Out of the echo chamber: New grant enables research into online course forums

November 6, 2015

Originally published by MIT News, Maria E. Cruz Lopez | Office of Digital Learning

The increasing popularity of massive open online courses (MOOCs) has created new pathways to education, connecting diverse groups of learners not bound by geography. But what happens when these online students engage and interact? Do they build bridges of healthy discourse or do they form siloes of insular thinking — and is it possible for instructors to forge communities founded on conversation rather than conflict?

Welcome Kyle Shachmut, HarvardX's New Project Manager or Accessibility

September 22, 2015

Kyle Shachmut has joined HarvardX's as a new project manager for accessibility.

An expert in educational technology and accessibility (making technology more useable to people with disabilities), he will work on helping HarvardX improve processes and products.

Shachmut joins HarvardX from Boston College where he worked for IT in the school of education.

He has advocated prominently for greater accessibility in higher education and technology in recent years.

Learning About Learning Creates Connections

September 16, 2015
Harvard’s Vice Provost for Advances in Learning (VPAL), Peter Bol, announced today the formation of the VPAL Research Group. The organization integrates HarvardX and the research fellows’ programs from the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching (HILT) and adds new leadership and positions.

Study Identifies New Cheating Method in MOOCs

August 25, 2015

While the proliferation of massive open online courses (MOOCs) has expanded learning opportunities for individuals around the world, the digital classroom is also subject to many of the same issues as the traditional one — such as cheating.

In a new working paper, researchers at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have identified a new method of cheating specific to open online courses, and have recommended a number of strategies that are proving effective in preventing it.

Welcome HarvardX Project Lead Zofia Gajdos

July 6, 2015

Zofia Gajdos has joined HarvardX a project lead.

Zofia comes to HarvardX from Harvard Medical School (HMS) where she was a curriculum fellow for the Infectious Diseases Consortium.

While at HMS, she worked on curriculum development and planning of paracurricular activities for graduate students who study infectious diseases across all of the Harvard life sciences programs and departments. 

Zofia has a particular interest in understanding how to bring technology into the classroom and identifying best practices for online and distance education.

Massive Study from Harvard and MIT on MOOCs Provides New Insights on an Evolving Space

April 1, 2015

Since “Year of the MOOC” became a catchphrase in 2012, massive open online courses have had their fans and detractors. Some have claimed that online learning is a “disruptive revolution” and a harbinger of the end of residential colleges, while others have called MOOCs “mere marketing” at best or an abject failure at worst, singling out low completion rates. 

Expanded data and research about MOOC participants and evidence-based assessments of online learning trends might, however, begin to move the conversation beyond anecdotes and heated opinions.