Who takes a MOOC (geographically)?

October 2, 2012 at 7:11 am 5 comments

Bravo to Dr. Chuck Severance for sharing the maps he created of where his MOOC students are coming from! These are fascinating data, and the result is particularly useful since there’s so little data to be had on MOOCs. It’s hard to be sure from just eye-balling the data, but my sense is:

  • This is mostly a developed-world phenomenon.
  • A small percentage of attendees come from Africa.

I would really love to know gender and ethnicity/race demographics on who is taking and who is completing MOOCs. Here’s a prediction for the technology-heavy Udacity courses: 80% White or Asian, 90% male. Anybody know where we can get the data to test this hypothesis?

As part of my Internet History, Technology, and Security course on Coursera I did a demographics survey and received 4701 responses from my students.

I will publish all the data in a recorded lecture summarizing the class, but I wanted to give a sneak preview of some of the geographic data results because the Python code to retrieve the data was fun to build. Click on each image to play with a zoomable map of the visualized data in a new window. At the end of the post, I describe how the data was gathered, processed and visualized.

via Dr. Chuck’s Blog » Blog Archive » Visualizing the Geographic Distribution of my Coursera Course.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Laura Blankenship (@lblanken)  |  October 2, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    I know in Udacity at least, there is the option to fill out gender, but then it’s still up to individuals to a) fill out the information and b) share it.

    • 2. Mark Guzdial  |  October 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      I asked Daphne Koller this morning, “What are the demographics of those who completed Coursera courses.” She said that she didn’t know. They know enrollment data, but they “have not yet had the bandwidth to slice the data that way.”

  • 3. Fred Martin  |  October 6, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Also worth thinking about the SES of participants… surely they have had access to solid old fashioned education, which in many parts of the world, costs parents lots of money.

  • 4. Charles Severance  |  October 6, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Mark – In that same survey more detail here in my lecture abut the class and its data – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQ0HXfB8Q1w – the gender in that same survey was 2/3 male – I did not ask the other questions.


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