Research in Discussion Forums in the MOOC Big Data in Education

Ryan Baker
Columbia University, USA

Discussion forums provide a powerful resource for understanding learner engagement, sentiment, and cognition in Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs). In this talk, I will discuss
our research on the discussion forums from the course Big Data in Education, taught on the Coursera platform (now on EdX), and taken by over 48,000 students. We have used this data to research several questions, including how participation in discussion forums can predict outcomes, how the linguistic properties of student responses correlate to outcomes, how successful and unsuccessful students collaborate differently on forums, and the phenomena of negativity, trolling, and flaming and course discussion forums. I will discuss this research, and the implications for the future of the design of MOOCs and other online learning environments.