Srecko Joksimovic Chair: Jari Fawkes
Tue 19 May 2015, 11:00 - 11:30
IF 4.31/4.33

If you have a question about this talk, please contact: Mary-Clare Mackay (mmackay3)

All very welcome to attend

Abstract: There is an emerging trend in higher education for the adoption of massive open online courses (MOOCs). However, despite this interest in learning at scale, there has been limited work investigating the impact MOOCs can play on student learning. In our most current studies, we adopted a novel approach, using language and discourse as a tool to explore its association with two established measures of learning: traditional academic performance and social centrality. We demonstrate how characteristics of language diagnostically reveal the performance and social position of learners as they interact in a MOOC. We use Coh-Metrix, a theoretically grounded, computational linguistic modeling tool, to explore students' forum postings, as well as interactions distributed via Twitter, blogs and Facebook, across five potent discourse dimensions. Using a Social Network Analysis (SNA) methodology, we determine learners' social centrality. Linear mixed-effect modeling is used for all other analyses to control for individual learner and text characteristics. The results indicate that learners performed significantly better when they engaged in more expository style discourse, with surface and deep level cohesive integration, abstract language, and simple syntactic structures. However, measures of social centrality revealed a different picture.