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Conceptualizing Interaction &
Learning in MOOCs

Rebecca Eynon & Nabeel Gillani

January 13, 2014
Overall goal


Focus on interaction


Communication via discussion forums

1.

The development of profiles that reflect ...
Research approach


Case study of one MOOC from Coursera with strong emphasis
on encouraging interactions between learner...
Towards an understanding of interaction


Trends in interaction patterns




Who? When? What?

Exploring the network
Wh...
The course




6 week course, March to May 2013
4-6 hours per week
Assignments
Required: Weekly quizzes, final strategi...
Participation






Over 90,000 registered
49,682 used the lecture videos at least once
20,082 submitted at least one...
Forum & course participation: location
Continent

% Course
participants

% Forum
participants

North America

32%

32%

So...
Forum & course participation: education
Highest attainment

% Course
participants

% Forum
participants

Some high school
...
Forum & course participation: score
Final Score

% Course
participants

% Forum
participants

< 50%

97%

72%

50% <= scor...
Patterns of interaction


A framework for forum analysis


Analyse communication trends and interactions according to su...
Study Groups

Days since course began

Readings
Cases

Final Projects
Different sub-forums encourage different patterns of
information access and contribution
Exploring the network: what counts?


Two questions:
What do we consider as a "tie" between two learners?
 Do we trust t...
Significant networks
Sub-forum (# nodes)

# Edges in full
network

# Edges in significant
network

% Decline

Lectures (61...
Study groups sub-forum
Study Groups - Full

Study Groups - Significant
Crowds versus communities?


Forums mostly harbour crowds, not communities, of learners
characterized by weak ties



Ho...
Contribute to learning


“I like the forums, you learn a lot (…) people teach you –
without necessarily telling you what ...
Not fit for purpose


“I personally dislike the forum dynamics. I don’t like it ……
because it’s not in real-time. It’s no...
Not for interaction but for information


“Very little. I mean (…) I really enjoy collaborating with people
in my job (.....
Sub-forums are generally “vulnerable”, and some are more
vulnerable than others
Forum disaggregation


Video link
Next steps


Continue to develop a qualitative set of learner profiles that
incorporates a number of dimensions to explai...
Acknowledgements


Project team


Chris Davies, Isis Hjorth, Taha Yasseri



Professor Michael Lenox and Kristin Palmer...
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Towards conceptualising interaction and learning in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

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Eynon R and Gilliani N (2013) Towards conceptualising interaction and learning in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). MOOC Research Initiative, December 2013, Dallas, USA.

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Towards conceptualising interaction and learning in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

  1. 1. Conceptualizing Interaction & Learning in MOOCs Rebecca Eynon & Nabeel Gillani January 13, 2014
  2. 2. Overall goal  Focus on interaction  Communication via discussion forums 1. The development of profiles that reflect the different ways and reasons that people interact with one another in MOOCs 2. How these interaction profiles are related to learner characteristics and course outcomes
  3. 3. Research approach  Case study of one MOOC from Coursera with strong emphasis on encouraging interactions between learners  Use data from this MOOC to develop typology, then use data from future versions of the MOOC  Mixed methodology Visualisation of posts and views, social network analysis, in-depth interviews, pre and post surveys and qualitative observations  Moving between the quant and qual methods to keep refining the model 
  4. 4. Towards an understanding of interaction  Trends in interaction patterns   Who? When? What? Exploring the network What “counts” as interaction?  Crowds or communities?   Towards a typology  Next steps
  5. 5. The course    6 week course, March to May 2013 4-6 hours per week Assignments Required: Weekly quizzes, final strategic analysis assignment (evaluated via peer-assessment)  Optional: Discuss business cases in the discussion forums   Multiple sub-forums:  Final project, cases, lectures, readings, study groups, questions for professor, technical feedback, course material feedback
  6. 6. Participation      Over 90,000 registered 49,682 used the lecture videos at least once 20,082 submitted at least one quiz 4,445 posted at least once in discussion forums 2,208 received >= 70% 6
  7. 7. Forum & course participation: location Continent % Course participants % Forum participants North America 32% 32% South America 7% 10% Europe 28% 25% Asia 26% 24% Africa 5% 6% Oceania 2% 2%
  8. 8. Forum & course participation: education Highest attainment % Course participants % Forum participants Some high school 1% 1% Completed high school 3% 4% Some college 10% 11% Bachelors 43% 42% Masters 40% 39% Doctorate 3% 4% N=7337
  9. 9. Forum & course participation: score Final Score % Course participants % Forum participants < 50% 97% 72% 50% <= score < 60% 0.1% 1% 60% <= score < 70% 0.1% 1% 70% <= score < 80% 0.14% 2% 80% <= score < 90% 0.21% 3% 90% <= score 2.2% 21%
  10. 10. Patterns of interaction  A framework for forum analysis  Analyse communication trends and interactions according to subforums – justified by low participation overlaps between sub-forums  Forum activity is “bursty”, with most activity occurring earlier in the course  Different sub-forums encourage different patterns of information access and contribution
  11. 11. Study Groups Days since course began Readings
  12. 12. Cases Final Projects
  13. 13. Different sub-forums encourage different patterns of information access and contribution
  14. 14. Exploring the network: what counts?  Two questions: What do we consider as a "tie" between two learners?  Do we trust the observed ties as meaningful?   Let's assume the observed network is a noise-corrupted version of the true underlying network (Psorakis et al. 2011) Draw N samples of possible networks, based on thread coparticipation  Determine the significance of a particular tie in the observed learnerto-learner network based on the sampled ones   This formulation helps us disregard ties that we attribute to chance (e.g., one-off interactions in a sea of other interactions) )
  15. 15. Significant networks Sub-forum (# nodes) # Edges in full network # Edges in significant network % Decline Lectures (617) 12,644 3,988 68% Readings (1,108) 35,728 11,259 68% Cases (1,114) 102,171 57,490 44% Final Projects (1,019) 23,244 12,557 46% Study Groups (1,359) 41,819 11,609 72% Qtns for Prof(284) 2,758 896 68% Course Material Feedback (252) 2,752 729 74% Tech Feedback (231) 3,087 339 89%
  16. 16. Study groups sub-forum Study Groups - Full Study Groups - Significant
  17. 17. Crowds versus communities?  Forums mostly harbour crowds, not communities, of learners characterized by weak ties  How do people experience the forums?
  18. 18. Contribute to learning  “I like the forums, you learn a lot (…) people teach you – without necessarily telling you what the solution is – but they guide you.” (Emengo, 40s, bachelor degree, Nigeria)
  19. 19. Not fit for purpose  “I personally dislike the forum dynamics. I don’t like it …… because it’s not in real-time. It’s not just about real-time, it’s also about feedback. In forums, most people, say, enter, say something, stay for maybe half an hour or so, and then they leave. And they tend not to come back to the same forum ever again. So, I really dislike that.” (Lucas, Spain, Masters, mid 20s)
  20. 20. Not for interaction but for information  “Very little. I mean (…) I really enjoy collaborating with people in my job (...) but I found it was easier to just read the materials on my own; I didn’t feel the need to leverage the community in order to complete the work.” (Oliver, Canada, early 30s, graduate )  “Having done a science degree, I’m very comfortable with researching (…) for me, I think for me to just be asking a question into the forum universe, you don’t really know if the person answering know what they’re talking about” (Julia, UK, 20s graduate)
  21. 21. Sub-forums are generally “vulnerable”, and some are more vulnerable than others
  22. 22. Forum disaggregation  Video link
  23. 23. Next steps  Continue to develop a qualitative set of learner profiles that incorporates a number of dimensions to explain if, how and why people use the forums  Helps to inform the development of the quantitative set of learner profiles that reflect the different ways and reasons that people interact with one another in MOOC  Link these profiles to learner characteristics and course outcomes  Test on a wider set of data )
  24. 24. Acknowledgements  Project team  Chris Davies, Isis Hjorth, Taha Yasseri  Professor Michael Lenox and Kristin Palmer, UVA  Coursera  Project site http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/research/projects/?id=121
  • angelescastro

    Feb. 20, 2014

Eynon R and Gilliani N (2013) Towards conceptualising interaction and learning in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). MOOC Research Initiative, December 2013, Dallas, USA.

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