Monitoring a Learning Community in a Hybrid Environment: a Sentiment Analysis
Monitoring a Learning Community in a Hybrid Environment:
A Sentiment Analysis
Ilaria Merciai (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Marco Cerrone (email@example.com)
University of Naples Federico II
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Tools: Netvizz, https://apps.facebook.com/netvizz/ and T-lab, http://tlab.it/
As Facebook publishes figures showing that social networks have reduced the degree of separation of people on the planet from 6 to 3.7, it is a platitude to say that they are
powerful communication tools. However, the literature on their impact within MOOCs is still emerging, where the learning community already resides within its own space
on the MOOC platform and where teaching units are accompanied by a forum for requesting clarification or information.
In a recent MOOC on the EMMA platform (www.europeanmoocs.eu), “Coding in your classroom, now”, Facebook was used as an additional learning environment, to post
and share information on content related to the course, to comment lessons and assignments, or simply to share a common experience and outcomes.
The user-community network that has developed around the course has grown from the 6,000 learners enrolled on the course to reach a population of 100,000.
The community started to exchange information about their area, schools and classes, and to use the learning experience on the MOOC to share and build knowledge and
even plan meetups in their local area. Sentiment analysis, with keywords, online expressions, concepts, contexts, shows that socials acted as a powerful tool not only for
dissemination of the course but also for informing thousands of people about the innovative features the Emma platform was experimenting.
Last but most importantly, they became a powerful tool for sharing best teaching practice in the field. This work presents an exploration of the learning community on this
course and evidence for some of the observations we make, trying to understand what impact this hybrid model of MOOC delivery has on the creation of the learning
community and student engagement.
3. RESULTS 4. CONCLUSIONS
The EMMA platform (www.europeanmoocs.eu) launched the MOOC “Coding in
your classroom, Now”, created by professor Alessandro Bogliolo to help teachers
introduce their classes to computational thinking through coding.
The course attracted over 4,000 users in its first 10 days, and they behaved as a
• exchanging information about their area, schools and classes,
• using the learning experience on the MOOC to share and build knowledge,
• planning meetups in their local area.
This high number of learners on an adaptive course has presented interesting
challenges and specific learning experiences in a series of loops at all levels of the
MOOC delivery process - for the platform, for the tutors, for the teacher and for
the learners. We carried out text analysis on the conversations between Facebook
group users to study the way that learners respond to the situation, the course and
the learning activities, many of which are completely new. And also to explore the
way that teachers and tutors present and respond to situations and learner
enquiries and communications.
In the analyzed FB group we saw
that posts were mainly about
sharing links, closely followed by
photos of analog situations where
teachers are using skills/knowledge
they acquired on EMMA with their
own classes (see fig. 1). So a
combination of sharing of materials
which are considered to be of
interest to the group, and photos
which share their experience (self-
congratulatory use of photos, but
also useful for the group because
they illustrated diverse classroom
scenarios which could be copied
and implemented by the other
Our analysis refers to contributions from
learners in the EMMA virtual classroom
and to the Facebook Group “Coding in
your Classroom, Now!”.
We have considered all posts (3,312)
and their related comments (14,348)
published in the FB group (with 4,097
members in the analyzed range), from
15 January 2016 (when the MOOC was
Fig. 1: Posts and comments comparison
Fig. 2: Tag Clouds Comments
Fig. 3: Users types
Fig. 4: Hybrid Environment
created) to 21st April 2016 (3 days after the last lesson of the course started). Data
were extracted using the Netvizz application, then we cleaned and pre-treated the
textual data through T-LAB and analyzed the main keywords related to the
comments. The text corpus of comments comprised 14,720 lexical forms. Of these,
we selected those occurring at least 10 times. The result was a list of 1,154
keywords that we based our interpretation of data on to try to evaluate learner
attitude. We triangulated the data with the variable time, so producing four tag
clouds. For each month we identified key events that the group conversations built
The tag clouds in fig. 2 show the different combinations of the main keywords for
each month and we have associated to each the main contexts we identified for
Combining the text analysis (macro level) with observation of individual comments
in which they occurred (micro level) based on our overall corpus database, we
were able to identify 5 categories of users which we termed: beginners, self-
congratulatory, performers, meetuppers and testers/sharers (see fig. 3).
Furthermore, the data set offers us the possibility to classify the FB participants in
three main categories: teacher, staff and users, which includes the subcategory
all the identified categories, with diverse levels of experience and competence,
and led to the emergence of new contexts to encourage learning by doing.
Analysis of the conversations helped us to highlight how members of the FB group
attributed meaning to their learning experience through interaction between
human and non-human elements. In fig. 4 we see which links were shared the
most in the comments, and that other sites and platforms are recommended to
integrate their learning. These platforms/instruments are important elements for
building relationships between users and for encouraging interaction with the
materials. The combination of these diverse elements resulted in the creation of a
hybrid learning environment, where numerous online and offline elements
interconnect,creating a dynamic and engaging contextfor learning.
The exploration of the learning
community on this course led us
to understand the impact that this
hybrid model of MOOC delivery
had on the creation of the learning
community and student
engagement. Our analysis showed
how Facebook helped in
responding to diverse needs of
such large numbers of learners, in