Research & Pedagogy

Working with our xConsortium of university partners, edX is empowering research on pedagogy or learning about learning.

The online environment provides a powerful platform to conduct experiments, exploring how students learn and how faculty can best teach using a variety of novel tools and techniques.

Fundamental questions include:

  • What motivates students to learn and persist?
  • What helps students retain knowledge?
  • What are the best ways to teach complex ideas?
  • How can we assess what students have learned?
  • What is best taught in person vs. online?

By carefully assessing course data, from mouse clicks to time spent on tasks, to evaluating how students respond to various assessments, researchers hope to shed light on how learners access information and master materials, with the ultimate aim of improving course outcomes.

We are not only expanding access to knowledge, but developing best practices to enhance the student experience and improve teaching and learning both on campus and online.

Below you will find a sampling of research papers authored by our xConsortium partners:

The Transformative Potential of Blended Learning Using MIT edX’s 6.002x Online MOOC Content Combined with Student Team-Based Learning in Class

San Jose State University 15 Aug 2014 By Khosrow Ghadiri, Senior Member, IEEE, Mohammad H. Qayoumi, Senior Member, IEEE, Ellen Junn, Ping Hsu Member, IEEE, and Sutee Sujitparapitaya
This pilot implemented a blended model of learning  by merging content from an online MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) with in-class, team-based instruction as part of a required undergraduate circuit theory course. The central objective of this pilot was to examine how adaptation of the new MIT edX 6.002x (Electronics and Circuits) MOOC-content in a flipped model of teaching might improve student learning in a credit-bearing college course. Multiple objectives for this pilot included: (1) improve the department’s typical passage rate of 59% for this course; (2) improve students’ retention rate; (3)
shorten students’ time-to-degree; (4) improve the quality of the content of the course; and (5) reduce the prerequisite contribution for successful passage of subsequent courses. Student pass rates from the blended Fall 2012 pilot jumped to 91%, as compared to a 59% passage rate from the previous
year’s traditional face-to face lecture class. It appears that adaptation of high quality MOOC content using a blended approach and in conjunction with a highly structured in-class team-based approach can produce significant benefits in transforming student learning and success.
Read more about The Transformative Potential of Blended Learning Using MIT edX’s 6.002x Online MOOC Content Combined with Student Team-Based Learning in Class
San Jose State University

Privacy, Anonymity, and Big Data in the Social Sciences

acmqueue 14 Aug 2014 By Jon P. Daries, Justin Reich, Jim Waldo, Elise M. Young, Jonathan Whittinghill, Daniel Thomas Seaton, Andrew Dean Ho, Isaac Chuang
Open data has tremendous potential for science, but, in human subjects research, there is a tension between privacy and releasing high-quality open data. Federal law governing student privacy and the release of student records suggests that anonymizing student data protects student privacy. Read more about Privacy, Anonymity, and Big Data in the Social Sciences
acmqueue

Developing and Implementing Effective Instructional Stratgems in STEM

San Jose State University 15 Jun 2014 By Dr. Khosrow Ghadiri
Striving for enriched content and better and more effective instructional delivery models are sincere desires of every faculty member. The advent of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs)  has opened new possibilities. One of the innovative ways of utilizing MOOCs, especially for  challenging subjects and more challenging courses, is as a “flipped classroom”. These new  delivery models can enhance student engagement, improve student retention, and reduce  significantly student failure rate. This is even more critical today with millennial students, because keeping their attention for a traditional 50 to 75 minutes in the lecture hall and having  them listen passively to their lecturer is not realistic. Read more about Developing and Implementing Effective Instructional Stratgems in STEM
San Jose State University

Predicting Student Retention in Massive Open Online Courses using Hidden Markov Models

EECS 17 May 2013 By Girish Balakrishnan
A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is a large-scale web-based course that is offered to a very large number of par- ticipants. In the last few years, MOOCs have seen an increase in popularity due to the emergence of several well-designed online-education websites, such as edX and Coursera, and rising interest from top universities, such as MIT, Stanford and UC Berkeley, to open a variety of their courses to the wider public. The appeal for end consumers lies in the accessibility of high-quality education from any location regardless of personal background. MOOCs typically contain short lecture videos (10-15 minutes), as well as quizzes and homework assignments to assess students’ understanding of subject matter. Read more about Predicting Student Retention in Massive Open Online Courses using Hidden Markov Models
EECS

HarvardX Working Papers

HarvardX 21 Jan 2014 By edX Staff
The first two HarvardX courses launched in October of 2012, and four more courses launched in Spring 2013. As of this date, 14 new and returning courses are slated to launch in the winter and spring. Now that data for the first six HarvardX 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. HarvardX is pleased to make these initial reports available to the public (in tandem with the respective MITx courses). They address simple questions across multiple courses: Who registered? What did they do? Where are they from? Read more about HarvardX Working Papers
HarvardX

MITx Working Papers

MIT Office of Digital Learning 21 Jan 2014 By edX Staff
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. Read more about MITx Working Papers
MIT Office of Digital Learning

Bringing student backgrounds online: MOOC user demographics, site usage, and online learning

Educational Data Mining 6 Jul 2013 By Jennifer DeBoer, Andrew Ho, Glenda Stump, David Pritchard, Daniel Seaton, Lori Breslow
MOOCs gather a rich array of click-stream information from students who interact with the platform. However, without student background information, inferences do not take advantage of a deeper understanding of students’ prior experiences, motivation, and home environment. In this poster, the authors investigate the predictive power of student background factors as well as student experiences with learning materials provided in the first MITx course, “Circuits and Electronics.” Read more about Bringing student backgrounds online: MOOC user demographics, site usage, and online learning
Educational Data Mining

Studying Learning in the Worldwide Classroom: Research into edX’s First MOOC

RPA Journal 14 Jun 2013 By Lori Breslow, David E. Pritchard, Jennifer DeBoer, Glenda S. Stump, Andrew D. Ho and Daniel T. Seaton
“Circuits and Electronics” (6.002x), which began in March 2012, was the first MOOC developed by edX, the consortium led by MIT and Harvard. Over 155,000 students initially registered for 6.002x, which was composed of video lectures, interactive problems, online laboratories, and a discussion forum. As the course ended in June 2012, researchers began to analyze the rich sources of data it generated. Read more about Studying Learning in the Worldwide Classroom: Research into edX’s First MOOC
RPA Journal

An Integrated Framework for the Grading of Freeform Responses

MIT Learning International Networks Consortium 17 Jun 2013 By Piotr F. Mitros, Vikas Paruchuri, John Rogosic, Diana Huang
Massive open online classrooms (MOOCs) have the potential to educate millions of people around the world. Initial MOOC courses were in science and engineering disciplines, where the problems involve constrained choices and can easily be graded automatically. MOOCs must still find ways to deal with essays and short answers, which are required for classes in humanities and the social sciences, and are useful to a variety of other disciplines. Read more about An Integrated Framework for the Grading of Freeform Responses
MIT LINC

Participation And performance In 8.02x Electricity And Magnetism: The First Physics MOOC From MITx

arXiv.org 11 Oct 2013 By Saif Rayyan, Daniel T. Seaton, John Belcher, David E. Pritchard, Isaac Chuang
Massive Open Online Courses are an exciting new avenue for instruction and research, yet they are full of unknowns. In the Spring of 2013, MITx released its first introductory physics MOOC through the edX platform, generating a total enrollment of 43,000 students from around the world. We describe the population of participants in terms of their age, gender, level of education, and country of origin, highlighting both the diversity of 8.02x enrollees as well as gender gap and retention. Read more about Participation And performance In 8.02x Electricity And Magnetism: The First Physics MOOC From MITx
arXiv.org

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