Data & Research

The HarvardX Research Committee is charged with the coordination and support of HarvardX research.

Recent developments include:

  • Publication of a series of HarvardX Working Papers
  • An NSF-funded grant with MIT that analyzes student participation, persistence, performance in open online courses;
  • A HarvardX Research Registry for the coordination and support of ongoing and proposed research in HarvardX courses; and
  • A HarvardX Data Repository that stores HarvardX course data for secure secondary analysis by registered researchers.

Motivation

  • Why do students take HarvardX courses?
  • What rationales do they provide when asked open-ended questions about motivations and aspirations?
  • How do they rank competing alternatives that we propose? How do these rationales predict course activity, course persistence, and student learning outcomes?
  • Are there ways to experimentally manipulate student declarations of commitment in order to produce better (or worse) outcomes in regards to student activity, course persistence, and student learning?

Commitment

  • What is the range and distribution of student commitment levels among students registering for a HarvardX course?
  • How does commitment level at registration predict course activity, course persistence, and student learning outcomes?
  • Are there ways to experimentally manipulate student declarations of commitment in order to produce better (or worse) outcomes in regards to student activity, course persistence, and student learning?

Background

  • What are the backgrounds of our students in terms of geographic location, socioeconomic status, education level, and previous experience with online learning and pervious experience with the course topic?
  • How do those background and experience predict course activity, course persistence, and student learning outcomes?

Learning Conditions

  • What are the circumstances under which people are taking these courses?
  • What times of day do they expect to work?
  • What technologies do they expect to expect to have access to?
  • Do they plan to work in public or private spaces?
  • How likely are they to encounter access difficulties?
  • Do they have plans for addressing potential difficulties in access?
  • How do learning conditions predict student activity, persistence, or learning outcomes?
  • Experimentally, does being asked these questions in advance of a course change student activity, persistence, and learning outcomes?