Interactive Visualizations of HarvardX-MITx Data

Harvard and MIT have made data from their first year of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) on the edX.org platform publicly available. They have also provided some interactive charts, which can be accessed here. Even though the maps are informative, there are other questions that crop up while exploring the data.

Our project aims to provide researchers in the learning sciences, human-computer-interaction, and related fields with novel, flexible, and intuitive ways to explore the MOOC data set in more detail. Our hope is that this work helps generate new research questions and hypotheses, and draws attention to gaps in publicly accessible data from MOOCs.

Based on the HarvardX-MITx Person-Course Academic Year 2013 De-Identified dataset, version 2.0 dataset, we generated three data visualization designs:

1. Explore Variables by Country

The HarvardX Insights site lets users view choropleth world maps of aggregate course data such as enrollment and level of education. Adding onto the analysis, our mapping tools allow users to view color-coded point maps of more fine-grained data, such as the average number of videos played and the average number of forum posts.

2. Compare Variables through an Interactive Scatterplot

Through a scatterplot, users can search for potential relationships between variables of their choice in the HarvardX-MITx dataset. Correlation is not causation. Nonetheless, observing visual correlations between variables it may provide ideas and inspire questions for further research that could start to evince causal links between variables.

3. Investigate Outcomes with Filters

Our interactive, linked charts let users view composition and course outcomes for different demographic groups. As some rows have missing data, users can choose to ignore these rows. It will be interesting to understand how certification and grades vary across demographics.Using a box plot, we see the variation of grade across demographics. Using a bar chart we see how many percent candidates in a category got certified and using a doughnut chart we vizualize the breakdown of candidates across different demographics.

A video: Storytelling with edX-plore

The video below is not the best quality, but shows how we tell a visual story using edX-plore.