Visualising the network of co-enrolled course subjects

MOOC_networkHave you ever wondered which MOOC courses students study together? I’ve been thinking recently about whether MOOC students choose to enrol in combinations of courses from the same subject area, or are more interdisciplinary in their studies.

To look into this, I looked at the combinations of courses listed on public Coursera profile pages. I collected the information in a spreadsheet and (using Gephi) made a network graph – where nodes represent courses, and a link is present if a student has enrolled on both courses (by doing this, the data is anonymised and doesn’t contain any information about students or links to their profiles). The links are weighted so that the more students who took these two courses together, the thicker the link is. I used the modularity algorithm in Gephi to try to detect communities within the network, and colour-coded the nodes to reflect this.

Thanks to a handy plugin for Gephi from Oxford Internet Institute, I’ve been able to create an interactive, online version of the graph to share, which you can view here (opens in a new window).

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