DIFFERENCES & COMMONALITIES


Abstract:

This paper reports a comparative overview of MOOC courses from edX, Coursera, Futurelearn and Iversity. The sample covers courses published between Septem- ber 2014 and January 2015 and the comparison focuses on different video styles as well as course descriptions on the platforms.

Based upon this data set of MOOCs (N=448) this study shows noteworthy facts about the state of MOOC production. Talking Head is the most common video style overall on all four MOOC platforms (87%), followed by or in combination with presentation slides (38%).

The courses on the European platforms Futurelearn and Iversity show a highly significant difference in the amount of work effort per week description compare to the US platforms edX and Coursera. In addition, Futurelearn has the shortest course week duration compare to the other platforms. A number of further points are reported below.

Data Set Overview - MOOC Courses

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Data Set - MOOC Courses
Overview of the 448 MOOC courses with their corresponding Universities
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Data Set: Variables and Coding of 448 MOOC Videos
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Table 1: Comparison of course descriptions on different platforms

Course Description Intro Page

All 448 courses

edX

Coursera

Futurelearn

Iversity

1a) Number of MOOC courses

448

136

222

68

22

1b) Number of Different Universities

160

41

73

26

20

1c) Number of Different Countries

35

15

24

6

6

1d) Number of Disciplines

63

49

23

24

13

1e) Average Course Weeks (weeks)

7.95

9.1

7.92

5.21

9.95

1f) Average Number of
Educators mentioned (persons)

4.3

6.1

3.6

2.4

5.7

1g) Average weekly effort (weeks)

5.1

6.1

5.2

3.2

3.2

1h) Average Intro Video Duration (min/sec)

2.25

2.21

2.29

2.11

2.40

 

 

Table 1 reports general information about the different courses advertised on the corresponding MOOC platforms. The variable 1d) was counted by the first listed discipline. Some courses list several disciplines which the course can fit to. In this case, only the first discipline was taken into account in this table. A few courses on the platforms announced for the weekly effort as a time span of several weeks (e.g. 4-6). In this case, the average of the announced weeks has been counted (e.g. 5) for variable 1f).

 

Table 2: Comparison of video course styles

MOOC Course, Week 3, Lecture Video

All 448 courses

edX

Coursera

Futurelearn

Iversity

2a) Average Lecture Duration (min/sec)

10min 26sec

9min 49sec

12min 36sec

5min 40sec

6min 03sec

2b) Classroom with students

7%

12%

7%

0%

0%

2c) Classroom without students

6%

7%

4%

10%

14%

2d) Presentation slides with speaker (Picture-in-Picture)

33%

26%

46%

3%

36%

2e) Presentation slides without speaker

38%

30%

48%

22%

27%

2f) Computer screen, high-lightening

29%

33%

32%

9%

27%

2g) Green-screen

26%

35%

25%

10%

22%

2h) Talking Head (summary)

     - Talking Head/Monochrome
        Background
     - Talking Head/Office
        Background

74%

20%

17%

78%

23%

24%

68%

21%

16%

81%

12%

4%

91%

23%

23%

2i) Animation

20%

19%

21%

19%

18%

2j) Split-screen

12%

13%

14%

4%

5%

2k) Outdoor (unrelated to content)

10%

9%

5%

31%

5%

2l) On location (related to content)

20%

22%

20%

22%

9%

2m) Webcam Capture

8%

7%

12%

0%

9%

2o) Several speakers

15%

16%

9%

29%

18%

2p) Off-voice speaker

16%

12%

15%

30%

9%

 

Most of the variables should be self-explanatory. Still, some aspects are shortly explained below:
2h) Talking Head refer to video styles, which shows a speaker in a medium-close-up, shoulder-close-up or close-up. When two people are having a conversation or interview situation, it isn’t counted as Talking Head. Talking Head with Monochrome Background describes a surrounding which has only one colour tone (e.g. white, black, blue). Talking Head with Office Background shows an office behind the speaker (e.g. book shelf). The variable 2k) Outdoor refers to videos which are produced outside. The outdoor location doesn’t refer directly to the content of the lecture. 2l) On-Location refers to places which depict the content of the lecture e.g. Agricultural lecture about farming on a farmers place. 2o) Several places attribute to videos showing different rooms, environments or places within the same video. 2p) Off-voice is defined as a speaker who is not visible at any time. If a speaker appears firstly as a Talking Head and continues talking without his image, it is not counted as off-voice. 2o) Several speakers refer to more than one speaker which can be visible in the image, or also appear as an Off-voice. 2n) Visible words describe all words or numbers, which are in any or other form visible in the image. 2j) Split screen refer to videos displaying an image with closed banners of text overlays, or separate images split in between.