Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Alario-Hoyos C., Muñoz-Merino P.J., Pérez-Sanagustín M., Delgado-Kloos C. and Parada H.A. (2016)

Who are the top contributors in a MOOC? Relating participants’ performance and contributions 

Revista : Journal of Computer Assisted Learning
Volumen : 32
Número : 3
Páginas : 232-243
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


The role of social tools in MOOCs is essential to connect participants. Of all the participants in a MOOC, top contributors are the ones that more actively contribute in social tools, sometimes with posts to the emergent discussions, sometimes answering their peers’
questions and concerns and sometimes even adding complementary sources of information to the course. Using learning analytics techniques, this paper collects, analyzes, and reports empirical
data from five different social tools around an actual MOOC to characterize top contributors and provide some insights aimed at facilitating their early detection. The results of this analysis show
that top contributors had good performance in all the activities they completed, meaning that they knew the subjects good enough to complement the role of teachers. In addition, there is a moderate positive correlation between final grades and the number of posts submitted to the five social tools. This paper also studies the effect of several factors that can be used for the early detection of top contributors concluding that gender is not a good predictor of top contributors, and that taking the scores of the first assessment activities of each type (test and peer assessment in the case study) results in a prediction that does not substantially improved by adding
subsequent activities. Finally, better predictions based on scores are obtained for aggregate contributions in the five social tools, than for individual contributions in each social tool.