At a conference hosted by Harvard and MIT, schools using the open-source edX platform agreed on a common data structure for their online courses, with the goal of facilitating research on how students learn.

With online courses now part of the mainstream, colleges and universities are collecting terabytes of data on how students interact with their systems and content. But most schools gather this data according to their own specs, which makes comparisons difficult for researchers trying to identify broader trends.

However, this may all change in the wake of a conference hosted by Harvard and MIT this August that...

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