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  1. 1. Using Information and Communications Technology to Advance a Participatory Culture: A Study from a Higher Education Context Anthony P. Cocciolo Program in Communication, Computing and Technology in Education Teachers College, Columbia University April 22, 2009
  2. 2. Background: The Social Context • Situated within a continuum interested in using ICTs for positive social gains. • New approach to the WWW after dot com collapse ▫ Web 2.0 movement (O„Reilly, 2005) • Academic response to understand what these changes meant and future possibilities. ▫ Participatory culture (Jenkins, 2006)
  3. 3. Background: The Personal Context • How can using these design approach used in a particular organizational context (e.g., higher education) impact the online as well as the offline community? • Comparison to other academic technologies (e.g., Learning Management System) • Interested in systematic and structural understandings of the inner-workings of participatory cultures made possible by Web 2.0. • This study can be considered a case of designing and using a Web 2.0 technology in a higher education environment with the goal of advancing a participatory culture, and the extent to which this project made possible this goal.
  4. 4. Research Questions • How can Web 2.0 technologies be used to advance a participatory culture? • How does the introduction of a Web 2.0 technology into a learning community impact the culture of learning? • How does the subculture that gets developed in the Web 2.0 environment impact the overall organizational culture?
  5. 5. Hypotheses (1) • Hypothesis 1: Communication Across Structures: The Web 2.0 environment prompted the sharing of materials amongst members of the community that were not formally grouped together by institutional structures, such as programs, to a higher degree than people within the same program. • Hypothesis 2: Alternative Discursive Spaces The Web 2.0 technology promoted the sharing of knowledge that diverged from typical academic discourse within a graduate school of education.
  6. 6. Hypotheses (2) • Hypothesis 3: Interpersonal Networks Users were prompted to join the Web 2.0 system because of interpersonal connections (e.g., professor, friend or colleague) at a higher degree than non-interpersonal sources (e.g., advertisement, website, or other source). • Hypothesis 4: Social Influence On average, users view the works of others before deciding to contribute themselves.
  7. 7. Data Overview • September 6, 2006 to September 6, 2008 • Overall ▫ 2 million+ items downloaded or item description pages viewed • At Teachers College ▫ ~109K items were downloaded or the item description page was viewed by N = 2,580 faculty, students, or staff
  8. 8. Methods • Knowledge Sharing Networks (Hypothesis 1) ▫ Social Network Analysis • Network Content Semantics (Hypothesis 2) ▫ Latent Semantic Analysis • Network Influences ▫ Survey (Hypothesis 3) ▫ t-test and descriptive stats of user history (Hypothesis 4)
  9. 9. Results- Knowledge Sharing Networks (1) Time Segment Number of Average Size Std. Dev. Of Cliques of Clique Clique Size 1 280 3.83 1.07 2 291 3.88 1.08 3 329 4.03 1.20 4 324 3.90 1.40 5 293 3.86 1.16 6 227 3.96 1.16
  10. 10. Results- Knowledge Sharing Networks (2) 350 300 250 at least one person in 200 a different program 150 all in the same program 100 50 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
  11. 11. Results – Network Content Semantics Academic Journal in field of Web 2.0 System Education
  12. 12. Results – Network Content Semantics • Ontologies are dissimilar  Jaccard similarity coefficient of .18 (scale from 0 to 1, 1 is complete similarity)
  13. 13. Results- Network Influencers Response Totals From a friend or colleague 359 From a professor or instructor 390 From a library staff member 442 From a library advertisement 79 From the library website 396 Alumni outreach 10 Web search 32
  14. 14. Results- Network Influencers Response Totals From a friend or colleague 359 From a professor or instructor 390 From a library staff member 442 From a library advertisement 79 From the library website 396 Alumni outreach 10 Web search 32
  15. 15. Results- Network Influencers • For the N=670 users who contributed something to PocketKnowledge during this time, on average each of these people viewed 3.24 items before deciding to contribute (with a standard deviation of 10.98). This indicates that on average most users had to view between three and four items from one or more other users before deciding to contribute themselves.
  16. 16. Results- Network Influencers H0: mean views before first contribution = 0 Ha: mean views before first contribution > 0 one-sided, one-sample t-test, where t(669) = 7.651, p < .001. We can reject the null hypothesis, and conclude that the mean number of views before deciding to contribute is greater than zero. Hence, our fourth hypothesis proves true: on average, users viewed the works of others first before deciding to contribute themselves.
  17. 17. Findings and Interpretations (1) • Evidence that the Web 2.0 technology provided a space for a participatory subculture to form. • However, that participatory sub-culture is relatively small (~11% become a member of a knowledge sharing network and ~26% contribute) ▫ YouTube: 0.12% of usage is user contribution to YouTube (University of Calgary).
  18. 18. Findings and Interpretations (2) • How do Web 2.0 technologies make participatory culture possible? ▫ Be able to connect with people across disciplinary lines and organizational structures (e.g., academic programs) (hypothesis 1) ▫ Provide a place where it is acceptable to “not know” and to be able to figure things out (hypothesis 2).  More informal, less academic, and more local ▫ Continues to be rooted in interpersonal connections (hypothesis 3) ▫ Social influence matters, contribution is correlated with consumption of community members work first. (hypothesis 4)
  19. 19. Findings and Interpretations (3) Web 2.0 technologies promote the formation of participatory cultures by making the cultural, intellectual, and creative work of a community visible, and that visibility in-turn encourages individuals to participate (hypothesis 4) • What is the impact on the overall culture? ▫ Changes organizational access policy, effectively becoming more open.
  20. 20. Implications • ICTs and Cultural Change • Higher-Education Policy • Teaching and Learning • Design of Online Environments • Academic Libraries • K-12 Educational Context • Methodological Implications
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