MIT Media Lab launches Digital Learning + Collaboration Studio


Louis Mallart

Louis Mallart

The MIT Media Lab is creating a Digital Learning + Collaboration Studio in order to develop new tools and methods for online learning and remote collaboration, and appoints Philipp Schmidt as its founding director. The purpose of the studio is to co-design and launch new online learning programs with the broader Lab community. 

Covid-19 has brought the importance, and the challenges, of digital learning and collaboration to the forefront. It has also opened up an opportunity to question old assumptions and test new approaches. It has highlighted the need for experiences that foster curiosity, serendipity, and community—all the things we so keenly miss in these days of endless video calls and chat  messages. The potential benefits of this work are important: more equitable education systems, more innovative companies, and more resilient communities. 

The studio will lead and coordinate the Media Lab's work in digital learning and collaboration and focus on three areas:

  • Professional learning: Launch a platform for online courses and other remote collaboration opportunities for Media Lab member companies. Our first set of courses will be announced later this year on topics including antiracism and technology, resilient communities, and blockchain applications. 
  • Graduate education: Integrate the use of digital tools with the way our graduate students learn and collaborate by working closely with our academic program (Media Arts and Sciences). For example, we will experiment with tele-casting technology to deepen the sense of immersion and immediacy in online seminars.
  • Outreach: Broaden the Media Lab’s impact by openly sharing our ideas and research, and by co-designing new solutions together with communities around the world. The Media Lab’s work with public libraries will continue as part of these outreach efforts. 

These programs will be modeled after the way we learn at the Media Lab: by working on projects we are passionate about, collaborating with peers, and embodying an experimental and playful spirit. The studio will emphasize the creative use of existing and widely accessible tools, publish how-to materials, and curate toolkits to make it easier for others to develop their own experiments. It will also serve as a deployment channel and test bed for Media Lab research projects and help disseminate new tools widely. 

In his new role as director of Digital Learning and Collaboration, Philipp will be building on previous work with the Media Lab Learning Initiative (which will transition into the studio structure) and as co-founder of Peer 2 Peer University, a global grassroots community for alternative higher education. Philipp will be reporting to the director of the Lab. 

The launch of the studio is timely, but its work informs a broader and lasting shift in how we will organize education and work going forward. For more information, please reach out to

Header image courtesy Louis Mallart.

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