Beyond Prediction: First Steps Toward Automatic Intervention in MOOC Student Stopout
8 Pages Posted: 29 May 2015
Date Written: April 23, 2015
High attrition rates in massive open online courses (MOOCs) have motivated growing interest in the automatic detection of student "stopout". Stopout classifiers can be used to orchestrate an intervention before students quit, and to survey students dynamically about why they ceased participation. In this paper we expand on existing stop-out detection research by (1) exploring important elements of classifier design such as generalizability to new courses; (2) developing a novel framework inspired by control theory for how to use a classifier's outputs to make intelligent decisions; and (3) presenting results from a "dynamic survey intervention" conducted on 2 HarvardX MOOCs, containing over 40,000 students, in early 2015. Our results suggest that surveying students based on an automatic stopout classifier achieves higher response rates compared to traditional post-course surveys, and may boost students' propensity to "come back" into the course.
Keywords: massive open online courses, machine learning, stopout prediction
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