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Dr. Mary Ellen Wiltrout

MIT Open Learning
Lecturer, MITx Digital Learning Scientist

Mary Ellen Wiltrout completed her PhD in Biology at MIT, studying translesion synthesis in Graham Walker's lab. In the fall of 2009, she began working as the preceptor for MCB 52, a Molecular Biology course at Harvard University with Rich Losick, Briana Burton, and Tom Torello. Mary Ellen managed a staff of teaching fellows, oversaw the execution of a discovery-based lab for the students, and gave lectures for the course. She also taught several of her own courses at Harvard Extension School, including a DNA repair and mutagenesis proseminar that focused on reading and writing primary literature. In 2011, she completed the HHMI Summer Institute on Undergraduate Education in Biology and led a group in 2012. In 2013, Mary Ellen moved to the Broad Institute to be part of the core group creating Eric Lander's MITx course on edX called “7.00x Introduction to Biology - The Secret of Life.”

Mary Ellen currently oversees the execution and evolution of MIT Department of Biology’s digital learning strategy with a group of two postdoctoral scholars and several graduate and undergraduate student contributors. The group develops digital learning content for MIT students and advises evidence-based teaching practices. They also create MITx courses — available on edX to anyone — and research the design of digital learning content.

In 2016, Mary Ellen earned the Infinite Mile Award from the MIT Department of Biology. In 2017 and 2018, she was included on the Reimagine Education shortlist for Hybrid Learning.

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