HarvardX and MITx Report on 4 Years of Open Online Courses

Harvard and MIT logos on top of collage of images from online courses

How have Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) evolved since they first leaped into the learning landscape in 2012? A new report, “HarvardX and MITx: Four Years of Open Online Courses” offers fresh insights into learner engagement and behavior from four years of HarvardX and MITx online courses on the nonprofit learning platform, edX.

The report, produced by the Research Committee for the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning at Harvard University and the Office of Digital Learning at MIT, represents data from one of the largest surveys of MOOCs to date — including 290 MITx and HarvardX courses, 245 thousand certificates, 4.5 million participants, 28 million participant-hours, and 2.3 billion events logged online.

Tracking the transition of the MOOC movement from its birth through its adolescence, the report summarizes a number of key findings including:

  • Cumulative trends in participation and certification
  • Course participation and demographics
  • Flow of participants between courses
  • Teachers as course participants

Dot chart representing data to illustrate the demographics of 100 MOOC students

Participants in a MOOC “classroom” are heterogeneous in background and intention. There is no physical classroom like it on Earth. 

Read more about the findings in this Harvard Gazette article, and view the full report at: HarvardX and MITx: Four Years of Open Online Courses, Fall 2012–Summer 2016.