Using Educational Data Mining to Increase Temporal Participation in Online Courses

COIL is proud to support the Using Educational Data Mining to Increase Temporal Participation in Online Courses project through our Research Initiation Grant Program.


This project is a 12-month research project intended to build an innovative dashboard for online courses. The new dashboard uses educational data mining techniques to provide personalized interventions at pivotal moments that should increase learner retention and achievement in online courses. Specifically, we will employ “longitudinal k-means clustering algorithm” to investigate learners’ temporal participation in online courses offered at Penn State and will identify pivotal moments for learners through the observation of participation patterns over time. Temporal issues are essential in Vygotsky’s developmental and educational framework, but time-factors are often ignored in the effort to encourage online participation. Our innovative dashboard will incorporate personalized scaffolds and provide timely support to increase learner temporal participation at these pivotal moments. We have conducted pilot research based on a large-scale online course offered on Canvas, which confirmed that more active temporal participation yielded better learner achievement. We now request funds to support a more rigorous design-based research to further develop a dashboard with personalized scaffolds that will maintain active temporal participation of learners. This project will (a) develop an innovative dashboard, (b) conduct empirical research to explore guidelines to increase temporal participation in online settings, and (c) support a future NSF grant proposal.


  • Hengtao Tang (PI): Doctoral Student in Learning Design, and Technology, College of Education, University Park
  • Dr. Wanli Xing (Co-PI): Assistant Professor in Educational Psychology & Leadership, College of Education, Texas Tech University
  • Dr. Kyle Peck: Professor of Education, Learning Design, & Technology Program, College of Education, University Park
  • Dr. Wei-Fan Chen: Associate Professor and Program Chair, College of Information Sciences and Technology, Wilkes-Barre
  • Dr. Roy Clariana: Professor of Education, Learning Design, and Technology Program, College of Education, University Park
  • Dr. Rick Shearer: Director of LMS Conversion, World Campus


Hengtao Tang HeadshotHengtao Tang




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