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Durham University

Computer Science


Publication details for Professor Alexandra Cristea

Lei, S. & Cristea, A. I. (2018), In-depth Exploration of Engagement Patterns in MOOCs, in Hacid, Hakim, Cellary, Wojciech, Wang, Hua, Paik, Hye-Young & Zhou, Rui eds, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, volume 11234 Web Information Systems Engineering (WISE 2018). Dubai, Springer, Cham, 395-409.

Author(s) from Durham


With the advent of ‘big data’, various new methods have been proposed, to explore data in several domains. In the domain of learning (and e-learning, in particular), the outcomes lag somewhat behind. This is not unexpected, as e-learning has the additional dimensions of learning and engagement, as well as other psychological aspects, to name but a few, beyond ‘simple’ data crunching. This means that the goals of data exploration for e-learning are somewhat different to the goals for practically all other domains: finding out what students do is not enough, it is the means to the end of supporting student learning and increasing their engagement. This paper focuses specifically on student engagement, a crucial issue especially for MOOCs, by studying in much greater detail than previous work, the engagement of students based on clustering students according to three fundamental (and, arguably, comprehensive) dimensions: learning, social and assessment. The study’s value lies also in the fact that it is among the few studies using real-world longitudinal data (6 runs of a course, over 3 years) from a large number of students.