The HarvardX mission includes a commitment to research. A strong proposal will include a research component and/or indicate willingness to collaborate with researchers. The research mission is coordinated and supported by the HarvardX Research Committee, a body comprised of members from across the university, in the humanities, professions, arts, and sciences.
Research and inquiry are broadly conceived but must contribute to generalizable knowledge, disseminated beyond this university by you or by the leaders of the projects that your course may support.
Your commitment to HarvardX research may take many forms. We ask those of you with clear research goals and resources to keep the research committee apprised of your intentions and ultimately your findings.
- For those of you with nascent research goals, we encourage you to contact the research committee early in the process.
- For those of you with no particular research goals, we ask for your willingness to allow your course to be a site for a research collaboration. You may arrange for this collaboration on your own, or you may select this collaboration from menu of options compiled by the research committee. Many of these menu options require little to no additional work from your teaching team (see below for examples).
Members of the research committee are happy to discuss the HarvardX research mission with you and your team, and they can inform you and your team about research resources and work done to date. Contact the chair, Andrew_Ho@harvard.edu , for additional details.
The research committee welcomes a broad range of research proposals. For teams with no research agenda of their own, we ask that faculty negotiate a collaboration on their own or work with the research committee to select from a menu of possible research options led by collaborators.
Three examples from this menu follow. These examples are illustrative, not exhaustive, and options may vary over time. Although the following proposals are experimental in nature, the committee encourages proposals from a broad range of academic traditions.
- "In Real Life" - What is the impact of a small-scale, in-person meeting between a HarvardX instructional team and HarvardX students? Students in the greater Boston area are randomly selected to participate in an in-person activity of the instructor's choosing, on Harvard campus with the HarvardX teaching team. Comparing these students to their randomly non-selected students along diverse future outcomes begins to indicate the impact of in-person interactions on learning and participation.
- "Face Time" - How can videotaped assessments change the conception of a learning product, and how do these outcomes compare to more traditional assessments? Students are randomly selected to opt into a pilot study for YouTube-style videotaped assessments, and are asked to record themselves teaching a concept or topic learned in the course or module. These videos are graded by the teaching team and peers and compared to the results from traditional assessments for reliability and validity. The impact of participation in this pilot can be measured by comparing those who were offered the pilot to those who were not.
- "Survey Fatigue" - How do surveys cause attrition among students, and are these students who would otherwise participate meaningfully in the course or module? Students are randomly assigned to surveys of different lengths and styles, including those designed to make students feel as though their participation introduces them into a diverse community of learners. The random assignment allows estimation of the positive and negative impact of surveys on diverse learning and participation outcomes. Note that all HarvardX courses will have a common survey beginning in the fall of 2013. Instructors may add their own additional survey questions and designs at their discretion.