A joint research team from Harvard University and MIT today announced the release of a comprehensive report on learner engagement and behavior in 290 massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Building on their prior work – 2014 and 2015 benchmark reports describing the first two years of open online courses launched on edX, a non-profit learning platform co-founded by the two institutions – the team’s new study reviews four years of data and represents one of the largest surveys of MOOCs: spanning 290 MIT and Harvard online courses, a quarter-million certifications, 4.5 million participants and 28 million participant-hours.

The report is the latest product stemming from a collaborative, cross-institutional research effort led by Isaac Chuang, MIT Senior Associate Dean of Digital Learning and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Professor of Physics, and Andrew Ho, Chair of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning (VPAL) Research Committee and Professor of Education at Harvard. The group’s four years of research aims to address questions about the evolution of the MOOC movement, building upon findings from previous reports.

“Strong collaboration has enabled MIT and Harvard to jointly examine nearly thirty million hours of online learner behavior and the growth of the MOOC space,” said Isaac Chuang  MIT senior associate dean of Digital Learning and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Professor of Physics. “Our latest report features data from four full years of MITx and HarvardX courses, exploring in-depth information on demographics and behavior of course participants.”

“Each year, we release a report so that everyone can see the data for themselves,” said Andrew Ho, research committee chair for Harvard’s Vice Provost for Advances in Learning.  “We hope it helps institutions, faculty, students, and the public learn more about these unprecedented global classrooms.”

“This reporting series continues to provide the benchmark for understanding the MOOC ecosystem created by Harvard and MIT,” said Dustin Tingley, faculty director of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning Research Team and Professor of Government at Harvard.

(Next page: The report and its findings)


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