How our algorithms identify at-risk students, powering automated and human interventions

Since the beginning of 2016, Coursera has been rapidly expanding into the online degree space to give working professionals the opportunity to earn credentials from the world’s top universities. These programs allow a population of busy and geographically dispersed students to work toward valuable degrees with much greater flexibility at a more affordable price point.

One of the challenges of executing on this ambitious mission is the need to maintain a high level of support for all students in the program. This includes facilitating university admins in supporting a much larger cohort of students than that found in the traditional…


Coursera’s algorithms guide and motivate to give learners a leg up — plus do what only machines can

Learning isn’t always easy. Coursera learners challenge themselves to master new concepts and demonstrate skill development by tackling lectures, readings, exams, and assignments. The majority of online learners traverse these learning journeys without in-person guidance or support, and for many the challenges prove substantial. In studying online course dropouts, we found two major categories.

The blue circle above highlights dropouts resulting from a specific pain point in the course (in this case, a programming assignment in the second week). This one assignment…

Alan Hickey

Data Scientist at Coursera, Learning Analytics

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