The rise of MOOCs has expanded the landscape of Learning Analytics research considerably. Most of this research is concentrated understandably on where the richest source of data lies, in the clickstreams and other digital data trails in the learning environments themselves and has concentrated on various measures of engagement and participation. The informal networks that develop around individual MOOCs however are the subject of an increasing amount of research. Much is still not known about the effect of many such types of networks that may form in relatively organic ways around MOOCs, for example such as through Twitter. The BigEdData project is an inter-institutional initiative that aims to address a gap in the research literature by examining the shape of informal learning networks that exist in Twitter around MOOCs. In this paper we present an analysis of a Twitter dataset over a period of time containing the hashtag #MOOC. We describe how we used data analytical techniques to interrogate the data and how we contextualize and interpret these findings in light of what is currently known in the literature. There is a comparative dearth of research into what learners, practitioners and other stakeholders are saying about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as derived from large twitter datasets. This paper presents an analysis of such a dataset and works towards developing an agenda for this area of research.
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