Recommending courses to students in online platforms is studied widely. Almost all studies target closed platforms, that belong to a University or some other educational provider. This makes the course recommenders situation specific. Over the last years, a demand has developed for recommender system that suit open online platforms. Those platforms have some common characteristics, such as the lack of rich user profiles with content metadata. Instead they log user interactions within the platform that can be used for analysis and personalization. In this paper, we investigate how user interactions and activities tracked within open online learning platforms can be used to provide recommendations. We present a study in which we investigate the application of several state-of-the-art recommender algorithms, including a graph-based recommender approach. We use data from the OpenU open online learning platform that is in use by the Open University of the Netherlands. The results show that user-based and memory-based methods perform better than model-based and factorization methods. Particularly, the graph-based recommender system proves to outperform the classical approaches on prediction accuracy of recommendations in terms of recall. We conclude that, if the algorithms are chosen wisely, recommenders can contribute to a better experience of learners in open online courses.
Soude Fazeli, Enayat Rajabi, Leonardo Lezcano, Hendrik Drachsler, Peter Sloep