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Education XPress First

The purpose of this paper is to describe the methodology used to confront one of the challenges associated with analyzing discussion forum data from the inaugural edX MOOC, “Circuits and Electronics.” We detail the development and testing of a framework to classify large amounts of MOOC data into a manageable number of categories so that further analysis can be conducted in targeted areas of interest. We discuss challenges that arose during implementation of the framework as well as how we resolved them. The result of our efforts is a coding framework that enables us to provide an empirical account of how students actually use the discussion forum in a MOOC—information that may also assist developers as they strive to enhance positive outcomes from students’ use of this medium. Additionally, this framework can provide the foundation for the future utilization of natural language processing to code discussion forum data.

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