IAP 2020

Ken Nakagaki, Sean Follmer, Hiroshi Ishii

The 2020 MIT Independent Activities Period (IAP) runs from January 6–January 31. In addition to short, non-credit courses sponsored by the Media LabMedia Arts and Sciences, and other departments across campus, you can also take a range of for-credit courses during IAP.

Below is an evolving list of IAP courses taught by members of the Media Lab community, often in collaboration with other departments.

If you're teaching an IAP class, please email Chia Evers (chialynn@media) to have it added to the list! Also keep an eye out for emails and posters announcing informal workshops and other "unofficial" IAP courses. 

  • Artificial Intelligence Latin American Hackathon 2020. Non-credit, taught by Omar Costillo Reyes (Brain and Cognitive Science). 
    Description: Join us for the first edition of the Artificial Intelligence Latin American Hackathon 2020, to be held right after the Artificial Intelligence Latin American sumMIT, on Friday the 24th and Saturday the 25th of January. In this hackathon, we will be tackling challenges related to the the topics of the SumMIT: health, education, government, peace and climate change.
  • Computational Law Workshop. Non-credit, co-taught by visiting scientist Dazza Greenwood.
    Description: This workshop course provides a conceptual overview and hands-on projects for understanding and solving legal use cases with data analytics, blockchain or other cryptosystems and a special module on rapid design solutions to key challenges for challenges posed by autonomous legal entities, computational contracts and legal algorithms. The course includes seminar-style lecture/discussion sessions and hands-on, experiential learning through team projects. 
  • CRISPR: Hacking the Genome. Non-credit, taught by Pranam Chatterjee (Molecular Machines)
    Description: Human-animal hybrids? Superhumans? Designer babies? While these futuristic visions may be considered unethical (but surprisingly not undoable), genome editing already holds the keys to transforming humanity as we know it. The repurposing of the CRISPR system for genome editing has enabled the rapid development and refinement of tools to further basic research, develop therapies for human diseases, and promise numerous breakthroughs in agriculture, bioenergy, food security, nanotechnology, and a host of other applications. Come to this class to learn more about how CRISPR works, what improvements we are making to the system to enable its broad applicability, and how to do CRISPR experiments (in a wetlab!), all from a CRISPR engineer!
  • How To Grow (Almost) Anything: Bio Bootcamp. Non-credit, taught by David Kong.
    Description: “How To Grow Almost Anything” (HTGAA) bootcamp during IAP 2020 is a week long, non credit, hands on activity course aimed for students who want to take the Spring 2020 course "HTGAA." In the bootcamp, we are actively developing ways to decrease the physical and intellectual divides between lecture and lab to help students make more direct links between what they learn in classroom and what they learn in the laboratory. In this course, we aim to cover basic molecular biology and microbiology wet lab techniques such as cell culture, measuring cell density, plating, transformation, gel electrophoresis, restriction digestion, plasmid extraction, DNA purification, and PCR. In addition, we will also go over the guidelines for biosafety in laboratories. Students will be given a take home software design assignment towards the end of the week where they get a chance to apply the knowledge that they gained during the bootcamp. The course is mandatory for students with non-biology background such as designers, artists, and engineers who have never had a chance to perform experiments in a biology laboratory.
  • Law & Technology: Know Your Rights. Non-credit, sponsored by Kate Darling and taught by Andrew Sellars (BU/MIT Technology Law Clinic). 
    Description: The BU/MIT Technology Law Clinic is excited to host the fourth edition of its annual IAP class, Law & Technology: Know Your Rights. The class is a series of lunch presentations (with food provided!) that will review legal issues that students frequently encounter when they work on innovative technology-related projects and ventures. Topics for this year will include: Intellectual property, including copyright issues with AI-generated content, and protection of inventions with and without patents Privacy, including biometric data regulation, HIPAA and use of medical information, and GDPR and other international data privacy laws Application of law to common innovative projects, including cybersecurity research, developing a smartphone application, and ensuring ADA compliance of websites and online services Use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and state right to know laws as research tools.
  • Technology Design for Coffee Production in Colombia, A Co-Design Experience 2nd Edition. Non-credit, taught by Pedro Reynolds-Cuellar (Civic Media). 
    Description: Coffee continues to be Colombia’s major exporting product. Every year, an average 11.5 million bags are moved, making the country the third highest coffee-exporter globally. Interestingly, this massive industry is comprised of small coffee-growers spread across Colombia. Constant changes in national and global markets, make it hard for these farmers to stabilize their production: many turn to bring their products to market independently. Previously, we looked at how collaborations between MIT students, and coffee-growers can enhance technological infrastructure, business strategy, and social organization needed for farmers to control their participation in coffee markets. Building on positive results from this experience, we now ask the question of how these collaborations between MIT and coffee-growers can support the process of making technological infrastructure meet national standards, and streamlining professionalization for a rising rural workforce. This will be an IAP, fieldwork-based, and interdisciplinary course on technology design, exploring how collaborations between small coffee-growers in Colombia and MIT students can foster vibrant local economies. The main goal of the course is for students to co-create along with coffee-growers, technological, business, and social organization products that allow these coffee-farming collectives to thrive as central players in the coffee market in Colombia. 
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