Learning Analytics at Stanford Takes Huge Leap Forward With MOOCs

Stanford Report (CA) (04/11/13) R.F. Mackay

Researchers at Stanford University's Lytics Lab are analyzing data from massive open online courses (MOOCs) to study how students learn.  The group, which includes graduate students, researchers, professors, and visitors from various fields, meets weekly to discuss ongoing projects.  Lytics projects include a dashboard aimed at helping instructors gauge student engagement, a study of peer assessment based on peer grades in a MOOC course on human-computer interaction, automated coding assignment feedback, and student performance predictors.  The study of learning analytics aims to interpret data generated by students to assess progress, predict performance, and define problems by gathering data when students complete tasks such as assignments, exams, and peer assessments.  Three Lytics Lab members presented their research results at the recent Learning Analytics and Knowledge meeting.  The group sought data to counter objections to MOOCs, such as the high dropout rate, and found that the wrong questions were being asked.  Students take classes and drop out for various reasons, so global references to dropouts are illogical with respect to MOOCs, the group found.  The researchers intend for the study to "provide educators, instructional designers, and platform developers with insights for designing effective and potentially adaptive learning environments that best meet the needs of MOOC participants."


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