An MIT Alumni Association Publication

The world is counting on MIT to meet the great challenges before us. And you can help, too. Join thousands of fellow alumni and friends on March 11 during the fifth annual MIT 24-Hour Challenge.

More than 35 MIT departments and groups, including MITx, will hold special microchallenges to help reach the goal of 5,000 donors in a single day.

From medical research to manufacturing, online learning to socioeconomic disparities, the MIT community has amassed a vast wealth of knowledge about Covid-19 and its effects. Over the past year, faculty, researchers and staff have come together across MIT on research and projects to help solve the many challenges brought on by the pandemic.

Last month, MITx announced five new short online courses based on some of those projects—courses it rapidly developed to provide open, worldwide access to learning that can help us understand and address this extraordinary moment.

Like all MITx courses on edX, the five courses below are open for free learning via the audit track, or learners can choose to earn a certificate of completion for a small fee. They cover everything from the history of disease to mindset development to mathematical assessment of Covid-19 spread—and are all self-paced, allowing learners to enroll and begin at any time.

Covid-19 in Slums and Informal Settlements: Guidelines and Responses

Led by Ceasar MacDowell, professor of the practice of civic design in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and a team of graduate and undergraduate students, this course focuses on how Covid-19 has impacted the world’s most vulnerable populations across the Global South. The course explores what is happening on the ground in self-organized communities where standardized responses may not be appropriate, and discusses what may work and what doesn’t.

Disease, Climate Shocks, and Well-Being: a Long History of Social Response to Crisis

Societies have battled pandemics and other natural disasters for all of human history. Led by Anne McCants, professor of history, this course explores the issues of disease and resource constraints, via a number of historical cases, to understand their impact on social organization and the standard of living. Through context, learners can put Covid-19 into historical perspective.

Cultivating Entrepreneurship and Antifragility to Thrive in a Fast-Paced World

Covid-19 has ushered in a myriad of health care, humanitarian, economic, and societal crises that require new and creative ways of thinking. Hosted by the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, this course is an integrated, eight-module, how-to speaker series. In each module, world-renowned experts equip learners with practical frameworks, processes, and lessons with the mindset, skills, and ways of operating to cultivate antifragility among individuals, teams, organizations, and society.

Physics of Covid-19 Transmission

This course shares and explains important new research on Covid-19 transmission from chemical engineering professor Martin Bazant. He outlines what has recently been learned about aerosol transmission and the underlying scientific principles that can be used to assess risk levels in various environments. While some of the calculations offered are advanced, interviews and videos discuss these findings in a way that all learners can understand.

Manufacturing Agility for Crisis Response (launch date TBD)

When the Covid-19 pandemic first started, the global manufacturing industry was called to immediate action to rapidly increase the supply of personal protective equipment. In this new course, John Hart SM ’02, PhD ’06, associate professor of mechanical engineering and Mitsui Career Development Professor of Contemporary Technology, and his team will tell the story of the manufacturing response during Covid-19, and provide lessons and actionable next steps for firms seeking to pivot to produce medical devices or other products necessary for crisis response.

This story was adapted from a post on the MIT Open Learning blog.

Learn more about how you can support MITx and many other MIT departments and groups during the MIT 24-Hour Challenge on March 11.

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