Adding insights to the Open edX platform

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One of the great values of the Massive open online courses approach is the possibility to reach thousands of students simultaneously.

This also poses great challenges in terms of business intelligence, to be able to understand not only the demographics but also the behavior and performance of a large population of learners in your courses.

edX has always been concerned about the data analytics capabilities of the Open edX platform, and a great deal of engineering at edX has been devoted to design and build the edX insights application, which allows to compute and display a very detailed and visual representation of the learners population, its level of engagement, and its performance, both aggregated per course and also per learner.

The Open edX insights platform is an additional application that runs next to the Open edX platform, and it’s mainly composed of three components:

  • The analytics API.
  • The analytics pipeline.
  • The edX insights dashboards application.

The analytics API

This is an extension of the edX platform that allows to send the tracking logs gathered during the learner’s activity on the site to the analytics pipeline.

The analytics pipeline

This set of processes (tasks) can be run either using a Hadoop – Hive cluster, or using Amazon’s Elastic map reduce services.
Depending on how frequently these data analytics tasks are run, your insights information will be more or less up to date.
If the volume of active users and thus the volume of generated logs permits it, it is recommended to run all the analytics tasks at least once a week, to have a clearer view of the behavior and performance of an active MOOC.
The information resulting from running these tasks will be stored in a database for the edX insights application to read and display.

The edX insights dashboards application

This is the last component, in charge of accessing the preprocessed data and displaying it in a set of very useful and visually attractive dashboards.

at eduNEXT, we specialize in the Open edX platforms and provide professional services to cover a wide range of needs for academic institutions or enterprises using Open edX.
We have worked for years in Strengthening the data analytics capacity of edX, being the developers of the first real-time tracking logs application for edX, and the first to incorporate edX insghts in 2017, in a software as a service delivery model to increase flexibility and optimize costs.

We have delivered the edX insights application to several customers worldwide, running in Amazon’s AWS, on a native hive-hadoop cluster, or using Amazon’s EMR (Elastic Map Reduce) services, also we have delivered it for private infrastructures and for Open edX installations in Microsoft Azure.

One key aspect of edX insights is the capacity ro run the data processing tasks in a predictable and stable way. This is a significant engineering challenge, that usually takes a lot of support resource, but in order to tackle it more efficiently, eduNEXT developed its own tasks manager that takes care of running the operations.

Contact us to get a complimentary consultancy session about edX insights and the best way to empower your Open edX platform with the latest data analytics capabilities.

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