Harvard boosts on-campus reuse of online course content

April 14, 2017


A Harvard University collaboration is facilitating reuse of content from HarvardX’s Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)—offering new access to educational resources for on-campus teaching and learning.  

Education data scientists from Harvard’s Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning Research team and technologists from Harvard University Information Technology and HarvardX have jointly created and are initiating a beta launch of HarvardDART (Digital Assets for Reuse in Teaching): a modern search application easing discovery of digital teaching and learning assets from HarvardX’s over 100 online courses. Read more about creation of DART in the Harvard Gazette.

HarvardX, a University-wide strategic initiative whose online portfolio includes one of the most impressive collections of liberal arts and sciences courses of any MOOC provider, has reached over two million unique users in 193 countries. In addition to reaching learners globally, HarvardX has worked to identify opportunities to leverage its online learning content in Harvard’s on-campus classes—and has helped create over 20 blended courses at the University using HarvardX materials. DART will help support this important goal by offering instant access to HarvardX content and the ability to more easily embed individual learning assets—including videos, assessments, or text pages–in Harvard classrooms.

Prior to the development of DART, educational assets within a HarvardX course were only accessible after registering for and taking the course on edX, an independent online learning platform. The DART application gathers all HarvardX courses and materials together, enabling the Harvard community to quickly search and preview content on a wide range of topics–and discover connections between courses, faculty, and subject matter. Later this year, DART will also allow integration of these resources into the University’s Canvas learning management system (LMS) for use in on-campus courses. 

“HarvardX has worked to ensure that its amazing educational content impacts learners across the globe and on Harvard’s campus,” said Peter K. Bol, Harvard’s Vice Provost for Advances in Learning (VPAL) and Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations. “DART will make it far easier for our faculty to access and use HarvardX assets in Harvard classrooms.”

“We have always had a desire to make HarvardX materials more adaptable in a variety of different ways,” said HarvardX Faculty Director and Professor of the Practice of Molecular and Cellular Biology Robert A. Lue. “DART offers a mechanism to help our audience find what they are looking for, and is an absolutely crucial step in the evolution of HarvardX’s materials being more widely available and reusable.”

“DART’s content offers an amazing number of learning resources that could be utilized outside of class as lecture preparatory materials—opening up opportunities for faculty to really think critically about how to use classroom time,” said Dustin Tingley, VPAL Research Faculty Director and Professor of Government.

“Making it easier for faculty and students to teach and learn is central to HUIT’s mission,” said Alan Wolf, Managing Director for HUIT’s Academic Technology Services. “We were pleased to collaborate with the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning Research team and HarvardX to create the DART tool, which will work seamlessly with existing University technology.”

As part of the beta launch, search and preview of HarvardX resources within the DART application is now available to users on-campus or through VPN. Capability to integrate DART assets within Harvard’s Canvas LMS for on-campus courses will be available for the fall 2017 semester.