Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Power of Data in MOOCs

In the short video below, Daphne Koller co-founder of the MOOC platform Coursera, discusses the new opportunities lying in the data generated by MOOCs.

MOOCs are by definition massive. A huge amount of data about student behavior can be collected and exploited for increased pedagogical effectiveness and efficiency:

  • Analysis of data logs:

When you watch a lecture video on Coursera, every pause, rewind or fast forward is analysed to identify areas in need of improvement.
When you get a quiz question wrong, what you do on the site before getting it right the second time around also helps show Coursera what information students find useful.

  • A/B testing:

A slightly different version of the course can be offered to a small (but statistically significant) proportion of the class. If better results are obtained, the improvement can be rolled out to everyone.

To conclude, a significant part of the MOOCs revolution lies in this new ability brought about by the power of data. It is now possible to be objective about what works or not in a course and rationalise pedagogical decisions.

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