( SP .2xx).
MIT OpenCourseWare materials are licensed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under a Creative Commons License .
(2006-06)This course includes Special topic seminars and independent study projects. Seminars are run by a staff member or supervised undergraduate instructor and meet weekly. Independent study projects require approval and regular ...
(2006-12)Western philosophy and theoretical mathematics were born together, and the cross-fertilization of ideas in the two disciplines was continuously acknowledged throughout antiquity. In this course, we read works of ancient ...