Curricular and Experiential Learning Prototypes

The process of curriculum innovation at Olin College means that curricular prototypes are ongoing during most academic years. These experiments are courses that serve as designated alternatives for requirements in the curriculum.  There may also be prototypes that replace a requirement in the curriculum.  A curricular experiment is noted by a course code and number.  Unless otherwise specified, each course prototype begins with CIE (Curricular Innovation Experiment), followed by the year in which it is offered, e.g. CIE2019.  If more than one experiment is running, the course number will end in a letter.  


Current Prototypes

The Thesis Research Option (which began in Fall 2019) enables students with research experience to work closely with an Olin faculty mentor to further develop and formalize their research skills. The Thesis Option consists of 2 semesters of advanced research with a faculty advisor and culminates in a thesis document written by the student and a presentation/defense with a thesis committee. Students accepted into the program will be enrolled in ISR-G courses, as appropriate, and will carry the title of Thesis Research for the first semester and Thesis for the second.  This curriculum prototype will be available through spring 2023 as an experiment.  

In the fall semester of 2020, Olin began a strategic initiative to develop new educational approaches in engineering education to address three interlocking aspirations: 1) to create an education that is accessible and equitable, and moves toward dismantling systemic racism, 2) to create an education that is deeply transformative, that opens doors for students, and helps them grow and realize their potential, and 3) to create an education that has a sustainable business model that responds to financial challenges within higher education. Curricular prototypes developed under this initiative will involve a range of partners, be designed for equity and access, and enable institutional learning to shape Olin’s future. Prototypes that award academic credit will be overseen by Olin faculty, enable student degree progression, offer meaningful learning experiences, and align with the Olin Learning Outcomes.