Visualize. Browse. Search. Access.
Rhumbl maps MIT OpenCourseWare

Rhumbl in action for curriculum mapping at scale

Since 2001, MIT OpenCourseWare has published course materials of MIT classes online, enabling millions of learners around the world to freely access MIT subject material. Over the past 15 years, OCW has amassed an incredible coverage of MIT classes. Learners wanted to know, just how large is OCW's coverage? What is OCW's coverage in computers, energy, environment, or any other topical area? And how are these classes connected? Rhumbl helps OCW map and visualize its course coverage. Rhumbl provides OCW users with a visual interface to browse, search and access OCW subject material.

Interactive visualization increases user engagement

The map registered a staggering average on-page time of 18 minutes, 44 seconds. This case study shows how powerful interactive visualization can be as an online engagement tool.

Creating the curriculum map

We modeled the MIT undergraduate curriculum as a graph — nodes are classes, and a directed edge between two nodes means that the first class requires the second (has a prerequisite).

On top of this base curriculum layer, we superimposed another layer of data from MIT OCW. The OCW data layer defines properties of each class — such as its OCW publication information, the topics and subtopics it addresses, etc. Visually, we color a node blue if the class is offered on MIT OCW and we display the relevant properties in a pop-up information pane.

The interactive Rhumbl map allows users to search by keyword. Classes with keywords are highlighted, along with their prerequisite relationships.

Searching by topic on interactive visualization of MIT OCW

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