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.


    November 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    • Thanks for your comment. If you’d like to contact me via at 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


      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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