Enriching an Online Course with Interactive Web Content and Learning Analytics

NOTE: Please contact Bodong Chen if you’re interested in contributing to this project.

Project goals

Universities are moving courses online. However, teaching online is not always easy, because online courses often lack interactivity, students are easily disengaged, and instructors often know little about student engagement. The proposed project aims to integrate interactive web content and learning analytics in online courses by harnessing emerging technological innovations. This project has two goals: (1) to create and embed interactive web content in a current online course; and (2) to develop learning analytics that record students’ course engagement for formative assessment purposes.

Background and description

As a faculty member, I have developed two online courses, both of which feature open course websites that have attracted thousands of visitors. When developing these courses, my ambition was to support learning experiences deeply connected with the broader web space instead of being limited within a Learning Management System. To further enhance learning experiences, in Spring 2019 I hope to improve the design by adding interactive web content and data analytics.

To add interactive web content, I will experiment with H5P, an open-source initiative focused on enriching online experiences by enabling HTML-based interactive content. H5P provides a range of interactive content types (e.g., interactive videos, drag-and-drop tasks) that can make online courses more interactive. As an instructor, I will embed H5P activities on my course website to enrich learning experiences. For example, I can create an H5P quiz and embed it in a video for student self-assessment.

But having interactive content alone is not enough. As an instructor I need to know how students interact with the content and with each other. Recent educational technology standards (xAPI) will enable me to record student interactions with H5P content (e.g., “Alice chose option B”) in a Learning Record Store, which could then power a dashboard to offer students detailed and timely formative feedback.

Potential impacts

The project’s impacts are two-fold. First, students taking the course will have much better experiences. They will be able to interact with embedded H5P activities to check understanding as they learn; they will also receive timely feedback based on learning analytics. To evaluate such immediate impacts, I will survey and interview students to understand their learning experiences. I will also generate descriptive reports of student engagement in this course and contrast them with a previous cohort.

Second, this project will produce outputs that can benefit future online courses. As a matter of fact, my earlier work in this area has been disseminated via journal articles (Chen, 2018; Chen et al., 2018) and invited talks (at UMN and peer institutions). As an Open Scholar, I plan to share all H5P activities and computer codes generated by this project to maximize its potential impact at the University and beyond.