Building on earlier reports from 2014, HarvardX and MITx have released an analysis of 68 courses offered through the edX platform over the past two years, describing the backgrounds and behaviours of over 1.7 million participants. Their findings are an interesting mix of familiar and surprising. In the former category, few who have read other such reports will be surprised to find that the general trend in MOOC registrants seems to be towards older, more educated and more US-based. Or that average enrolments in Computer Science (CS) courses dominate other disciplines. However, in the surprising category are findings such as many participants are current or past teachers, including those in the topic area of the MOOC course, and that certification rates in CS and STEM courses tend to be around half those in other disciplinary areas. The report contains a wealth of detail, novel analysis and insight and will become widely cited within the MOOC literature.
Ho, A. D., Chuang, I., Reich, J., Coleman, C., Whitehill, J., Northcutt, C., Williams, J. J., Hansen, J., Lopez, G., & Petersen, R. (2015). HarvardX and MITx: Two years of open online courses (HarvardX Working Paper No. 10). http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2586847