COURSERA’S DATA DELUGE
AND WHAT IT TELLS US ABOUT THE BEHAVIOR OF ONLINE LEARNERS
By Jasper Ginn, Data Analyst At The Online Learning Lab
The Online Learning Lab, which is part of the Leiden University Centre for Innovation at Campus The Hague, is continuously exploring methods by which research into learning and the integration of online and on-campus education can be better facilitated. Recently, we started exploring the wealth of data made available to us via Coursera. For researchers and MOOC organizers, this data offers an exciting way to explore the behavioral patterns of online learners.
Previously, our understanding of MOOC learners was limited to answers to pre-course and post-course surveys and the analytics delivered by Coursera in the course overview. Now that we have access to the databases of user interactions with Leiden University MOOCs, we would like to provide access to researchers at Leiden University such that we can stimulate research in the area of online education and tighten the integration between MOOCs and on-campus courses.
A look at Leiden University MOOC data
A ‘returning student’ is defined as a student who has previously signed up for a Leiden University MOOC.
Figure 3 below shows several user interactions of users with the forum of the course Wheels of Metals: Urban Mining for a Circular Economy.
Similarly, the data provides insight in the interaction of students with our MOOC videos. Figure 3 below shows the interactions of 100 learners with the video buttons of one of the videos in the Wheels of Metals: Urban Mining for a Circular Economy course.
When we plot these interactions over the course of the video (figure 4), we further see that certain user certains (e.g. ‘pause’ and ‘play’) are primarily used at the start and the end of videos. Conversely, users use the ‘seek’ button at a constant rate throughout the video. Of course, this differs from video to video. We might further expect to see that seeking increases at moments where the video pauses to ask the viewer a question.