Education | Research + Perspectives for the Pandemic

The 2023 cohort with Prof. Helen Elaine Lee (left) and guide Pedro Moreira (center) at the Rio Museum of Art

MIT SHASS undergraduates study race, place, and modernity in Brazil

MIT undergraduates visit São Paulo for the Independent Activities Period (IAP) subject “Race, Place, and Modernity in the Americas.


Webinar Series | History of Now: Plagues & Pandemics

In the spring of 2020, as people around the world confronted the daily reality of the Covid-19 pandemic, many wondered how previous generations navigated similar crises. At MIT, an interdisciplinary team of humanistic faculty explored this question in a course that broke ground as a live, free MIT class, held in an open public webinar format so that anyone who wanted to attend could do so, from anywhere in the world.

globe and coronavirus form


For the pandemic, MIT History opens a course to the public via a free, live webinar format.

Hundreds from around the world responded to the opportunity and joined MIT students in the weekly class, "History of Now: Plagues and Pandemic." The experimental webinar format also greatly expanded the scope of expertise available to students, bringing in speakers from fields ranging from microbial biology to economics.


Professors Heather Hendershot and Marah Gubar discuss CNN/Sesame Street Town Halls for children on the pandemic, racism

"I'm interested in thinking about the town halls as media events and, more specifically, as political media events. Cable news is so polarized right now, and when you deal with kids and anything with political dimensions, it’s sort of inherently a hot potato situation."

Portrait of Professor Anne McCants


Faculty Reflections | Anne McCants, Professor of History

An ongoing series of notes from the Director of the MIT Concourse Program for her students and others during the pandemic

illustration of a Norse Viking ship


Partiing advice from MIT historian Eric Goldberg to the students in his Vikings class

Based on the advice from Odin in the Old Norse poem Hávamál (Sayings of the High One)

potrait of Jia Hui Lee


"An Index for the Time Being" | Poetry by Jia Hui Lee

In 21W.771 (Writing Poetry Workshop), taught by acclaimed poet Erica Funkhouser, Lee creates a work for this moment of isolation.

Portrait of Justin Reich


The biggest distance-learning experiment in history

On NPR's All Things Considered, Justin Reich, CMS/W Assistant Professor, and director of the MIT Teaching Systems Lab reflects on best practices for remote learning.  Plus a link to collection of all Reich's recent public commentaries. 

portrait of Claudia Chen


Claudia Chen ’20 | Comparative Media Studies + MechE

“As a MechE student, I think about technical solutions to our world’s biggest problems. As a CMS student, I think about the effects and implications these technical solutions have on our society and our media ecosystems."

photo of student studying online


Rolling out remote learning at MIT

MIT News — Meghan Perdue, MIT-SHASS digital learning fellow, catalyzes MIT’s plans to shift to online teaching in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

MIT Hayden Library


MIT Libraries | Resources during the Pandemic

All MIT Libraries (including 24-hour spaces and book drops) are closed until further notice, but will continue to provide resources, services, and consulting online. 

image of working remotely via the internet


When the coronavirus pandemic drove life online

On NBC News, MIT Professor Sherry Turkle discusses how the pandemic is inspiring people and groups around the world to use the internet in new and creative ways to connect: "The move online could end up changing what it means to be online," she says.

Portrait of anthropologist Manduhai Buhandelger


An ethnology of disruptions in Cambridge, MA

At American Ethnologist, MIT anthropologist Manduhai Buyandelger tracks racism, virtual realities, and world building in Cambridge during the Covid-19 pandemic