Your Actions or Your Associates? Predicting Certification and Dropout in MOOCs with Behavioral and Social Features

by   Niki Gitinabard, et al.

The high level of attrition and low rate of certification in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has prompted a great deal of research. Prior researchers have focused on predicting dropout based upon behavioral features such as student confusion, click-stream patterns, and social interactions. However, few studies have focused on combining student logs with forum data. In this work, we use data from two different offerings of the same MOOC. We conduct a survival analysis to identify likely dropouts. We then examine two classes of features, social and behavioral, and apply a combination of modeling and feature-selection methods to identify the most relevant features to predict both dropout and certification. We examine the utility of three different model types and we consider the impact of different definitions of dropout on the predictors. Finally, we assess the reliability of the models over time by evaluating whether or not models from week 1 can predict dropout in week 2, and so on. The outcomes of this study will help instructors identify students likely to fail or dropout as soon as the first two weeks and provide them with more support.


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