The newest version of the edX platform –free to be downloaded on GitHub– contains a cool surprise: a new course analytics product called edX Insights, which provides data for student enrollment activity, geographic location and engagement with course content.
Members with the Instructor or Course Staff permission can access this functionality in the LMS’s Instructor Dashboard, and monitor students’ activities, validate choices or reveal unexpected patterns.
EdX Insights is designed to deliver data using visualizations, key metrics, and tables, in order to learn who your students are and what they do while they interact with your course.
- For example, the Weekly Student Engagement chart displays the number of students who engaged in different activities over time.
For now, edX has issued the initial version of Insights on the September 30 release.
THE WHOLE ANALYTICS SOFTWARE, OPEN-SOURCED
The edX analytics team has open-sourced the whole code, although without the documentation and operational support it is hard to handle. It requires a lot of understanding before being able to do anything useful.
There are a number of analytics repos on GitHub that were opened up by edX in the last days:
Edcast.com, an Open edX hosting provider created by the serial enterpreneur Karl Mehta, has raised $6 million in funding. This is the largest private fundraising that has happened in the Open edX universe (beyond the MIT and Harvard investment of $60 million).
Edcast built its first project this month with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network, linking more than 200 institutions worldwide.
SoftBank Capital lead the financing round with participation from other investors that included Menlo Ventures, Novel TMT Ventures, Mitch Kapor (Kapor Capital), Cerving Ventures, Aarin Capital, NewSchools Venture Fund/CoLab and the Stanford StartX Fund.
This is the second time SoftBank has backed one of Mehta’s startups, who previously founded and sold PlaySpan, a virtual currency system manager acquired by Visa Corp in a $240 million deal.
Discussion forums are central to massive online courses’ learning experience. It is where community interaction happens and students speak with professors or one another. However, if not built properly, forums can be frustrating when you try to find something or have a functional conversation. Humanities-related boards face more challenges than scientific ones wherein students look for sets of right answers.
Considering all of this, edX has added some nice features to their discussion forums. We tried the last version of the Open edX platform at GW Online and we cannot be more pleased –although we found some minor bugs that we reported.
Main changes in the new forums are made to differentiate between “questions” that are meant to be answered authoritatively –requiring the right answers– and “discussions” which are meant to be pursued discursively.
WordPress’ online economy is really big. It accounts for 20.8 percent of all websites on the Internet.
The graphic below, created by WhoIsHostingThis.com, details interesting facts, such as top-selling themes and designers. Some of these themes have generated over a million dollars in revenue!