Skip to main content

Challenges of Identifying Second Language English Speakers in MOOCs

  • Conference paper
  • First Online:
Digital Education: Out to the World and Back to the Campus (EMOOCs 2017)

Part of the book series: Lecture Notes in Computer Science ((LNISA,volume 10254))

Included in the following conference series:


In this study, we aim to analyse English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as a First Language (EFL) MOOC participants’ engagements in a MOOC. We aim to find out key points which directly effect learners’ dropout and performance in MOOCs. We worked on a FutureLearn data which is provided by the University of Southampton. The course is Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching MOOC that was run between 2016-04-04 and 2016-05-02 is chosen for the analysis. According to the results, it is very challenging to identify who is a second language English speaker by using their location information. One of the important findings is that first language English speakers wrote longer comments. In order to identify strategies for ESL MOOC participants, which is one of the ultimate goal of our research, there is a need for much deeper analyses.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or eBook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
USD 39.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. 1.

  2. 2.

  3. 3.

  4. 4.

  5. 5.

  6. 6.


  1. Bakki, A., Oubahssi, L., Cherkaoui, C., George, S.: Motivation and engagement in MOOCs: how to increase learning motivation by adapting pedagogical scenarios? In: Conole, G., Klobučar, T., Rensing, C., Konert, J., Lavoué, É. (eds.) EC-TEL 2015. LNCS, vol. 9307, pp. 556–559. Springer, Cham (2015). doi:10.1007/978-3-319-24258-3_58

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  2. Barak, M., Watted, A., Haick, H.: Motivation to learn in massive open online courses: examining aspects of language and social engagement. Comput. Educ. 94, 49–60 (2016)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Brouns, F., Firssova, O.: The role of learning design and learning analytics in MOOCs. In: Conference Proceedings of the 9th EDEN Research Workshop, Oldenburg, Germany. EDEN, October 2016

    Google Scholar 

  4. Eriksson, T., Adawi, T., Stöhr, C.: “Time is the bottleneck”: a qualitative study exploring why learners drop out of MOOCs. J. Comput. High. Educ. 28, 1–14 (2016)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Fasihuddin, H.A., Skinner, G.D., Athauda, R.I.: Boosting the opportunities of open learning (MOOCs) through learning theories. GSTF J. Comput. (JoC) 3(3), 112 (2013)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Gillani, N., Eynon, R., Osborne, M., Hjorth, I., Roberts, S.: Communication communities in MOOCs. arXiv preprint arXiv:1403.4640 (2014)

  7. Guàrdia, L., Maina, M., Sangrà, A.: MOOC design principles: a pedagogical approach from the learner’s perspective. eLearning Pap. 33, 1–6 (2013)

    Google Scholar 

  8. Kizilcec, R.F., Piech, C., Schneider, E.: Deconstructing disengagement: analyzing learner subpopulations in massive open online courses. In: The 3rd International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge, Leuven, Belgium. ACM, April 2013

    Google Scholar 

  9. Milligan, C., Littlejohn, A., Margaryan, A.: Patterns of engagement in connectivist MOOCs. J. Online Learn. Teach. 9(2), 149 (2013)

    Google Scholar 

  10. Sunar, A., White, S., Abdullah, N., Davis, H.: How learners’ interactions sustain engagement: a MOOC case study. IEEE Trans. Learn. Technol. (2016)

    Google Scholar 

  11. Uchidiuno, J., Ogan, A., Koedinger, K.R., Yarzebinski, E., Hammer, J.: Browser language preferences as a metric for identifying ESL speakers in MOOCs. In: Proceedings of the Third ACM Conference on Learning@ Scale, pp. 277–280 (2016)

    Google Scholar 

  12. White, S., White, S.: Learning designers in the ‘third space’: the socio-technical construction of MOOCs and their relationship to educator and learning designer roles in HE. J. Interact. Media Educ. 2016(1) (2016)

    Google Scholar 

Download references


This work has been done under the project numbered 2016-04-01-DOP05 in Yildiz Technical University (YTU). The dataset used in this paper is provided by the University of Southampton for the ethically approved collaborative study (ID: 23593). The authors would like to thank Prof. Dr. Banu Diri from YTU for her help in improving groups based on learner comments. Authors also want to thank Hatice Ata and Ali Demir who are undergraduate students in YTU for their help in analyses.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ayse Saliha Sunar .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2017 Springer International Publishing AG

About this paper

Cite this paper

Duru, I., Sunar, A.S., Dogan, G., White, S. (2017). Challenges of Identifying Second Language English Speakers in MOOCs. In: Delgado Kloos, C., Jermann, P., Pérez-Sanagustín, M., Seaton, D., White, S. (eds) Digital Education: Out to the World and Back to the Campus. EMOOCs 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 10254. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-59043-1

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-59044-8

  • eBook Packages: Computer ScienceComputer Science (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics