Learning Analytics MOOC – Week 1

The Horizon Report Higher Education 2014 sees Learning Analytics in the Time-to-Adoption Horizon as „One Year or Less“ (in the Report 2013 it was „Two to Three Years“), so the topic LA is quite an interesting one for Educators.

However, Learning Analytics (LA) is a term which needs definition – The Society for Learning Analytics Research defines it as „the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs“.

The slide at 3:00 min shows that it’s a good idea to know more about LA: „Data trails reveals our sentiments, our attitudes, our social connections, our intentions, what we know, how we learn and what we might do next“.

I really liked the link to the fulltext article „Educational Data Mining and Learning Analytics“ (Baker & Siemens 2014) as it gives an introduction and overview of the field (graduate programs, journals, conferences, methods & tools, differences between Educational Data Mining, EDM, and LA research communities). The reasons of the growing use of LA are cited as „a substantial increase in data quantity, improved data formats, advances in computing, and increased sophistication of tools available for analytics“.

What about software (analytics / research tools)? I try to remember that for single functionality there is NodeXL and Gephi whereas integrated suites would be SAS, IBM BI Analytics suite and Pentaho. Open Socurce tools are R and Weka and in our course we will focus on Tableau, Gephi, RapidMiner and LightSide. I intentionally skipped doing a tool matrix because at the moment I don’t feel like being competent enough and other things were more important to me (I decided that it’s  the kind of MOOC where I choose my learning goals).

In week 1, I spent about 5 hours with the MOOC: at first looking at the course / resources / activities in edX (plus joining one of the live hangouts until midnight local time on Tuesday) and then signing in ProSolo. My first impression of ProSolo was that is wasn’t very intuitive, so in week 2 I’ll  have a closer look at what the menus „plan, learn“, „goals, competences, activities“ mean.

I look forward to week 2 of DALMOOC and I’m curious what we will do with the Tableau software.