Justin Reich and Harvard Law Professor John Hansen Discuss the Digital Divide in MOOCs in Science Magazine

04 Dec Justin Reich and Harvard Law Professor John Hansen Discuss the Digital Divide in MOOCs in Science Magazine

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 1.48.00 PMJustin Reich and Harvard Law Professor John Hansen recently published, “Democratizing education? Examining access and usage patterns in massive open online courses,” in Science.

In the article, Reich and Hansen present new evidence of the digital divide in MOOCs. The authors found that young students enrolling in HarvardX and MITx courses live in neighborhoods where the median income is 38% higher than typical American neighborhoods. Among teenagers who register for a HarvardX course, those with a college-educated parent have nearly twice the odds of finishing compared to students whose parents did not complete college. While there are compelling stories of individual students from poor backgrounds who have their lives transformed by MOOCs, on the whole, affluent students are more likely to enroll and complete courses.

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