«Analysing and Altering MOOC Learners' Behaviours at Scale»

Claudia Hauff

TU Delft, The Netherlands

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Since their inception Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have garnered a lot of attention for their potential to drastically change and improve the education landscape. In the last few years, realism has caught up with this ideal – the percentage of MOOC learners that actually engage and pass a MOOC is low, and more concerning, many of those learners that do earn a MOOC certificate are already highly qualified. To alter these dynamics, we need to establish where in this large-scale online learning process things are going wrong and what we can do to automatically and at-scale engage more learners, in particular those from underrepresented groups. At TU Delft we offer more than 40 MOOCs on the edX platform and recently hit the 1-milllion-MOOC-enrollments landmark. We employ large-scale data analysis and data visualization techniques to derive actionable insights from the digital traces our MOOC learners leave behind; we also design, develop and deploy novel educational technologies in our MOOCs often grounded in theories and frameworks established within educational psychology and pedagogy. In this talk, I will present a number of our recent findings in this domain.


Claudia Hauff is an Assistant Professor at the Web Information Systems group, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and a computer scientist by training. In 2010, she received her PhD in information retrieval from the University of Twente, where she worked in the Human Media Interaction group. In the past, she has worked on a variety of topics in the fields of information retrieval & data science, including query performance prediction, social search, computational social science, learning to search and information retrieval for specific user groups (e.g. children). Together with four PhD students, for the past two years Claudia Hauff has been focusing on large-scale learning analytics and how to incorporate search into the learning process at scale. TU Delft offers unique research opportunities for learning analytics as one of the largest providers of MOOCs in Europe; many of TU Delft’s MOOCs are employed by Claudia’s research team for large-scale user experiments which have led to publications in conferences such as LAK, L@S, UMAP, ECTEL and EDM. 

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