To: MIT Faculty Council
(Department Heads, Lab and Center
Directors, and Central Administration)
From: Paul Penfield, Jr.
Date: October 27, 1994
Subject: New Ad Hoc Committee

Recently there has been a lot of grass-roots interest at MIT in the use of advanced technologies to aid our educational mission. On September 19 an off-campus retreat was held to discuss this. The emphasis was on hypertext, CD-ROMs, hypermedia, multimedia, and the world-wide web. This meeting was organized by Prof. Richard C. Larson. People from several parts of MIT were present.

Members of the Academic Council, upon hearing about this retreat at a meeting on October 11, and recalling earlier discussions of the topic, took a renewed interest. President Vest asked Dean of Engineering Joel Moses to form an ad hoc committee to recommend courses of action for MIT. I have been asked to chair this committee. There are eight other members: Hal Abelson, EECS; Peter Donaldson, Literature; Greg Jackson, Information Systems; Bob Jaffe, Physics (and Chair of the Faculty); Chris Kemerer, Sloan School; Dick Larson, EECS; Bill Mitchell, Dean of Architecture and Planning; and Tony Patera, Mechanical Engineering.

This committee has chosen to call itself the committee on Education Via Advanced Technologies, or EVAT.

I know many of you or your faculty have an interest in these kinds of technologies. They seem to be well suited for some aspects of teaching, and poorly suited for others. The committee will try to understand these issues and recommend a responsible course of action for MIT to follow. We hope to report and disband by the end of the fall semester.

We would be grateful if you would pass along a copy of this letter to any in your department or unit who might have an interest. We would welcome ideas from and discussions with any faculty members, especially those who are using any of these technologies in teaching today, or have plans or dreams to do so.

To facilitate communication with the MIT (and external) community, the committee has established a new e-mail address for comments, a news group for general discussion, and a world-wide web home page with URL describing the committee and its work.