Exploring class discussions from a massive open online course (MOOC) on cartography

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

7 Scopus citations


The rise of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) has led to its application in Cartographic education. Students in these classes generate enormous amounts of text data in the form of discussion forum posts. Here we explore the topics and geographic references found in over 95,000 forum posts collected during the 2013 launch of Maps and the Geospatial Revolution, a MOOC taught on Coursera. Using Phrase Nets, topic modeling methods, and a named-entity extraction geocoding tool, we show how students describe their use of maps, what key topics drove conversations during the class, and the geography associated with placenames mentioned in posts. These results help shed light on how novices use and understand Cartography and show how places found in discussion forum text reflect the global reach of MOOCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationModern Trends in Cartography - Selected Papers of CARTOCON 2014
EditorsJan Brus, Alena Vondrakova, Vit Vozenilek
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9783319079257
StatePublished - 2015
EventInternational cartographic conference, CARTOCON 2014 - Olomouc, Czech Republic
Duration: Feb 25 2014Feb 28 2014

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography
ISSN (Print)1863-2246
ISSN (Electronic)1863-2351


OtherInternational cartographic conference, CARTOCON 2014
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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