Exploring Co-studied Massive Open Online Course Subjects via Social Network Analysis
Keywords:Curricula, Open education, Massive Open Online Courses, MOOCs, Social network analysis
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) allow students to study online courses without requiring previous experience or qualifications. This offers students the freedom to study a wide variety of topics, freed from the curriculum of a degree programme for example; however, it also poses a challenge for students in terms of making connections between individual courses. This paper examines the subjects which students at one MOOC platform (Coursera) choose to study. It uses a social network analysis based approach to create a network graph of co-studied subjects. The resulting network demonstrates a good deal of overlap between different disciplinary areas. Communities are identified within the graph and characterised. The results suggests that MOOC students may not be seeking to replicate degree-style courses in one specialist area, which may have implications for the future moves toward ‘MOOCs for credit’.
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