DART: Digital Assets for Reuse in Teaching

DART allows search, preview, and reuse of Harvard digital learning assets on campus.

What is DART?

Watch the introductory video to understand more about the functionality of DART. Professor of Government Dustin Tingley introduces:

  • How to search for digital assets;
  • How to import digital assets into your Canvas courses;
  • The types of content sources currently available in DART;
  • Perspectives on how both students and instructors can use DART.

Searching the Entirety of HarvardX

Since 2012, HarvardX has developed over 35,000 learning assets for the edX platform, yet the use of these resources on-campus has been limited to small specialized experiments. A contributing factor to this limited use is that edX educational assets are only accessible behind the firewall of an edX registration page. MOOC learners, course staff, and faculty leads must all register for a course in order to even simply browse resources. Allen & Seaman (2016) indicate that two of the most cited obstacles to adoption of open educational resources by university faculty in the U.S. are the difficulty of finding high quality resources and the lack of comprehensive catalogue of resources.

Assets and Collections

All learning content in DART is grouped into two classifications:

  • Assets - individual resources, typically the lowest level of resource that can be created or embedded in a Content or Learning Management System. Individual videos, problems, and text pages are all examples of assets.
  • Collections - these are containers or sequences of individual learning assets. At the highest level, a course is a collection of assets. Within HarvardX, a sequential (sequence of videos, problems, and/or html pages) would be a lower level collection. Within YouTube, a playlist is collection, and an individual video is an asset.

Content Source Assets Collections
HarvardX Vertical
Custom Element
YouTube Video Channel

Import to Canvas LMS

Our team’s initial focus has been to make HarvardX resources discoverable through search and deployable through LTI (Learning Technology Interoperability) in the on-campus Canvas learning management system. As of Fall 2017, any instructor at Harvard can add content to their canvas course. See our intro video for a demonstration.

HarvardX Resources

Videos, Problems, and HTML pages are the fundamental resource types found in HarvardX content. The accompanying plot provides counts of various asset types found in HarvardX courses: videos, problems, html pages, and custom elments. All assets have textual content that can be extracted (videos have transcripts) and other metadata that helps contextualize their use in a given course. We use the text and metadata to provide search capabilities in DART. We extract this information by parsing the edX XML from each course.

Custom elements can represent many resources, e.g., resources for Harvard's annotation tool.