Using social network analysis to evaluate participation in online discussions in a virtual classroom

Cheong, F and Corbitt, B 2009, 'Using social network analysis to evaluate participation in online discussions in a virtual classroom', in H. Scheepers and M. Davern (ed.) Proceedings of the 20th Australasian Conference on Information Systems, Melbourne, Australia, 2-4 December 2009, pp. 523-531.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

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Title Using social network analysis to evaluate participation in online discussions in a virtual classroom
Author(s) Cheong, F
Corbitt, B
Year 2009
Conference name 20th Australasian Conference on Information Systems
Conference location Melbourne, Australia
Conference dates 2-4 December 2009
Proceedings title Proceedings of the 20th Australasian Conference on Information Systems
Editor(s) H. Scheepers
M. Davern
Publisher Monash University
Place of publication Australia
Start page 523
End page 531
Total pages 9
Abstract Online discussions are popular in virtual classrooms since they provide students with opportunities for more effective interactions than possible in traditional classrooms. However, grading online discussions is well-known to be a time-consuming task. In this paper, we propose a method for automating the partial grading of online discussions using social network analysis techniques. In particular, we propose to use a centrality index, which reflects the number of responses to a student's messages as a proxy measure to evaluate the quality of students' posts and hence determine participation levels in discussions. The method was tested for grading discussion board assignments in a virtual class from an online graduate school. Although, the method was found to perform quite well in a range of situations, its use is advocated mainly as a grading aid because in certain conditions inaccurate grades may result. Furthermore, use of the tool can also be envisaged for improving performance levels in online discussions because of its potential as facilitation and motivational aids.
Subjects Information Systems Management
Keyword(s) social network analysis
online discussion
asynchronous communication
constructivism
social learning
virtual classroom
Copyright notice Cheong & Corbitt © 2009.
ISBN 978-0-646-52570-9
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