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Socioeconomic status and MOOC enrollment: Enriching demographic information with external datasets
Hansen, John and Reich, Justin

PublishedOctober 2014
ConferenceLearning Analytics & Knowledge Conference

ABSTRACT
To minimize barriers to entry, massive open online course (MOOC) providers collect minimal demographic information about users. In isolation, this data is insufficient to address important questions about socioeconomic status (SES) and MOOC enrollment and performance. We demonstrate the use of third-party datasets to enrich demographic portraits of MOOC students and answer fundamental questions about SES and MOOC enrollment. We derive demographic information from registrants’ geographic location by matching self-reported mailing addresses with data available from Esri at the census block group level and the American Community Survey at the zip code level. We then use these data to compare neighborhood income and levels of parental education for U.S. registrants in HarvardX courses and the U.S. population as a whole. Overall, HarvardX registrants tend to reside in more affluent neighborhoods. U.S. HarvardX registrants on average live in neighborhoods with median incomes approximately .45 standard deviations higher than the U.S. population. Parental education is also associated with a higher likelihood of MOOC enrollment. For instance, a seventeen year-old whose most educated parent has a bachelor's degree is more than five times as likely to register as a seventeen year-old whose most educated parent has a high school diploma.

Keywords demographics · distance learning · geographic analysis · MOOC · socioeconomic status

RefereedYes
URLhttp://www.edtechresearcher.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SES-and-MOOC-Enrollment-LAK-10_14_submitted.docx
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