MIT Office of Digital Learning

MITx Working Papers


On May 2, 2012, the presidents of MIT and Harvard University stood side by side to introduce edX, a jointly owned, not-for-profit venture to deliver open online learning opportunities to anyone around the world with an internet connection. The goals of the enterprise include increased access to educational opportunities worldwide, enhancement of on-campus residential education, and research about effective technology-mediated education. The respective university efforts to achieve these goals are known as HarvardX and MITx.

“The potential of new technologies is presenting all of us in higher education with a historic opportunity: the opportunity to better serve society by reinventing what we do and how we do it. It is an opportunity we must seize.” - MIT President Rafael Reif

The first three MITx courses launched in the Fall of 2012, seven more courses launched in the Spring of 2013, and one in the Summer of 2013.  As of this date, fifteen more courses recently completed or are about to commence, and dozens more modules and courses are in development. Now that data for the first 11 MITx courses have been delivered and analyzed, this is an opportune time to examine these first offerings, in order to inform ongoing course design and research.

MITx is pleased to make these initial reports available to the public (in tandem with the respective HarvardX courses). They address simple questions across multiple courses: Who registered?  What did they do?  Where are they from?

  • HarvardX and MITx: The First Year of Open Online Courses (MITx Working Paper #1)
    The first three MITx open online courses launched on the edX platform in September, 2012; seven more courses launched in Spring 2013. This report and its companion course reports examine these initial six course offerings — alongside the initial 7 HarvardX courses — in order to inform ongoing course design and research. Now that data has been delivered and analyzed, it is an ideal time to examine these initial offerings in order to inform ongoing course design and research.

Results from this paper were presented at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, at 6pm on January 21, 2013.

Working papers 2 through 12 are individual course reports.  We strongly encourage reading these reports (and the companion HarvardX course reports) as a package to understand the full story of the HarvardX and MITx initiative in its first year: