Study: Twitter Use in MOOCs

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George Veletsianos resent published a blog post about the use of Twitter in MOOCs.  The post was based on a republished article on that subject.  The study employed data mining to aggregate data from  116 MOOS “with course-dedicated hashtag” on Twitter.   His conclusion is thus:

This research used a large-scale data set to investigate participation on course-dedicated hashtags. It examined the participation patterns of hashtag participants, the types of users posting to those hashtags, the types of tweets that were posted, and the variation in types of posted tweets across users. While popular narratives suggest that social media provide a space for enhancing learner participation, this study provides
little evidence to support these claims in the context of Twitter as an adjunct to MOOCs, finding that an active minority of users contributed the preponderance of messages posted to Twitter hashtags and that learners make up only about 45% of users. Nor do these findings reveal substantive evidence of learners contributing to multiple hashtags, which may suggest that learners did not find Twitter to be a useful space that provided added value or responded to their needs. Ultimately, these results demonstrate the need for greater intentionality in integrating social media into MOOCs.

The pre-published version of this article is available here: http://www.veletsianos.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/veletsianos_twitter_in_MOOCs.pdf

5 Trends for Online Education In 2017

U.S. News and World Report has a post a bout trends for 2017 of which online students should be aware.  The fire trends they list are:

  1. Greater emphasis on nontraditional credentials (i.e., microcredentials and certificates rather than degrees).
  2. Increased use of bid data to measure student performance. (To help make sure students are on track.)
  3. Greater incorporation of artificial intelligence into classes. (For student support and assistance.)
  4. Growth of nonprofit online programs.
  5. Online degrees in surprising and specialized  disciplines.  (For disciplines that might not a first seem suited for online.)

Source.

Blackboard: Most Consistent Predictor of Student Achievement

Blackboard recently posted to its blog about how successful students use LMS tools that are available to them.  The interesting part of their study is the most consistent predictor of student success.  According to John Whitmer:

The most consistent predictor of student achievement was how frequently a student looked at their grades; this surprised me given that other tools (like assessments) directly and tangibly influence a student’s grade. This is an independent behavioral measure and yet is a very strong predictor.

The most successful students are those who access MyGrades most frequently; students doing poorly do not access their grades. Students who never access their grades are more likely to fail than students who access them at least once. There is a direct relationship at every quartile of use – and at the risk of spoiling results for the other tools, this is the only tool for which this direct trend exists. It appears that students in the middle range of grades aren’t impacted by their use of the tool.

This finding suggests that to change student outcomes, we need to use proactive intervention strategies. Examples include grade notifications within the Activity stream of Blackboard Learn with the Ultra experience, or the alerts provided by Blackboard Predict.

MITx Adds Instructor Grading in MOOC

Starting August 29, MIT will be offering “Introduction to Philosophy: God, Knowledge and Consciousness,” through its edX portal with a new twist.  Students who pay $300 for the “verified certificate” program will have their work reviewed by “professional philosophers.”  Without a “verified certificate,” the course is free.

“Listening to lectures and reading books is great, but philosophy is all about taking complex ideas and organizing them in a simple way. You learn by writing, specifically writing to someone,” said Caspar Hare, an MIT philosophy teacher who will lead the MOOC for its third iteration.

Source: Campus Technology

Campus Technology: Interview with New Blackboard CEO Bill Ballhaus

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When Bill Ballhaus took over the helm at Blackboard many were openly willing to give him some advice.  Michael Feldstein said Blackboard was facing issues with customers who were “increasingly unhappy with the support they are getting on the current platform,” who were “unclear about how they will be affected by future development plans,” and who are “unconvinced that Blackboard will deliver a next-generation product in the near future that will be a compelling alternative to the competitors in the market.”  While Joshua Kim at Inside Higher Ed said he should “bet the company on analytics.”

Now Campus Technology has set down with Ballhaus for an interview.  The interview is available here.

Online Report Card: Tracking Online Education In the United States

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The 2015 Survey of Online Learning conducted by Babson Survey Research Group has been released.  This is their 13th annual report on online learning.  This year’s survey and report was co-sponsored by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), Pearson, StudyPortals, WCET, and Tyton Partners.  Babson’s reports have become known as the “leading barometer of online learning in the United States.” (Previous reports are available here for 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007)

The key findings of the report include: Continue reading

Pugliese, A Post-LMS World

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Lou Pugliese, Founding CEO of Blackboard and currently Chairman and CEO of Moodlerooms, recently published an article  at EDUCAUSE.edu on the future of the Learning Management  System (LMS).  The article is about LMS 3.0 or the Demand Design LMS.  This represents the move from avendor supply-side orientation to a user demand-side focus.  As Pugliese puts it:

In an LMS 3.0 world, driving more effective, pervasive, and consistent academic achievement will be accomplished by transforming LMS platforms into learning solutions ecosystems. In this new LMS environment, a faculty member is a learning architect (the future) as opposed to a learning manager (the present). The LMS 3.0 world will adapt to the art of teaching as opposed to faculty having to adapt to a particular technology. Content used for enrichment as well as remediation can be subscribed and syndicated to student learning profiles in ways we cannot accomplish today. In the new LMS world, institutions will be able to shape the component architecture to the individual needs of the program, course, or learner. The new LMS world will flip the traditional equation, transforming the LMS from a vendor supply-side orientation to a user demand-side focus.

Pugliese writes that the LMS 3.0 would have several “essential components” including:

  • Learning Grids: “organized communities in specific subject and learning objective groups that encourage creation, sharing, and interdependencies”
  • E-Learning Intelligence: “LMS 3.0 design transforms static data reporting into a learning transaction system, transitioning from a management system to a source for real-time data about academic activity, student behavior, and engagement.”
  • Content Clouds: “LMS 3.0 design expands functionality to include open, flexible digital repositories with components that add context through outcomes measurement, social curation, reporting, analytics, and extensive sharing capabilities.”
  • Open Architecture: “LMS 3.0 is built on a foundation of openness. In a world where “open” is a term that of late has been used with wide creative license, LMS open architecture is built with and broadly supports widely usable interoperability protocols and standards, open-source applications, open identification, and open digital rights.”

Pugliese provides an interesting look at the future of the LMS from someone who has been deeply involved in it from the start.

The full article is available here.