Publications and Presentations

Featured Research

Designing Adaptive Learning and Assessment in HarvardX: Collaborative Project by Harvard University and TutorGen.

HarvardX and MITx: Four Years of Open Online Courses, Fall 2012-Summer 2016, is available for immediate download and is also available as part of our working paper series. 

HarvardX and MITx: Two Years of Open Online Courses, Fall 2012-Summer 2014.

HarvardX and MITx: The First Year of Open Online Courses, Fall 2012-Summer 2013

For a full listing of VPAL Research publications, visit their publications page.


HX Research Publications

HX Bibliography
The HX Bibliography provides a comprehensive list of published works from both the HX and MITx research teams since 2012. Published works include peer reviewed journals, white papers, briefs, and presentations. 

HarvardX Working Papers
The HarvardX Working Paper Series consists of papers and reports that give researchers and the broader public access to current research findings from the HarvardX research organization. HarvardX Working Papers are generally written by HarvardX researchers, or their collaborators, and they use HarvardX data to inform the learning of students on and off campus. 

HarvardX Research Memos
Memos are intended to share early research findings and observations from the field that can lead to further study by HarvardX researchers or collaborators. 

Peer Reviewed Publications
These are publications featured in peer-reviewed journals and mainstream publications by HarvardX researchers and collaborators. 

Conference Proceedings
View the latest papers presented by HarvardX fellows and collaborators. 

Invited Presentations and Keynote Talks 
HarvardX researchers are frequently invited to give talks about their scholarship and on-going research. This is a list of our recent talks.


Journal Papers

  • Breslow, L., Pritchard, D. E., DeBoer, J., Stump, G. S., Ho, A. D., & Seaton, D. (2013). Studying learning in the worldwide classroom: Research into edx’s first mooc. Research & Practice in Assessment, 8, 13-25.

  • DeBoer, J., Ho, A. D., Stump, G. S., & Breslow, L. (2014). Changing “Course”: Reconceptualizing educational variables for massive open online courses. Educational Researcher, 43(2), 74-84. doi:10.3102/0013189X14523038
  • Reich, J.; Tingley, D.; Leder-Luis, J.; Roberts, M.; Stewart, B. (under submission) Computer-Assisted Reading and Discovery for Student Generated Text in Massive Open Online Courses.


  • How to De-Identify your Data (Jim Waldo, Olivia Angiuli, and Joe Blitzstein)
    Last year we discovered that while it was possible to produce a de-identified data set for the HarvardX and MITx courses, that set led to very different conclusions than were drawn from the original data set. This seemed to leave us with a Hobson’s choice, between sharing the data and respecting the privacy of our learners. This talk with look at mechanisms for de-identification in the hope that we can slip between the horns of the dilemma. We will first describe some of the factors that we believe caused the bias in last year’s de-identified data. We will then talk about different mechanisms that we have explored for de-identification, which appear to be promising. With any luck, we will even be able to compare the results of a new way of de-identifying the data based on the analyses done last year. We will end with some wild speculation on how this could be applied to the second-year data set, and where this kind of research can go in the future.

  • HarvardX Research: Future Directions (Justin Reich)

Conference Proceedings and Papers

  • Nesterko, S., Dostenko, S., Hu, Q., Seaton, D., Reich, J., Chuang, I., Ho, A. (2013, December). Evaluating geographic data in MOOCs. Presented at the Neural Information Processing Systems Workshop on Data Driven Education, Lake Tahoe, NV.
  • Nesterko, S., Seaton, D., Reich, J., McIntyre, J., Han, Q., Chuang, I., Ho, A. (March 2014) Due Dates in MOOCs: Does Stricter Mean Better? (accepted)
  • Reich, J., Fisher, W., Cox, D., Levy, N., Oertelt, N. (2014, March) The Path, The Pocket, and the Party: Learner-Centered Innovation in Open Online Learning. To be presented at the 2014 Digital Media and Learning Conference, Boston, MA.
  • Seaton, D., Nesterko, S., Reich, J., Mullaney, T., Ho, A., Chuang, I. (2014, February). Characterizing video use in the catalogue of MITx MOOCs. EMOOCs 2014, the Second MOOC European Stakeholders Summit, Lausanne, Switzerland.
  • Whitehill, Jacob, Williams, Joseph, and Reich, Justin. (2014, December). Beyond Prediction: First Steps Toward Automatic Intervention in MOOC Student Dropout. Presented at NIPS 2014, Montreal, Canada. 

Book Chapters

  • Vale, Katie, Harvard University and Littlejohn, Allison, Caledonian Academy, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK. "Massive Open Online Courses: A traditional or transformative approach to learning?", in Reusing Open Resources: Learning in Open Networks for Work, Life and Education (Routledge, 2014.)


  • EdTech Researcher
    • Reich, J., The State of MOOCs: An EdTechTeacher Retrospective 
    • Reich, J., All MOOCs on One Slide
    • Reich, J., MOOCs as Three Kinds of LMS
    • Reich, J., MOOC: Textbook or Course
    • Reich, J., MOOC Killer Apps: Autograder vs. Syndication Engine
    • Reich, J., On our cMOOC inspired site for the Future of Learning Institute
    • Reich, J., Research Questions for HarvardX
    • Reich, J., Will Free Benefit the Rich?
    • Reich, J., MOOCs and Higher Education’s Non-Consumers
    • Reich, J., Four Types of MOOC Research
    • Reich, J., The Learning of a MOOC Dropout
    • Reich, J., Dear Discourse, Let’s Start Over, Love MOOCs

Related Materials

  • Blended Learning in Harvard College: A Pilot Study of Four Courses
    Executive Summary, Results, Recommendations and Surveys (Spring/Summer 2014) Available upon request.

  • Archaeology at Large: Embracing Massive Audiences for Online Applications. Jeffery Emanuel. Presented at: Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology Conference (CAA) 2014, April 22-25, 2014.
    The open, inclusive nature of MOOC-based learning experiences can allow them to compete with similarly free and open sources of information about archaeological topics that are broadly accessible on the public Internet. Further, in the MOOC environment, experts leading open online learning experiences can draw in new participants, while simultaneously ensuring that the facts, techniques, and practices conveyed in their particular learning experience represent accurate scholarly interpretation and understanding, as well as the most up-to-date professional standards and methods. Successful participants, in turn, may go on to serve as international and intercultural hubs from which accurate, professionally-conveyed information can flow outward to various peripheries, while at the same time the multicultural nature of MOOC audiences may also serve as a mechanism for improving the professional practice of archaeology, in part by creating a feedback loop via which practitioners can be exposed to viewpoints and cultural interpretations that might not be commonly considered.
  • The MOOC syllabus blues: Strategies for MOOCs and syllabus materials. Kyle K. Courtney. November 2013. College & Research Libraries Newsvol. 74 no. 10 514-517.
    In library circles over the past two years, the elephant in the room has been “How will we support Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) at our institution?” edX is the not-for-profit organization founded by Harvard and MIT to transform education worldwide by offering MOOCs for free. edX has engaged in a number of partnerships with other educational institutions to offer interesting courses. For this article I will be focusing on strategies for the syllabus materials, and the opportunities it creates for faculty to learn about copyright, open access (OA), and publication.