Towards Integrating Conversational Agents and Learning Analytics in MOOCs
Higher Education Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) introduce a way of transcending formal higher education by realizing technology-enhanced formats of learning and instruction and by granting access to an audience way beyond students enrolled in any one Higher Education Institution. However, although MOOCs have been reported as an efficient and important educational tool, there is a number of issues and problems related to their educational impact. More specifically, there is an important number of drop outs during a course, little participation, and lack of students’ motivation and engagement overall. This may be due to one-size-fits-all instructional approaches and very limited commitment to student-student and teacher-student collaboration. This paper introduces the development agenda of a newly started European project called “colMOOC” that aims to enhance the MOOCs experience by integrating collaborative settings based on Conversational Agents and screening methods based on Learning Analytics, to support both students and teachers during a MOOC course. Conversational pedagogical agents guide and support student dialogue using natural language both in individual and collaborative settings. Integrating this type of conversational agents into MOOCs to trigger peer interaction in discussion groups can considerably increase the engagement and the commitment of online students and, consequently, reduce MOOCs dropout rate. Moreover, Learning Analytics techniques can support teachers’ orchestration and students’ learning during MOOCs by evaluating students’ interaction and participation. The research reported in this paper is currently undertaken within the research project colMOOC funded by the European Commission.
This research was funded by the European Commission through the project “colMOOC: Integrating Conversational Agents and Learning Analytics in MOOCs” (588438-EPP-1-2017-1-EL-EPPKA2-KA).
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