HarvardX and MITx: Two Years of Open Online Courses Fall 2012-Summer 2014

37 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2015 Last revised: 1 Apr 2015

Andrew Dean Ho

Harvard University; Harvard University - HarvardX

Isaac Chuang

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Office of Digital Learning; MIT

Justin Reich

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Office of Digital Learning

Cody Austun Coleman

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Jacob Whitehill

Harvard University

Curtis G Northcutt

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Joseph Jay Williams

Harvard University

John D Hansen

Harvard University

Glenn Lopez

Harvard University

Rebecca Petersen

Harvard University - HarvardX

Date Written: March 30, 2015

Abstract

What happens when well-known universities offer online courses, assessments, and certificates of completion for free? Early descriptions of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have emphasized large enrollments, low certification rates, and highly educated registrants. We use data from two years and 68 open online courses offered by Harvard University (via HarvardX) and MIT (via MITx) to broaden the scope of answers to this question. We describe trends over this two-year span, depict participant intent using comprehensive survey instruments, and chart course participation pathways using network analysis. We find that overall participation in our MOOCs remains substantial and that the average growth has been steady. We explore how diverse audiences — including explorers, teachers-as-learners, and residential students — provide opportunities to advance the principles on which HarvardX and MITx were founded: access, research, and residential education.

Keywords: MOOC, massive open online course, HarvardX, MITx, edX, online learning, distance education, higher education, residential learning

Suggested Citation

Ho, Andrew Dean and Chuang, Isaac and Reich, Justin and Coleman, Cody Austun and Whitehill, Jacob and Northcutt, Curtis G and Williams, Joseph Jay and Hansen, John D and Lopez, Glenn and Petersen, Rebecca, HarvardX and MITx: Two Years of Open Online Courses Fall 2012-Summer 2014 (March 30, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2586847 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2586847

Andrew Dean Ho

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harvard University - HarvardX ( email )

125 Mt Auburn St.
Cambridge, MA 02476
United States

Isaac Chuang

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Office of Digital Learning ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

MIT ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States
617 253-1692 (Phone)

Justin Reich

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Office of Digital Learning ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

Cody Austun Coleman

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Electrical Engineering and Computer Science ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Jacob Whitehill

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Curtis G Northcutt

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Joseph Jay Williams

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

John D Hansen

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Glenn Lopez

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Rebecca Petersen (Contact Author)

Harvard University - HarvardX ( email )

125 Mt Auburn St.
Cambridge, MA 02476
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
7,726
Rank
512
Abstract Views
29,581