New MOOC, Practical Learning Analytics, Encourages Group Participation

Professor Tim McKay has created a new massive open online course (MOOC) called Practical Learning Analytics to address the typical challenges faculty, staff, administrators and students face to gather, access and analyze data in direct, practical ways.

The course builds upon U-M’s leadership in learning analytics and is the next innovation in a series of initiatives that have sought to make personalized data actionable on a large scale to empower students, faculty, and staff to make better informed choices to improve learning.

Based on Michigan’s on-campus Learning Analytics Fellows program, the course focuses on analytical approaches that anyone can take, and offers a number of innovative approaches that differentiate it from other open online courses. For instance, the course offers a practical approach by providing students with real sample data and code to help facilitate analysis.

Practical Learning Analytics is also the first U-M MOOC to encourage group participation and dialogue as an ideal model for participation. The course is structured to accommodate as many tastes and needs as possible, allowing learners to select their own level of involvement. Professor McKay recommends dividing course content among a group of peers and  exploring notes and key themes in weekly ongoing discussions to help students explore the full content of the course while learning from the perspectives and insights from peers.

Practical Learning Analytics is also bridging impact with global lifelong learners with unique on-campus opportunities for current students. On October 20, the Digital Innovation Greenhouse within the Office of Digital Education & Innovation (DEI) will host a student hackathon where students will utilize data sets from the online course.

Enrollment is currently open for Practical Learning Analytics, which launches on October 5. For additional information and/or to enroll, please visit https://www.coursera.org/course/pla.

screencap of Sean Swider using ViewPoint tool