UQx support for Learning Research
UQx offers opportunities to conduct scholarly research in online learning and establish research partnerships with edX consortium members. The edX platform is subject to ongoing development, and an opportunity exists for researchers to influence that development to provide insights into the online learning process. Millions of students are engaged in online learning through edX. This is ‘big data’, but is only useful to the extent to which we derive questions based on theoretical frameworks that inform our understanding of learning. The possibilities are wide and limited only by our creative imagination.
MOOC Research Data
The edX platform collects detailed activity stream and course state data which is made available to UQx on a weekly basis. This is big data, with about 1GB of new data added each week. UQx has developed the MOOCczar MOOC Research Data Management Platform to ingest and manage this data. UQx have released MOOCczar as an open-source contribution to the OpenedX community and it is being trailed at a number of partner institutions. At UQx, MOOCczar runs on the national Research Infrastructure services RDSI and Nectar. MOOCczar provides researchers with API access to SQL and NON-SQL databases created from the data collection.
UQx is continually developing dashboards and infographics displays built upon the MOOCczar APIs. These assist in reporting UQx course metrics and provide researchers and course staff with useful aggregated data to compare courses. Some of these info-graphics and visualisations are available under the DATA menu on this site.
Upon completion of each UQx course a UQx Course report is developed to provide a permanent record of the Course data. The Course Report CMS is another UQx development that builds upon MOOCczar APIs. UQx gratefully acknowledges the collaboration and assistance of our partner institutions HarvardX and MITx who provided us with access to many resources developed for their own course reports. These course reports will be listed here as they are finalised.
UQx Course Surveys
UQx has been developing standardised pre and post surveys which are now included in every UQx course. Data from these instruments will give insights into the different cohorts engaging with our courses and allow us to also compare with on-campus cohorts.
LEARN101x: Engaging with Learning Research (in preparation)
This mini-MOOC not only provides learners with an opportunity to learn about the how and why of learning research, but provides an opportunity for them to engage with real research studies. For researchers, Learn101x is a platform for conducting studies with a cohort of lifelong learners who want to be a part of the development of the future of online learning. Learn101x will launch in early 2015. Studies included in Learn101x can draw participants from across all course cohorts and explicit consent is obtained from learners to associate their other UQx course data with the data from the Learn101x studies.
Content Experiments and other In-course Studies
UQx course teams are encouraged to build research studies into their course designs. This is often the best way to gather data about learners and the learning process. The edX platform enables content experiments to be easily created where the cohort is split across two or more alternative content designs in one or many places within the course. Other in-course activities or surveys can also be used to gather data for learning research. UQx supports course teams undertaking research studies within their course with learning design, technical development, data analytics and research assistance services provided as part of the course project plan.