In-Video Reuse of Discussion Threads in MOOCs

In-Video Reuse of Discussion Threads in MOOCs

Qian Zhao, Sashank Varma, and Joseph Konstan

In MOOCs, both instructors and students invest substantial effort into discussion forums. However, those discussions are abandoned when instructors start a new session in session-based courses. In an observational field study through a popular online Coursera course, we evaluate an approach that directly embeds high-value past discussion threads into future lecture videos to reuse them. We demonstrate that this approach can be useful to a large proportion of learners. We find instructor involvement increases learners’ chance of reading the threads, reduces learners’ negative reactions, but is not associated with more perceived usefulness. Embedding enhancing threads in the middle of videos makes learners think of the enhancing content in a narrower context and hence may not be effective for the goal of enhancement. Embedding explanatory threads at the end is less distracting and reported more helpful to understand the video compared with in the middle, right after the related content is lectured.