• Today I had the pleasure to participate in the PhD defense of Tobias Rohloff. The overall aim of this dissertation is to investigate the implementation of LA at the scale of MOOCs and to explore how data-driven technology can support learning and teaching in this context. To this end, several research prototypes have been iteratively developed for the HPI MOOC Platform. Hence, they were tested and evaluated in an authentic real-world learning environment. Most of the results can be applied on a conceptual level to other MOOC platforms as well. The research contribution of this thesis thus provides practical insights beyond what is theoretically possible. In total, four system components were developed and extended:
  • (1) The Learning Analytics Architecture: A technical infrastructure to collect, process, and analyze event-driven learning data based on schema-agnostic pipelining in a service-oriented MOOC platform.
  • (2) The Learning Analytics Dashboard for Learners: A tool for data-driven support of self-regulated learning, in particular, to enable learners to evaluate and plan their learning activities, progress, and success by themselves.
  • (3) Personalized Learning Objectives: A set of features to better connect learners’ success to their personal intentions based on selected learning objectives to o˘er guidance and align the provided data-driven insights about their learning progress.
  • (4) The Learning Analytics Dashboard for Teachers: A tool supporting teachers with data-driven insights to enable the monitoring of their courses with thousands of learners, identify potential issues, and take informed action.

For all aspects examined in this dissertation, related research is presented, development processes and implementation concepts are explained, and evaluations are conducted in case studies. In addition to the results and contributions, general limitations of the work are discussed—which altogether provide a solid foundation for practical implications and future research.

Big congrats from the EduTec team to Tobias, I especially want to highlight that he did the full cycle of activities that are required for an independent researcher in the Educational Technologies domain. He positioned his work very well in related research, he made big efforts into technology development, he studied different effects of MOOC and learning analytics dashboards in various research designs and further customized the digital interventions to the requirements of the target users, he also supported the rollout of the tested features for the whole HPI MOOC platform.  Finally, Tobias also published various articles at international conferences.

Very well done!