Public opinion on OER and MOOCs: A sentiment analysis of Twitter data

Ishan Sudeera Abeywardena
Wawasan Open University
Penang, Malaysia

The open educational resources (OER) movement has been in existence since 2002. It has gained significant momentum recently with a global effort culminating in the 2012 Paris OER declaration. However, the purist definition of OER has become blurred since then, morphing into massive open online courses (MOOCs). Even though OER are a significant part of the MOOC movement, it might not be a defining one. However, this has not yet been fully verified with respect to the opinions of the general public who are the main stakeholders of both these movements. To answer this question, this paper attempts to explore public opinion and perceptions regarding OER and MOOCs, and their complementary roles. A text mining approach is being used to analyse raw Twitter data in the OER and MOOC domains within the past four years. Sentiment analysis is applied to the data to understand how public perceptions have changed during this time period. The major contribution of this paper is a chronology of public views on OER and MOOCs. Through this, a roadmap can be identified for future research and development based on public demand. This allows both the movements to tailor their efforts to give the public what they want. This is the major advantage of the preliminary findings presented.