Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Third International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Trends in student behavior in online courses
Rianne Conijn, Menno van Zaanen

Last modified: 30-05-2017

Abstract


Learning management systems provide an easy and effective means of access to educational material. Students’ access to course material is logged and the amount of interaction is assumed to be a measure of student engagement within the course. In previous research, frequencies of student activities have typically been used, but this disregards any temporal information. Here, we analyze the amount of student activity over time during courses. Based on activity data over 11 online courses, we cluster students who show similar behavior over time. This shows three different groups: a large group of students who are mostly not active, another group of students who are very active throughout the course, and a group of students who start out being active, but their activity diminishes throughout the course. These groups of students also show different performance. Overall, more active students yield better results. In addition to these general trends, we identified courses in which alternative trends can be found, such as a group of students who become more active during the course. This shows that student behavior is more complex than can be identified from an individual course and more research into patterns of learning activities in multiple courses is essential.


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