Beyond the MOOC platform: gaining insights about learners from the social web

Guanliang Chen, Dan Davis, Jun Lin, Claudia Hauff, Geert-Jan Houben

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have enabled millions of learners across the globe to increase their levels of expertise in a wide variety of subjects. Research efforts surrounding MOOCs are typically focused on improving the learning experience, as the current retention rates (less than 7% of registered learners complete a MOOC) show a large gap between vision and reality in MOOC learning. Current data-driven approaches to MOOC adaptations rely on data traces learners generate within a MOOC platform such as edX or Coursera. As a MOOC typically lasts between five and eight weeks and with many MOOC learners being rather passive consumers of the learning material, this exclusive use of MOOC platform data traces limits the insights that can be gained from them. The SocialWeb potentially offers a rich source of data to supplement the MOOC platform data traces, as many learners are also likely to be active on one or more Social Web platforms. In this work, we present a first exploratory analysis of the Social Web platforms MOOC learners are active on - we consider more than 320,000 learners that registered for 18 MOOCs on the edX platform and explore their user profiles and activities on StackExchange, GitHub, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2016 ACM Web Science Conference
EditorsPaolo Parigi, Steffen Staab
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450342087
Publication statusPublished - May 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventAnnual ACM Web Science Conference (WebSci) 2016 - Hannover, Germany
Duration: 22 May 201625 May 2016
Conference number: 8th


ConferenceAnnual ACM Web Science Conference (WebSci) 2016
Abbreviated titleWebSci 2016
Internet address

Cite this

Chen, G., Davis, D., Lin, J., Hauff, C., & Houben, G-J. (2016). Beyond the MOOC platform: gaining insights about learners from the social web. In P. Parigi, & S. Staab (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Web Science Conference (pp. 15-24). Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).