Connection not Content

A Blog for MOOCs and Other Animals

MOOC Comment Scraper – FAQ

with 4 comments

  • What’s a MOOC Comment Scraper?
  • It’s a program that brings together brief summarised versions of recent participant blog posts with their comments. The idea is to provide a quick impression of current MOOC activity.
  • But surely anyone can do this by using a Reader (eg Google Reader) to view posts and comments from a set of blogs?
  • Yes, and many do but Readers focus on individual blogs rather than a particular set – it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees.
  • So why are you doing this?
  • A Comment Scraper for Aggregating Blog Posts with Comments in a MOOC‘ explains my original motivation for MOOCs but any online event where discussion is distributed over participant blogs could be treated in a similar way. The Scraper could also be useful for research purposes – it’s relatively easy to archive the output in a machine-readable form.
  • Would the Scraper help to combat the chaos and confusion often experienced in connectivist MOOCs – particularly by new participants?
  • I hope it would – I don’t think that all types of chaos and confusion are desirable parts of the learning experience!
  • How are you testing it?
  • I ran it twice a day during the last 2 weeks of the Change11 MOOC.
  • So how successful was it?
  • Difficult to say – the concept works for me but I would welcome more feedback from others. There were a few direct hits every day on the Scraper page itself but I don’t have figures for the RSS feed – it would be of particular interest if people would let me know if they used the Scraper via an RSS Reader. On the whole, I can’t say it set the prairie on fire but it was an interesting experiment!
  • What now?
  • We’ll see – I’d need to clean up and document the program – actually 2 programs (for Blogger and WordPress) which should be combined. I could consider scraping other MOOCs if there’s any interest but otherwise I’ll probably just use it for reseach purposes.

Written by Gordon Lockhart

May 15, 2012 at 11:24 pm

4 Responses

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  1. […] Scraper’ for Aggregating Blog Posts with Comments in a MOOC and the update) and FAQ. The idea is to provide nothing more than a quick impression of current MOOC activity – what […]

  2. I’m going to be teaching a MOOC in the spring and would be interested in using your MOOC scraper if possible to see how it can help me in my own course.

    jecowley

    November 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    • Thanks for your comment. If you’d like to contact me via iberry.com at gmail.com with the details I’ll see if the Scraper could be useful for you – at present it’s very experimental but by spring – who knows? 🙂
      Gordon Lockhart

      gbl55

      November 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm

  3. […] (See A ‘Comment Scraper’ for Aggregating Blog Posts with Comments in a MOOC, the update, FAQ and an output). The idea is to provide a quick up-to-date impression of posts and comments relating […]


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