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Posted by on May 11, 2012

Emotive Vocabulary in MOOCs and Participant Retention: A New Article and Getting Translated in China

I thought I might for a second try to throw the whole post into that title. Either way, two things to mention in this post. The first, a new publication. The second, the translation of an older publication.

Emotive Vocabulary in MOOCs: a new EURODL article

The MobiMOOC Research Team recently (as in yesterday) had their next article published on the use of emotive vocabulary in MobiMOOC and whether or not that signaled participant intent in staying with or dropping out of the course. The MobiMOOC Research Team see open courses such as MobiMOOC, especially in light of their recent popularity and even expansion into larger scale (yet still fairly traditional modes of pedagogical composition), as needing further investigation. An area that we felt warranted further research was the notion of participant retention. MOOCs are notorious, due to their very open nature, to have low rates of retention and completion. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as lurking, that state of following but not actively participating in the course, can represent learning itself.

However, if participant retention is not a matter of consciously establishing a learning role (lurker, active participant, etc.) and following that role, and is indeed a matter of frustration, dissatisfaction, or inability to engage with the course, we felt that would be best expressed through the emotive vocabulary in the discussion boards. If such vocabulary signals participant intent, whether it be staying with the course or dropping out (whatever that might mean in a MOOC format), then mediation strategies can be developed to engage ‘at-risk’ participants, if that approach is indeed warranted for the objectives of the course. None of the above implies that lurking status has any negative connotation, but rather would certain strategies effectively promote greater engagement with the course.

The paper (PDF)

The Citation

The Abstract:

Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) have been growing in popularity with educational researchers, instructors, and learners in online environments. Online discussions are as important in MOOCs as in other online courses. Online discussions that occur in MOOCs are influenced by additional factors resulting from their volatile and voluntary participation structure. This article aims to examine discussions that took place in MobiMOOC in the spring of 2011, a MOOC structured around mobile learning. This line of inquiry focused on language from the discussions that contained emotive vocabulary in the MobiMOOC discussion forums.

Emotive vocabulary is words or phrases that are implicitly emotional (happy, sad, frustrated) or relate to emotional contexts (I wasn’t able to…). This emotive vocabulary, when present, was examined to determine whether it could serve as a mechanism for predicting future and continued participation in the MOOC. In this research, narrative inquiry approach was used in order to shine a light on the possible predictive qualities of emotive text in both participants who withdrew from the course as well as moderately or moderately active participants. The results indicated that emotive vocabulary usage did not significantly predict or impact participation retention in MobiMOOC.

Getting Translated in China

Our mLearn 2011 paper entitled Exploring the MOOC format as a pedagogical approach for mLearning was translated into Chinese and published in a leading education journal, 中国远程教育.  Many thanks to the efforts of Fugang He, Lecturer of Chinese at the People’s Public Security University and doctoral student of Beijing Normal University.

The Paper (PDF)

The Citation

  • Waard, Inge DE, Koutropoulos, Apostolos, Keskin, Nilgün özdamar, C.Abajian, Sean, Hogue, Rebecca, Rodriguez, C.Osvaldo, & Gallagher, Michael Sean. (2012). 探索MOOC教学方法在mLearning中的运用. [Exploring the MOOC format as a pedagogical approach for mLearning]. 中国远程教育(03), 23-29.

I am curious to learn from Fugang He whether China is experimenting with open learning in the form of MOOCs or otherwise and whether any of these experiments have proven worthwhile. Either way, quite the honor to be translated.

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