Exploring the Relationship Between Clout and Cognitive Processing in MOOC Discussion Forums

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British Journal of Educational Technology


The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between clout and cognitive processing in massive open online course (MOOC) discussion forum posts. Cognitive processing, a category variable generated by the automated text analysis tool, Linguistic Inquiry Word Count (LIWC), is made up of six sub-scores (insight, causation, discrepancy, tentativeness, certainty and differentiation). Clout is a nontransparent summary variable in LIWC that can be used to understand the level of confidence conveyed in the text. Because clout is nontransparent, we do not know the algorithm used to calculate its value. To better understand this variable, this study examined cognitive processing alongside clout. In this study, a series of linear mixed models were fitted to evaluate, after controlling for gender, degree and type of post, if the focal relationship between each sub-score of cognitive processing as the predictor variables and clout as the dependent variable changed across courses with different pacing (self-paced or instructor-paced). Next, the focal relationship between each predictor and clout was examined with or without regard to pacing. Findings showed words classified as showing discrepancy, certainty or differentiation were negatively associated with clout scores.


This article was published as Early View on October 2, 2020 by the British Journal of Educational Technology

Original Publication Citation

Moore, R.L., Yen, C-J., Powers, F.E. (2020). Exploring the relationship between clout and cognitive processing in MOOC discussion forums. British Journal of Educational Technology. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.13033


0000-0002-5645-9297 (Moore), 0000-0003-1405-6753 (Powers)