Massively Open Online Conversation? Examining the #mooc Hashtag

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are a hotly debated topic in educational circles; some think that they will transform access to education, while others feel that they contain a host of problems including organizational problems, copyright, student support, and so forth. The hashtag #mooc is ostensibly neutral, used by both camps. Or is it?

RQ 1: How, if at all, is the #mooc hashtag politicized?

RQ 2: Who is dominating the #mooc conversation, and in what way?

  • Pulled all mentions of #mooc from 3 March – 26 June 2013
  • Used TCAT to find Top Mentions, Top Users, Top Domains, Top URLs and RT Frequency
  • Manually coded Top Mentions, Top Users for Location and Affiliation
  • 51,000 tweets (approx.)
  • Removed #mooc*
Findings: Overview
  • Conversation is an echo chamber
  • Narrow geography
  • Driven by news
  • Unidirectional: no real conversation

Challenges: Dataset included unwanted hashtags (#moochers, #moochelle obama) Hashtag co-occurrence: tool fail Time limitations: hand-coding Tweets for deeper understanding of conversational dynamics OpenCalais: Textual issues relate to Twitter shared URLs (positional references)
Topic revision: r3 - 28 Jun 2013, KateMiltner
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