The second iteration of the Metadata MOOC launches tomorrow! You may recall that I wrote several posts after the first iteration wrapped up, presenting some descriptive stats from the course. I plan to do the same with the second iteration, of course, because I’m a geek and I love almost nothing more than a big dataset.

But that’s 8 weeks away. So to keep myself entertained in the meantime, I thought I could make some predictions about how student engagement in the course will play out over the next 8 weeks. My null hypothesis is that student engagement in the second round of the course will play out the same as the first round. By which I mean, I predict that the percentage of active students in the course will decline at the same rate in round 2 as it did in round 1.

I have no reason to think this will be the case, of course. But I also have no data to support a hypothesis of student engagement playing out in some specific different way. But that’s why they call it a null hypothesis.

As of today, the number of Total Registered Students = 10,824. So here are my predictions about the number of Total Active Students we’ll see at the end of each week throughout the course:

Week Total Active Students Active Students Last Week
1 4104 4102
2 5011 3227
3 5294 2567
4 5400 1966
5 5431 1645
6 5471 1541
7 5499 1346
8 5536 1306

And I predict that 556 students will earn a Statement of Accomplishment.

In 8 weeks, we’ll see what the actual numbers are. And if they’re significantly different from these, then we’ll have something worth investigating.

On a slightly different note, I would like to conclude by saying that the number of registered students for round 2 is 39% of what it was for round 1. Which is a lot fewer students, to be sure, but still a pretty respectable percentage. I’m quite happy with this.

I’m hoping that fewer students translates to fewer discussion threads, and therefore my TAs and I being better able to keep on top of and contribute to the discussions. Of course, fewer students might also mean fewer students answering other students’ questions… which would require my TAs and I to contribute more to the discussions. On the other hand, fewer discussion threads might just mean fewer discussion threads, and the same percentage of students answering other students’ questions. Of course, all of these are empirical questions that we can investigate in 8 weeks.