HKUST Develops First Visual Analytic System on E-learning Behavior VisMOOC Won HKICT Innovation Award


The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has developed the first visual analytic system for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), which provides interactive, in-depth, and user-friendly analysis of e-learning behavior, promising improvement in teaching quality and more demand-focus MOOC programs that could further boost the development of online education.

The system Visual Analysis of MOOC (VisMOOC), developed by a team led by Prof Huamin Qu from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, has received the Best Innovation (Innovative Technology) Silver Award at The Hong Kong ICT Awards this year.

“There have been some studies to analyze the behavior of online learners, but instructors have found it difficult to utilize those analysis on teaching as many crucial data were not available until recently,” said Prof Qu.  “Now with more data supply by MOOC platforms, especially those on video clickstream, we are able to create an intuitive and comprehensive analytical system, boosted by novel visualization techniques such as seek diagram, that allows instructors to make sense of the vast amount of e-learning data for the first time.”

VisMOOC matches clickstream data with statistics on forum chat and grading so users can identify the gender, origins, age group, academic performance and other traits of an individual viewer or a group of viewers when they skip or replay a certain clip of the video.  That facilitates instructors’ understanding of their students’ interest and problems, so they could improve the course content for future offerings. “In the future, we can even extend the service to students by offering them personalized e-learning experience,” Prof Qu said.

The system is well-received by course instructors, education analysts and key MOOC platforms since its launch in May 2014.  Major MOOC platforms Coursera and edX both said they planned to integrate the system into their platforms.

As the first visual-based analytical system for MOOC videos, Prof Qu said such technology has huge potential as its market lies not only with the online education sector, but it can also be a useful tool for entertainment companies and online advertisers.

HKUST is a pioneer leader in MOOC, ever since the University became one of the first in Asia to join Coursera in 2012 and edX in 2013, it has strived to promote and incorporate this innovative pedagogy into traditional teaching, HKUST is the first local institution to introduce credit-bearing MOOC courses which merges online learning with face-to-face classes.

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 Prof Huamin Qu (Third Left) and his team receive Innovation (Innovative Technology) Silver Award at The Hong Kong ICT Awards.
Prof Huamin Qu (Third Left) and his team receive Innovation (Innovative Technology) Silver Award at The Hong Kong ICT Awards.
 Prof Huamin Qu (Left) and Prof Ting-chuen Pong.
Prof Huamin Qu (Left) and Prof Ting-chuen Pong.
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