Predicting Speech Acts in MOOC Forum Posts
Keywords:MOOC, speech-acts, classification
Students in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) interact with each other and the course staff through online discussion forums. While discussion forums play a central role in MOOCs, they also pose a challenge for instructors. The large number of student posts makes it difficult for an instructor to know where to intervene to answer questions, resolve issues, and provide feedback. In this work, we focus on automatically predicting speech acts in MOOC forum posts. Our speech act categories describe the purpose or function of the post in the ongoing discussion. Specifically, we address three main research questions. First, we investigate whether crowdsourced workers can reliably label MOOC forum posts using our speech act definitions. Second, we investigate whether our speech acts can help predict instructor interventions and assignment completion and performance. Finally, we investigate which types of features (derived from the post content, author, and surrounding context) are most effective for predicting our different speech act categories.