Online Learning Research

Learn more about the Research of the TU Delft Online Learning Research.

Pioneering Online Design Teaching in a MOOC Format: Tools for Facilitating Experiential Learning

Article written by Jaap Daalhuizen and Jan Schoormans and published in International Journal of Design.

Abstract

Providing online design education offers a unique opportunity for learning, by providing high quality learning experiences to distributed audiences for free. It has its challenges as well, particularly when the aim is use ‘active learning’ strategies (Biggs & Tang, 2011), which are necessary when teaching design. In this paper, we report on the development of one of the first massive open online courses (MOOC) in the field of product design. We provide insight into the way the course was designed to stimulate active learning, highlighting the tools that were developed to engage students in a mode of experiential learning (Kolb, 1984). We present the results of the course evaluation, through (post-course) surveys and interviews, focusing on the way the newly developed active learning tools were experienced by the students. We found that experiential learning strategies are applicable to the MOOC context, and that dedicated didactic tools were evaluated more positively in terms of stimulating reflection, motivation and learning that conventional ones. We conclude with an analysis of the outlook on future developments for online design education.

Keywords

Design Education, Design Methods, Massive Open Online Learning.

Reference

Daalhuizen, J., & Schoormans, J. (2018). Pioneering online design teaching in a MOOC format: tools for facilitating experiential learning. International Journal of Design, 12(2), 1-14.

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Online Courses on Business Model Innovation for Practitioners in SMEs

This article is published in the Journal of Business Models (2019), Vol. 7, No. 3.

Abstract

We develop and evaluate five online courses (MOOCs) on business model innovation, tailored to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Six design principles are found for such courses: regarding type and form of learning contents; time investments from participants; practical examples and tools; integration with daily practice; and participative learning.

Keywords

Business model innovation; Online learning; MOOC

Reference

de Reuver, M., Cligge, M., and Haaker, T. (2019), Online courses on business model innovation for practitioners in SMEs, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 13-24

Acknowledgements

This publication was developed within the project `Regeling open en online hoger onderwijs’ of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, guided by SURF (www.surf.nl). The course development received part of its funding from the European Community’s Horizon 2020 Program (2014–2020) under grant agreement 645791. The content herein reflects only the authors’ view. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains. We thank the other course team members Harry Bouwman, Gudo Reekers, Stephan Kool, Thea Dullemans and Johannetta Gordijn for invaluable contributions to the courses. We also thank our colleagues from the H2020 ENVISION project. An earlier version of this paper was presented to Open Education Global Conference 2018, and we thank the reviewers and audience for helpful comments.

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MOOC Analytics: Learner Modeling and Content Generation

Doctoral thesis of Guanliang Chen, successfully defended on May 6th 2019.

Abstract

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), as one of the popular options for people to receive education and learn, are endowed with the mission to educate the world. Typically, there are two types of MOOC platforms: topic-agnostic and topic-specific. Topic-agnostic platforms such as edX and Coursera provide courses covering a wide range of topics, while topic-specific MOOC platforms such as Duolingo and Codeacademy focus on courses in one specific topic. To better support MOOC learners, many works have been proposed to investigate MOOC learning in the past decade. Still, there are many other aspects of MOOC learning to be explored.In this thesis, we focused on (i) learner modeling and (ii) generation of educational material for both topic-agnostic and topic-specific MOOC platforms.

Keywords

MOOCs, Learner Modeling, Content Generation, Learning Analytics, Social Web

Reference

Chen, G. (2019). MOOC Analytics: Learner Modeling and Content Generation.

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Large-Scale Learning Analytics: Modeling Learner Behavior & Improving Learning Outcomes in Massive Open Online Courses

Doctoral thesis of Dan Davis defended on May 7th 2019.

Keywords

learning analytics, web information systems, learning science, educational data mining, MOOCs

Reference

Davis, D. (2019). Large-Scale Learning Analytics: Modeling Learner Behavior & Improving Learning Outcomes in Massive Open Online Courses. https://doi.org/10.4233/uuid:b8be8302-84a0-4b29-a6fe- 761a3f872420

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Social Presence in MOOCs

This article is published in the international journal IRRODL Vol 19, No 3 (2018).

Abstract

The capacity to foster interpersonal interactions in massive open online courses (MOOCs) has frequently been contested, particularly when learner interactions are limited to MOOC forums. The establishment of social presence—a perceived sense of somebody being present and “real”—is among the strategies to tackle the challenges of online learning and could be applied in MOOCs. Thus far, social presence in MOOCs has been under-researched. Studies that previously examined social presence in MOOCs did not account for the peculiar nature of open online learning. In contrast to the existing work, this study seeks to understand how learners perceive social presence, and the different nuances of social presence in diverse MOOC populations. In particular, we compare perceptions of social presence across the groups of learners with different patterns of forum participation in three edX MOOCs. The findings reveal substantial differences in how learners with varying forum activity perceive social presence. Perceptions of social presence also differed in courses with the varying volume of forum interaction and duration. Finally, learners with sustained forum activity generally reported higher social presence scores that included low affectivity and strong group cohesion perceptions. With this in mind, this study is significant because of the insights into brings to the current body of knowledge around social presence in MOOCs. The study’s findings also raise questions about the effectiveness of transferring existing socio-constructivist constructs into the MOOC contexts.

Keywords

social presence, MOOCs, forum participation

Reference

Poquet, O., Kovanović, V., de Vries, P., Hennis, T., Joksimović, S., Gašević, D., & Dawson, S. (2018). Social Presence in Massive Open Online Courses. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distributed Learning, 19(3). doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v19i3.3370

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Activating learning at scale: A review of innovations in online learning strategies

The Article “Activating learning at scale: A review of innovations in online learning strategies” was published in the journal Computer & Education.

Higlights

  • A systematic review on scalable learning strategies was conducted.
  • Results synthesize 126 studies including 132,428 participants.
  • Large-scale experiments yield a far lower rate of positive results.
  • Cooperative, gamified, and interactive learning strategies are the most effective.

Abstract

Making advantage of the vast history of theoretical and empirical findings in the learning literature we have inherited, this research offers a synthesis of prior findings in the domain of empirically evaluated active learning strategies in digital learning environments. The primary concern of the present study is to evaluate these findings with an eye towards scalable learning. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have emerged as the new way to reach the masses with educational materials, but so far they have failed to maintain learners’ attention over the long term. Even though we now understand how effective active learning principles are for learners, the current landscape of MOOC pedagogy too often allows for passivity — leading to the unsatisfactory performance experienced by many MOOC learners today. As a starting point to this research we took John Hattie’s seminal work from 2008 on learning strategies used to facilitate active learning. We considered research published between 2009 and 2017 that presents empirical evaluations of these learning strategies. Through our systematic search we found 126 papers meeting our criteria and categorized them according to Hattie’s learning strategies. We found large-scale experiments to be the most challenging environment for experimentation due to their size, heterogeneity of participants, and platform restrictions, and we identified the three most promising strategies for effectively leveraging learning at scale as Cooperative Learning, Simulations & Gaming, and Interactive Multimedia.

Keywords

Teaching/learning strategies, Adult learning, Evaluation of CAL systems, Interactive learning environments, Multimedia/hypermedia systems

Reference

Dan Davis, Guanliang Chen, Claudia Hauff, Geert-Jan Houben (2018) Activating learning at scale: A review of innovations in online learning strategies, Computers & Education, Volume 125, 2018, Pages 327-344, ISSN 0360-1315, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2018.05.019.

 

A Paradigm Shift in Teaching Aerospace Engineering: From Campus Learners to Professional Learners

Article “A Paradigm Shift in Teaching Aerospace Engineering: From Campus Learners to Professional Learners – a Case Study on Online Courses in Smart Structures and Air Safety Investigation” presented at 2018 AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting 8–12 January 2018 in Kissimmee, Florida.

Abstract

In this paper, the transition from teaching on-campus to an online audience consisting of working professionals in an Aerospace Engineering context is described. The differences in the learner’s needs and the transition in teaching methods and style that is required from teaching staff is discussed. This is illustrated by two case studies: for Smart Structures and for Air Safety Investigation. Recommendations on how universities can contribute to Life Long Learning are given.

Keywords

aerospace engineering, online education, pedagogical model, mooc, lifelong learning, professional education

Reference

Saunders, G., Rans, C., Schuurman, M., De Breuker, R., & van Staalduinen, J-P. (2018). A Paradigm Shift in Teaching Aerospace Engineering: From Campus Learners to Professional Learners – a Case Study on Online Courses in Smart Structures and Air Safety Investigation. In 2018 AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting 8–12 January 2018, Kissimmee, Florida. [AIAA 2018-0810] AIAA. DOI: 10.2514/6.2018-0810

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Exploring communities of inquiry in MOOCs

Article published in journal Computers & Education Volume 119, April 2018, Pages 44–58.

Abstract

This study presents an evaluation of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) survey instrument developed by Arbaugh et al. (2008) within the context of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The study reports the results of a reliability analysis and exploratory factor analysis of the CoI survey instrument using the data of 1487 students from five MOOC courses. The findings confirmed the reliability and validity of the CoI survey instrument for the assessment of the key dimensions of the CoI model: teaching presence, social presence, and cognitive presence. Although the CoI survey instrument captured the same latent constructs within the MOOC context as in the Garrison’s three-factor model (Garrison et al., 1999), analyses suggested a six-factor model with additional three factors as a better fit to the data. These additional factors were 1) course organization and design (a sub-component of teaching presence), 2) group affectivity (a sub-component of social presence), and 3) resolution phase of inquiry learning (a sub-component of cognitive presence). The emergence of these additional factors revealed that the discrepancies between the dynamics of the traditional online courses and MOOCs affect the student perceptions of the three CoI presences. Based on the results of our analysis, we provide an update to the famous CoI model which captures the distinctive characteristics of the CoI model within the MOOC setting. The results of the study and their implications are further discussed.

Keywords

Community of inquiry model, Massive open online courses, Online learning, Exploratory factor analysis

Reference

Vitomir Kovanović, Srećko Joksimović, Oleksandra Poquet, Thieme Hennis, Iva Čukić, Pieter de Vries, Marek Hatala, Shane Dawson, George Siemens, Dragan Gašević (2018) Exploring communities of inquiry in Massive Open Online Courses, Computers & Education, Volume 119, April 2018, Pages 44-58, ISSN 0360-1315, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2017.11.010.

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Enabling Real-Time Adaptivity in MOOCs with a Personalized Next-Step Recommendation Framework

This paper is presented at the Fourth (2017) ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale in Cambridge (MA), USA, April 20–21, 2017.

Abstract

In this paper, we demonstrate a first-of-its-kind adaptive intervention in a MOOC utilizing real-time clickstream data and a novel machine learned model of behavior. We detail how we
augmented the edX platform with the capabilities necessary to support this type of intervention which required both tracking learners’ behaviors in real-time and dynamically adapting content based on each learner’s individual clickstream history. Our chosen pilot intervention was in the category of adaptive pathways and courseware and took the form of a navigational suggestion appearing at the bottom of every non-forum content page in the course. We designed our pilot intervention to help students more efficiently navigate their way through a MOOC by predicting the next page they were likely to spend significant time on and allowing them to jump directly to that page. While interventions which attempt to optimize for learner achievement are candidates for this adaptive framework, behavior prediction has the benefit of not requiring causal assumptions to be made in its suggestions. We present a novel extension of a behavioral model that takes into account students’ time spent on pages and forecasts the same. Several approaches to representing time using Recurrent Neural Networks are evaluated and compared to baselines without time, including a basic n-gram model. Finally, we discuss design considerations and handling of edge cases for real-time deployment, including considerations for training a machine learned model on a previous offering of a course for use in a subsequent offering where courseware may have changed. This work opens the door to broad experimentation with adaptivity and serves as a first example of delivering a data-driven personalized learning experience in a MOOC.

Keywords

Adaptivity; Personalization; Real-time intervention; MOOC; RNN; Behavioral modeling; Navigational efficiency; edX

Reference

Zachary A. Pardos, Steven Tang, Daniel Davis, and Christopher Vu Le. 2017. Enabling Real-Time Adaptivity in MOOCs with a Personalized Next-Step Recommendation Framework. In Proceedings of the Fourth (2017) ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale (L@S ’17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 23-32. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3051457.3051471

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Teaching Software Engineering Principles to K-12 Students: A MOOC on Scratch

This paper is accepted for Software Engineering Education and Training @ 39th International Conference on Software Engineering (SEET-ICSE 2017) in Buenos Aires in May 2017.

Abstract

In the last few years, many books, online puzzles, apps and games have been created to teach young children programming. However, most of these do not introduce children to broader concepts from software engineering, such as debugging and code quality issues like smells, duplication, refactoring and naming. To address this, we designed and ran an online introductory Scratch programming course in which we teach elementary programming concepts and software engineering concepts simultaneously. In total 2,220 children actively participated in our course in June and July 2016, most of which (73%) between the ages of 7 and 11. In this paper we describe our course design and analyze the resulting data. More specifically, we investigate whether 1) students find programming concepts more difficult than software engineering concepts, 2) there are age-related differences in their performance and 3) we can predict successful course completion. Our results show that there is no difference in students’ scores between the programming concepts and the software engineering concepts, suggesting that it is indeed possible to teach these concepts to this age group. We also find that students over 12 years of age perform significantly better in
questions related to operators and procedures. Finally, we identify the factors from the students’ profile and their behaviour in the first week of the course that can be used to predict its successful completion.

Keywords

Programming education, MOOC, Scratch, code, smells, dropout prediction

Reference

Felienne Hermans, Efthimia Aivaloglou (2017) Teaching Software Engineering Principles to K-12 Students: A MOOC on Scratch. TUD-SERG-2017-003. ISSN 1872-5392

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