HarvardX and MITx: Four Years of Open Online Courses -- Fall 2012-Summer 2016

19 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2016 Last revised: 16 Jan 2017

See all articles by Isaac Chuang

Isaac Chuang

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

Andrew Ho

Harvard University; Harvard University - Extension School

Date Written: December 23, 2016


In 2014 and 2015, a joint research team from Harvard University and MIT released summary reports describing the first two years of Harvard and MIT open online courses launched on the nonprofit learning platform, edX. These reports set expectations for the demographics and behavior of course participants and established an analytic framework for understanding the then-nascent online learning context known as the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

This “Year 4 Report” extends these earlier findings to four complete years of HarvardX and MITx courses on edX, resulting in one of the largest surveys of MOOCs to date: 290 courses, 245 thousand certificates, 4.5 million participants, 28 million participant-hours, and 2.3 billion events logged online. We present our findings in a series of nine exhibits that address questions about the evolution of the MOOC movement from its birth in 2012, through its current adolescence.

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

Suggested Citation

Chuang, Isaac and Ho, Andrew, HarvardX and MITx: Four Years of Open Online Courses -- Fall 2012-Summer 2016 (December 23, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2889436 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2889436

Isaac Chuang (Contact Author)

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)

Andrew Ho

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harvard University - Extension School ( email )

125 Mt Auburn St.
Cambridge, MA 02476
United States

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