Posts by Willem van Valkenburg

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

Download

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

Download

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.

Download

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

Download

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

Download

Opening University Education to the World and Improve Education

Paper presented at the ICERI 2016 conference, 14th-16th November 2016, Seville, Spain.

Abstract

Online education can be used as a catalyst for gaining knowledge on learning and learning processes due to its generation of massive corpora of data on student behaviour. This knowledge can then be utilized to improve the quality of education.

Since 2013 Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) offers online courses for a global population of lifelong learners through its programme for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). TU Delft’s MOOC programme was created with three specific goals:
(i) to deliver high quality open & online education (O2E) to the world;
(ii) to improve education; and
(iii) to grow research output. Since its inception, TU Delft’s MOOC programme has created and run over forty MOOCs, gaining nearly a million enrolled students in the process.

As TU Delft’s MOOC programme developed and expanded over time, an organisational structure was created in which educational processes and research activities were aligned and integrated. This organisational structure supports three research agendas:
(i) course evaluation, which focuses on post-course analysis;
(ii) research-driven innovation through short-cycled research projects; and
(iii) long-term experimental research with a specific focus on big data and learning analytics.

Through the integrated organisational structure, data is simultaneously collected for all three research agendas. This includes user feedback through survey data for course evaluation; user enrolment and activity data for the short-cycled research projects; and data from experiments for the long-term research. Analysing this data has resulted in dozens of course evaluation reports, business and marketing analyses, cross-course analyses, internal reports on student learning behaviour, and a substantial number of peer-reviewed academic papers about results of learning analytics and pedagogical innovations. This output has been useful for their individual research tracks, but combining the results has provided TU Delft with additional insights only attainable by careful synchronization of the three. TU Delft has benefited from these insights and has adapted to the findings both in online and on-campus course design. TU Delft’s MOOC programme provides a valuable environment for innovating educational design experience and developing new educational delivery strategies that can also be used to improve on-campus education.

Future plans build on the current organisational structure and include:
(i) using the results from learning analytics interventions experiments to build a learning analytics ‘suite’ for all online courses;
(ii) testing and validating TU Delft’s proprietary Online Learning Experience (OLE) pedagogical model for online course design; and
(iii) using these experiences to transform and improve on-campus education.

First steps in these matters are already under way with the acquisition of a new digital learning environment and its accompanying learning analytics suite for on-campus education. This way the MOOC programme serves TU Delft’s strategic goals of both educating the world and improving the quality of its online and on-campus education.

Keywords

higher education, innovation, learning analytics, massive open online courses (moocs), links between education and research.

Reference

J.P. van Staalduinen, D. Davis, S. Topolovec (2016) OPENING UNIVERSITY EDUCATION TO THE WORLD AND IMPROVING EDUCATION: USING MOOC-BASED RESEARCH AS A TOOL FOR INNOVATION, ICERI2016 Proceedings, pp. 7336-7343.

Download

Acknowledgements

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union; the Erasmus+ Forward Looking Cooperation STELA Project, number 562167-EPP-1-2015-BE-EPPKA3-PI-FORWARD.

What have they done with the MOOCs?! The impact of MOOCs on Campus Education

Article published in the Conference Proceedings of The EADTU Online, Open and Flexible Higher Education Conference 19-21 October 2016 in Rome.

Abstract

In 2013 Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) started to offer Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) onthe EdX platform. One of the main principles in the MOOC development process was to publish alleducational resources under an open license (Creative Commons License) (Ouwehand, 2015). This alignedwith TU Delft’s Open Access Policy. Another important starting point in the MOOC development process was the aim to improve campus education by integrating MOOC content in those courses.
The impact of MOOCs concerns not only the world outside the university, but more importantly also withinthe university. Especially for a traditional brick-and-mortar research-based university, like TU Delft, this is abig gain: education has become more important. In the past three years it has become clear that developing a MOOC has led lecturers to re-think their approach towards teaching and to integrate MOOC materials in campus education, which has impact on the way they teach on campus.
MOOCs are used on campus in different ways, from a small addition to an existing course to a full integration into a completely redesigned campus course. Moreover, some teachers became conscious of the importance of educational resources under CC License and started to use material from other universities. One of the faculties created a course which uses MOOC materials to help the students to prepare for a master program.
This paper describes the way in which MOOCs have been used in campus education and the impact this has had on teaching and learning.
Keywords: Open Educational Resources, Improving, Campus Courses, MOOC, blended learning

Reference

Cabral, Pedro; Van Valkenburg, Willem; Dopper, Sofia (2016). What have they done with the MOOCs?! The impact of MOOCs on Campus  Education in Ubach, George & Konings, Lizzie (2016). Conference Proceedings The Online, Open and Flexible Higher Education Conference 2016. Published by EADTU. ISBN:978-90-79730-25-4 [Page 652-660]

Download

Slides

Can Learners be Earners? Investigating a Design to Enable MOOC Learners to Apply their Skills and Earn Money in an Online Market Place

This article is published in the journal IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies.

Abstract

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) aim to educate the world. More often than not, however, MOOCs fall short of this goal — a majority of learners are already highly educated (with a Bachelor degree or more) and come from specific parts of the (developed) world. Learners from developing countries without a higher degree are underrepresented, though desired, in MOOCs. One reason for those learners to drop out of a course can be found in their financial realities and the subsequent limited amount of time they can dedicate to a course besides earning a living. If we could pay learners to take a MOOC, this hurdle would largely disappear. With MOOCS, this leads to the following fundamental challenge: How can learners be paid at scale? Ultimately, we envision a recommendation engine that recommends tasks from online market places such as Upwork or witmart to learners, that are relevant to the course content of the MOOC. In this manner, the learners learn and earn money. To investigate the feasibility of this vision, in this paper we explored to what extent (1) online market places contain tasks relevant to a specific MOOC, and (2) learners are able to solve real-world tasks correctly and with sufficient quality. Finally, based on our experimental design, we were also able to investigate the impact of real-world bonus tasks in a MOOC on the general learner population.

Reference

Guanliang Chen, Dan Davis, Markus Krause, Efthimia Aivaloglou, Claudia Hauff, Geert-Jan Houben, “Can Learners be Earners? Investigating a Design to Enable MOOC Learners to Apply their Skills and Earn Money in an Online Market Place”, IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, vol. , no. , pp. 1, 5555, doi:10.1109/TLT.2016.2614302

Download

Push or Pull Students into Blended Education: a Case Study at Delft University of Technology

Paper is published in the International Journal of Engineering Education (ISSN 0949-149X) Volume 32 Number 5(A).

Abstract

Blended education, or ‘‘flipping the classroom’’ is rapidly becoming a mainstream form of teaching within universities. Within Engineering Education, it is popular as it allows more time in-class to focus on hands on activities such as demonstrations and solving complex problems. This paper discusses the effort conducted to re-structure, according to the blended learning principles, the ‘‘Propulsion and Power’’ course of the Aerospace Engineering Bachelor degree programme at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). The redesigned course was supported by a dedicated online & blended education unit within the university, and is characterized by a very peculiar structure due to the different approach chosen by the two involved lecturers. The first lecturer decided to ‘‘pull’’ the students, by proposing a number of additional videos available in the World Wide Web as a support and complement to the material taught in class. Conversely, the second lecturer opted for a ‘‘push’’ approach, self-recording theory videos to be watched by the students at home and devoting the in-class hours to exercises and applications of the theory. This format resulted in a clear improvement of the average exam grades and pass rates. The student feedback showed enthusiasm about the new blended course, with only a very small minority still preferring the previous, more traditional approach. Although there seems to be a slight preference of students towards the ‘‘push’’ strategy, the ‘‘pull’’ approach has also been widely appreciated.
However, the objective to re-attract students to the contact hours in class was only partially achieved, since just a slight improvement in the number of attending students was observed. This paper clearly shows that the efforts to implement a blended teaching strategy has great benefits for both students and staff alike.

Keywords

blended learning; online education; student engagement; electronic assessment; aerospace engineering

Reference

Cervone, A., Melkert, J.A., Mebus, L.F.M., Saunders-Smits, G.N. (2016). Push or Pull Students into Blended Education. A Case Study at Delft University of Technology. In International Journal of Engineering Education. Volume 32 Number 5A. ISSN 0949-149X (page 1911-1921)

Download

Download paper from researchgate

© 2011 TU Delft