Supporting teachers in the design and implementation of group formation policies to carry out group learning activities in massive and variable scale on-line learning contexts

  1. Sanz Martínez, María Luisa
Supervised by:
  1. César González Ferreras Director

Defence university: Universidad de Valladolid

Fecha de defensa: 01 February 2022

  1. Francisco José García Peñalvo Chair
  2. Elena Verdú Secretary
  3. Stavros Demetriadis Committee member
  1. Computing (Architecture and Technology of Computers. Computational Science and Artificial Intelligence. Computing System

Type: Thesis


MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), labeled as a new disruptive paradigm in the educational environment, are criticized by a large sector of the educational community due to their high dropout rates and low instructional quality. The inclusion of active pedagogies, such as collaborative learning, in this type of courses could improve their instructional quality, as well as increase student motivation and engagement. However, the massive scale and its variations during the course make it difficult to introduce such pedagogies and especially to form and maintain student work groups. Supporting teachers in group management tasks could facilitate the adoption of collaborative pedagogical designs. To address this goal and to be able to carry out the development of tools to support teachers, a broad and deep knowledge of the context and the problem to be addressed, as well as a holistic view of it, is desirable. For this reason, this thesis proposes, as a general objective, to support teachers interested in introducing group activities in this type of courses, both in the design of grouping policies appropriate for each situation, and in the implementation of such policies within the chosen educational platform. To that aim, a conceptual framework is created to categorize the relevant factors to be taken into account to form student groups or teams in the MOOC educational context, as well as the main characteristics of this context that can influence such teams. Based on this framework, design guides are developed with recommendations and guidelines that help teachers to design their own grouping policies, as well as supporting software tools that allow the implementation of such grouping policies in different educational platforms. Through three studies in real MOOCs and other research techniques such as literature review and expert opinions, grouping proposals based on learning analytics and student dynamics monitored during the course have been explored. In addition, a model has been generated for the creation of design guides, and an architecture for the development of software tools independent of the chosen educational platform, which serve to implement the designed groupings. Based on these models, proofs of concept have been created to test their viability and usefulness.