Developed and overseen by the HarvardX Faculty Committee, the following guiding principles were created to ensure that HarvardX courses, modules, and related content offer excellence and high quality and are reflective of Harvard's values, priorities, and intellectual breadth and depth.
- HarvardX should reflect the diversity of disciplines, ways of knowing, and intellectual priorities of all the schools of Harvard University.
- HarvardX should support modes of learning and curricular approaches for a variety of student backgrounds.
- HarvardX should provide high quality educational engagement and learning experiences to the widest range of individuals with an Internet connection.
- HarvardX should enhance learning opportunities for all Harvard students.
- HarvardX should support ways to address a wide range of educational research questions at the individual course level and across multiple courses/pathways.
- Courses proposed for HarvardX should be reviewed and approved by a broadly representative faculty committee that will also solicit feedback from the Curriculum Committee of the school or department most appropriate for the subject matter.
Content and Connectivity
- HarvardX courses should be led by Harvard faculty.
- The faculty lead for each course will be responsible for both its intellectual development and its execution at a level of quality appropriate for Harvard.
- HarvardX courses should adhere to the educational expectations defined by the relevant Harvard school or department.
- This principle will accommodate variation from the usual on-campus courses in areas such as content coverage, duration, and forms of assessment, while ensuring that HarvardX courses remain aligned with each school or department’s intellectual vision.
- HarvardX courses should explicitly enhance teaching and learning in Harvard’s schools or departments.
- Entire HarvardX courses or their components should contribute to Harvard’s on-campus courses or other educational efforts, either internally or externally directed.
- HarvardX courses can address any topic that an on-campus course at any Harvard school would address.
- HarvardX courses are not limited to topics that have been previously covered and can certainly break new ground, while maintaining the principle of connectivity to Harvard’s other teaching and learning efforts.
Pedagogical and Research Format
- HarvardX courses should have clearly articulated learning goals.
- These can include engagement with specific bodies of knowledge, learning of particular skill sets – both qualitative and quantitative, and exploration of particular ways of knowing.
- HarvardX courses should align explicit learning goals with the teaching framework of the course.
- The teaching framework includes the various ways information is delivered, how student understanding is assessed (formative and summative), and what modes of interaction between students and between students and teaching staff are supported.
- HarvardX courses should support different kinds of assessment.
- These include both formative and summative assessment of student learning, as well as assessment of the course design, instruments and student pathways through the material.
- All available data about the course and student performance will be collected, preserved, and shared with approved researchers.
- Individual students' identities will be kept confidential, but not necessarily anonymous; all data is subject to use for ongoing research to improve teaching and learning.
- Assignment of rights to use all data gathered should be a principle of participation in HarvardX.
- HarvardX courses should include some mechanism for reviewing and updating the content and pedagogy if appropriate.
- There should be a process whereby assessment data are easily used to refine the content and pedagogy of the course.