ENTRIES TAGGED "MOOC"

Semi-automatic method for grading a million homework assignments

Organize solutions into clusters and “force multiply” feedback provided by instructors

One of the hardest things about teaching a large class is grading exams and homework assignments. In my teaching days a “large class” was only in the few hundreds (still a challenge for the TAs and instructor). But in the age of MOOCs, classes with a few (hundred) thousand students aren’t unusual.

Researchers at Stanford recently combed through over one million homework submissions from a large MOOC class offered in 2011. Students in the machine-learning course submitted programming code for assignments that consisted of several small programs (the typical submission was about 16 lines of code). While over 120,000 enrolled only about 10,000 students completed all homework assignments (about 25,000 submitted at least one assignment).

The researchers were interested in figuring out ways to ease the burden of grading the large volume of homework submissions. The premise was that by sufficiently organizing the “space of possible solutions”, instructors would provide feedback to a few submissions, and their feedback could then be propagated to the rest.

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Finding data after the shutdown, workarounds for reporters, and teaching a journalism MOOC.

When a government shutdown renders government data websites useless, what’s a data journalist to do? This week, reporters hoping to gather data from sites like the US Census Bureau, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis were out of luck, as access to most online government data was blocked due to the government shutdown.

The Pew Research Center offered a mostly comprehensive list of the data casualties of the shutdown.

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Data science in the public interest, ‘digital media data gurus’, and a comic about dirty data.

Insights and links from the data journalism beat

Data science in the public interest is en vogue, as collaborations between data scientists, nonprofits and human rights groups are springing up everywhere. Journalists at the Knight Foundation are following suit. This week, the foundation gave details about it’s $2 million Knight News Challenge for health-related data projects. The “inspiration phase” launching next month invites citizens, journalists, and community groups anywhere in the world to dream up ideas about how to turn public data sets into useful information that could improve the health of communities.

Over at the Neiman Journalism Lab, a journalism professor writes that we are now entering the age of the “Digital Media Data Guru,” a person with a hybrid of computer science and journalism skills who is able to “do it all” in the newsroom, and recommends that journalism schools prepare students for the data-centered work ahead of them.

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Visualization of the Week: MOOC completion rates

Educational researcher Katy Jordan created an interactive visualization using completion and enrollment data from recent MOOCs.

Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, offered through platforms such as Coursera, EdX and Udacity, are arguably helping to fill higher education needs around the world. Educational researcher Katy Jordan noted in a post, however, that “although thousands enroll for courses, a very small proportion actually complete the course.” To take a closer look, she pulled together an interactive visualization to show enrollment numbers and completion rates from recent MOOCs.

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