Delft University of Technology (NETHERLANDS)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 7336-7343
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.0669
Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain
Online education can be used as a catalyst for gaining knowledge on learning and learning processes due to its generation of massive corpora of data on student behaviour. This knowledge can then be utilized to improve the quality of education.

Since 2013 Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) offers online courses for a global population of lifelong learners through its programme for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). TU Delft’s MOOC programme was created with three specific goals:
(i) to deliver high quality open & online education (O2E) to the world;
(ii) to improve education; and
(iii) to grow research output. Since its inception, TU Delft’s MOOC programme has created and run over forty MOOCs, gaining nearly a million enrolled students in the process.

As TU Delft’s MOOC programme developed and expanded over time, an organisational structure was created in which educational processes and research activities were aligned and integrated. This organisational structure supports three research agendas:
(i) course evaluation, which focuses on post-course analysis;
(ii) research-driven innovation through short-cycled research projects; and
(iii) long-term experimental research with a specific focus on big data and learning analytics.

Through the integrated organisational structure, data is simultaneously collected for all three research agendas. This includes user feedback through survey data for course evaluation; user enrolment and activity data for the short-cycled research projects; and data from experiments for the long-term research. Analysing this data has resulted in dozens of course evaluation reports, business and marketing analyses, cross-course analyses, internal reports on student learning behaviour, and a substantial number of peer-reviewed academic papers about results of learning analytics and pedagogical innovations. This output has been useful for their individual research tracks, but combining the results has provided TU Delft with additional insights only attainable by careful synchronization of the three. TU Delft has benefited from these insights and has adapted to the findings both in online and on-campus course design. TU Delft’s MOOC programme provides a valuable environment for innovating educational design experience and developing new educational delivery strategies that can also be used to improve on-campus education.

Future plans build on the current organisational structure and include:
(i) using the results from learning analytics interventions experiments to build a learning analytics ‘suite’ for all online courses;
(ii) testing and validating TU Delft’s proprietary Online Learning Experience (OLE) pedagogical model for online course design; and
(iii) using these experiences to transform and improve on-campus education.

First steps in these matters are already under way with the acquisition of a new digital learning environment and its accompanying learning analytics suite for on-campus education. This way the MOOC programme serves TU Delft’s strategic goals of both educating the world and improving the quality of its online and on-campus education.
Higher Education, Innovation, Learning Analytics, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Links between Education and Research.