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Public Opinion on OER and MOOC - A Sentiment Analysis of Twitter Data


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The Open Educational Resources (OER) movement has gained significant momentum recently as a global effort culminating in the 2012 Paris OER declaration. However, the purist definition of OER has blurred since then morphing into Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). Even though OER are a significant part of the MOOC movement, it might not be a defining one. However, this has not yet been fully verified with respect to the opinion of the general public who are the main stakeholders of both the movements. To answer this question, this paper attempts to explore the public opinion and perceptions regarding OER, MOOC and their complementary roles. A text mining approach is used to analyse raw Twitter data in the domains of OER and MOOC within a timespan of 12 months. Sentiment analysis is applied to the data to understand how public perceptions have changed during this time period. The major contribution of my paper is a chronological view of public opinion on OER and MOOC post Paris OER declaration.

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Public Opinion on OER and MOOC - A Sentiment Analysis of Twitter Data

  1. 1. Public Opinion on OER and MOOC A Sentiment Analysis of Twitter Data Ishan Abeywardena International Conference on Open and Flexible Education (ICOFE 2014) Hong Kong SAR, China 17th January 2014
  2. 2. “The large scale of the community, from several hundred to several thousand participants, maximizes the possibility that the “long tail” effect will enable someone with even the most esoteric interests within the overall focus of the MOOC to find people with whom to share and collaborate” McAuley, Stewart, Siemens, & Cormier (2010) McAuley, A., Stewart, B., Siemens, G., & Cormier, D. (2010). The MOOC Model for Digital Practice. Retrieved 12 15, 2013, from
  3. 3. “...what MOOCs will not do is address the challenge of expanding higher education in the developing world. It may encourage universities there, both public and private, to develop online learning more deliberately, and OER from MOOC courses may find their way, alongside OER from other sources, into the teaching of local institutions”. Daniel (2012) Daniel, J. (2012). Making sense of MOOCs: Musings in a maze of myth, paradox and possibility. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 3.
  4. 4. What does the public think?? Sentiment Analysis Paris OER Declaration 2012
  5. 5. • 230+ million monthly active users • 500 million Tweets are sent per day • 76% of Twitter active users are on mobile • 77% of accounts are outside the U.S. • Twitter supports 35+ languages • Vine: More than 40 million users (15/01/2014)
  6. 6. The Twitter dataset used in the study consisting of tweets which include the terms ‘OER’ and ‘MOOC’. Search Query Tweet History Timespan No. of Distinct Tweets OER 1/11/2012 – 31/10/2013 12 months 1209 MOOC 1/05/2013 – 31/10/2013 6 months 2823
  7. 7. Change in public opinion on ‘OER’ vs. ‘MOOC’ for a 6 month timespan between May to October 2013
  8. 8. Trends • there is an increasing amount of interest on MOOC; • the public still hasn’t formed strong opinions regarding MOOC due to the novelty of the ideology; • the positivity towards OER is growing.
  9. 9. Acknowledgements I acknowledge the support provided by Dr K S Yuen, Chair of the conference organising committee; Dr K C Li, Vice-chair of the conference organising committee; and Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK) by extending full sponsorship for may participation at the Inaugural International Conference on Open and Flexible Education (ICOFE 2014).
  10. 10. About… Ishan Abeywardena Deputy Dean and Senior Lecturer, School of Science and Technology, Wawasan Open University, Penang, Malaysia • • • • MSc in Wireless Enterprise Business Systems, Brunel University, UK. MSc in Engineering Management, Brunel University, UK. BSc in Computer Science, Bangalore University, India. PhD Candidate in Computer Science, University Malaya, Malaysia. Areas of specialisation: text mining, metadata, faceted search Professional Member of – Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (MIEEE) – British Computer Society (MBCS) – Institution of Engineering and Technology (MIET) – Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Official Profile: Professional Profile: Research Profile: Tech Blog: E-mail:
  11. 11. Sources • • • • • slRHZkdljCIUa3Ebuvoy7Zw