Big Data Analysis of a Writing Open Online Course (WOOC)

Ryan Hoover, St. Edward’s University
Rethinking Writing Instruction: Designing an open online course for general and disciplinary writing support

I. Moriah McCracken, St. Edward’s University
Curating Pedagogy with Big Data: Learning to work with data and not hide from it

Cousett Ruelas, University of Texas
The Rise of a New LMS: The pedagogical applications of just-in-time learning and custom learning environments

WOOC Basic Concepts

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U: cruelas
P: rosa18


Rethinking Writing Instruction

User Interface

  1. Hundreds of resources related to writing
  2. Simple access to resources
  3. Suggested content based on other students’ behavior
  4. Q&A forum
  5. Online anonymous peer review
  6. Syllabus / LMS functions


wooc interface

Personalized Learning’s History

“personalized learning means allowing students to choose their own paths through the curriculum [but] the reality is that despite having talked about [it] for more than a decade, most schools and teachers have been slow to discover its potential” (Richardson 22-23).

Behind the scenes

  1. Drupal core
  2. Apache Solr for semantic search
  3. Apache Mahout + Recommender API for recommended items
  4. User Points module for XP points

drupal logo

Collected Google Analytics

google analytics

Collected Search Results

search results summary

Collected Drupal Data

Drupal page views

Observed Student Behavior

Little interest: students barely used the site beyond what was required

No time: students repeatedly said they simply didn’t have time to explore

Not  relevant: students wanted resources with practical, immediate advice

Curating Pedagogy with Big Data

The WOOC Meets Transfer

What Big Data Told Me About My Students

The Rise of a New LMS

Personalized Learning & WOOC

WOOC challenges student motivation concepts

LMS Design

Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas provide a linear approaches to learning

WOOC provides “networked learning” similar to Google and Facebook usage

Other uses?

mozilla openbadges

duolingo logo

Other populations?

Adult learners may be more intrinsically motivated

Nontraditional students have more immediate needs that can be met by individualized learning

Honors students, CAMP students, and other highly motivated students can use it for extracurricular instruction

Asynchronous instruction for Writing Centers and other support centers

Where do we go from here?

Guided learning tracks to give students a set path to follow

Writing Center content with  pragmatic resources directly relevant to tutoring sessions

Social annotation for collaborative analysis of resources


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U: cruelas
P: rosa18