"Using Clickstream Data Mining Techniques to Understand and Support First-Generation College Students in an Online Chemistry Course"
Although online courses can provide students with a high-quality and flexible learning experience, one of the caveats is that they require high levels of self-regulation. This added hurdle may have negative consequences for first-generation college students. In order to better understand and support students’ self-regulated learning, we examined a fully online Chemistry course with high enrollment (N = 312) and a high percentage of first-generation college students (65.70%). Using students’ lecture video clickstream data, we created two indicators of self-regulated learning: lecture video completion and time management. Performing a k-means clustering on these indicators uncovered four distinct self-regulated learning patterns: (1) Early Planning, (2) Planning, (3) Procrastination, and (4) Low Engagement. Early Planning behaviors were especially important for course success—they consistently predicted higher final course grades, even after controlling for important demographic variables. Interestingly, first-generation college students classified as Early Planners achieved at similar levels as their non-first-generation peers, but first-generation students in the Low Engagement group had the lowest average grades among students. Overall, our results show that self-regulation may be an important skill for determining first-generation students’ STEM achievement, and targeting these skills may serve as a useful way to support their specific learning needs.