Network analysis of university courses

Ahmad Slim, Jarred Kozlick, Gregory L. Heileman, Jeff Wigdahl, Chaouki T. Abdallah

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

26 Scopus citations


Crucial courses have a high impact on students progress at universities and ultimately on graduation rates. Detecting such courses should therefore be a major focus of decision makers at universities. Based on complex network analysis and graph theory, this paper proposes a new framework to not only detect such courses, but also quantify their cruciality. The experimental results conducted using data from the (UNM) show that the distribution of course cruciality follows a power law distribution. The results also show that the ten most crucial courses at UNM are all in mathematics. Applications of the proposed framework are extended to study the complexity of curricula within colleges, which leads to a consideration of the creation of optimal curricula. Optimal curricula along with the earned letter grades of the courses are further exploited to analyze the student progress. This work is important as it presents a robust framework to ensure the ease of flow of students through curricula with the goal of improving a university's graduation rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWWW 2014 Companion - Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on World Wide Web
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781450327459
StatePublished - Apr 7 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event23rd International Conference on World Wide Web, WWW 2014 - Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Duration: Apr 7 2014Apr 11 2014

Publication series

NameWWW 2014 Companion - Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on World Wide Web


Conference23rd International Conference on World Wide Web, WWW 2014
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of


  • Complex networks
  • Cruciality
  • Curriculium complexity
  • Longest path
  • Student progress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Software


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