Course structure refers to the type, frequency, and order of resources in a given course. Within an MITx course on edX , course structure is composed of a few base resource types (problems, videos, html pages), each categorized under a specific course component. Figure 1 visualizes the 621 resources of 7.00x in terms of their course component categories, where each line indicates a separate resource, and the length approximates the weight of the component toward final course grade (lecture sequences do not count). Text labels indicate selected chapters, which are the highest level on the “courseware” menu that houses the course content.
Figure 1. (Top) Course structure visualization highlighting course resource density, where the y-axis represents the temporal order of resources in the course. (Bottom) A legend providing context for each course component.
For 7.00x, each week began with a Lecture Sequence containing videos (orange) of modularized lectures by Professor Lander recorded at MIT. Graded “Test Yourself Questions” (black) were inserted between nearly all videos to reinforce lecture. Further graded assessment was administered through a combination of Homework (silver) and Examinations (red). Homework included numerical and formula response as well as unique problems involving computer simulations and visualizations (see page 7). Additional “Deep Dives” (blue) provided videos of MIT graduate students presenting problem-solving strategies. “Lab Videos” (green) demonstrated some of the techniques discussed in lectures. Supplemental learning components (not pictured in Figure 1) included a threaded discussion forum for students and staff, a free online eText hosted outside the course, and a staff-student editable wiki.
The weekly release of chapters in 7.00x occurred over 13 calendar weeks. Final course grades were determined by six homework sets (20%), two midterms (50%), and a final exam (30%). Certification was granted to students whose final grades were 58% or greater.
To date, MITx courses on edX have had similar schedules of regularly released resources and periodic due dates. Like 7.00x, courses have used quantitative assessment supported by lecture sequences and textual material, as well as a few special learning components (see end of this report). In the figures that follow, we compare 7.00x data with those from other MITx courses on edX, from the Fall of 2012 to the Summer of 2013.