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Initial experiences with small group discussions in MOOCs

  • Author(s): Lim, Seongtaek
  • Coetzee, Derrick
  • Hartmann, Bjoern
  • Fox, Armando
  • Hearst, Marti A
  • Editor(s): Sahami, Mehran
  • Fox, Armando
  • Hearst, Marti A
  • Chi, Michelene TH
  • et al.
Abstract

Peer learning, in which students discuss questions in small groups, has been widely reported to improve learning outcomes in traditional classroom settings. Classroom-based peer learning relies on students being in the same place at the same time to form peer discussion groups, but this is rarely true for online students in MOOCs. We built a software tool that facilitates chat-based peer learning in MOOCs by 1) automatically forming ad-hoc discussion groups and 2) scaffolding the interactions between students in these groups. We report on a pilot deployment of this tool; post-use surveys administered to participants show that the tool was positively received and support the feasibility of synchronous online collaborative learning in MOOCs.

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