MITx Working Papers

Kimberly Allen, TALL blog, Jan 21, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I've received an email from Kim Allen at MIT concerning the results of the MITx and Harvardx MOOC projects, which I'll quote at some length: "MIT and Harvard University today announced the release of a series of working papers based on 17 online courses offered on the edX platform... The working paper series features detailed reports about individual courses; these reports reveal differences and commonalities among massive open online courses (MOOCs)." Key takeaways include:

  • Course completion rates, often seen as a bellwether for MOOCs, can be misleading and may at times be counterproductive.
  • Most MOOC attrition happened after students first registered for a course. On average, 50 percent of people left within a week or two of enrolling.
  • Given the massive scale of some MOOCs, small percentages are often still large numbers of students — and signify a potentially large impact.

Key links: MITx Working Papers, HarvardX Working Papers, Working Paper #1: HarvardX and MITx: The First Year of Open Online Courses, Fall 2012-Summer 2013, Pilot Data Visualizations, Courses on edX (Note that some of these links have been quite slow to respond (but that might just be my network here in Ottawa)).

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