This class is jointly sponsored by the MIT Museum, Massachusetts Bay Maritime Artisans, the Department of Mechanical Engineering’s Center for Ocean Engineering, and the Department of Architecture. The course teaches the fundamental steps in traditional boat design and demonstrates connections between craft and modern methods. Instructors provide vessel design orientation and then students carve their own shape ideas in the form of a wooden half-hull model. Experts teach the traditional skills of visualizing and carving your model in this phase of the class. After the models are completed, a practicing naval architect guides students in translating shape from models into a lines plan. The final phase of the class is a comparative analysis of the designs generated by the group.

Many of the interview participants stressed that community colleges offer educational opportunities to students from underserved communities. And the education provided by community colleges doesn’t only benefit the individual students, opening the doors to further education and successful careers; it also has a transforming influence on the families and communities those students come from, expanding their awareness of what is possible.

Across several interviews, faculty emphasized the value of having access to teaching ideas from a variety of sources and expressed the desire to learn from one another as well. Erik Altenbernd from College of the Canyons articulated it in terms of having a dialogue, suggesting that when ideas are shared back and forth rather than in a one-way flow, the resulting conversation amongst a community of educators can enrich everyone’s teaching and approach. Through this project, participants appreciated the “opportunity to grow and connect with others,” as Isaac Koh from College of the Canyons put it, in order to brainstorm together and to learn with, from, and alongside one another.

Faculty identified various reasons why they value the free course materials available through MIT OpenCourseWare. Many instructors value MIT’s materials primarily as sources of insight or inspiration for their own curriculum design and pedagogy. Thus, MIT OpenCourseWare provides a window into how colleagues at MIT are teaching or organizing their courses, and that information can be just as valuable as the OER themselves. One instructor particularly liked the way courses are structured and the modular way the materials are laid out; another praised MIT instructors’ passion for their fields of study, and also the fact that the materials on MIT OpenCourseWare are often the product of many years’ experience in teaching a given subject.