MIT has created a Web-based tool to help teachers communicate with each other. The Educational Collaboration Space was born in the university's math department. But it was developed further with a National Science Foundation Grant and now it can be downloaded for free and customized for any group of educators who want to share questions, tips and ideas about teaching.
The ECS is built on a sort of pyramid model, with three different sections: ''discussions,'' ''course pages'' and ''good practices.'' At the bottom level, the discussions section serves as a catch-all for teachers to pose questions and share suggestions about pedagogical puzzles. The course-pages section records what's been done in the department's various courses; teachers can upload material and comment on what worked and what didn't. Finally, the best ideas developed through discussion and put to the classroom test can be preserved in the good-practices section, where they survive for future reference.