Fostering collaboration iamcr_2010
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  • This is a graph of the relationships that existed prior to ISDT. Respondents are indicated by black nodes, while non-respondents are gray. Students are circles, faculty are squares, and staff are diamonds. One faculty and one student were outliers, and each reported that they knew almost all the other respondents.
  • If we hide the relationships of these two outliers it is easier to get a sense of the pre-ISDT network. Although most respondents knew at least one other participant, this is a relatively sparse, unconnected network. Most of the relationships are among faculty and staff, who are established scholars and activists in this field.
  • Moving on to the state of these relationships approximately one year later, we see that ISDT did indeed catalyze new interactions. This next graph shows what we termed “active relationships,” or relationships characterized by purposeful communication such as phone calls and emails. The highest number of nominations, or out degree, is 27 relationships, while the most contacted nominee has 9 active contacts.
  • Even more striking is the network of “passive awareness” that now exists among these participants. These are relationships characterized by Twitter following, Facebook friendship, and blog subscriptions. This monitoring or scanning allows people to maintain contact without specific, directed interaction. The maximum number of nominations in this case is 75, while the most visible nominee has 19 followers or watchers.
  • The second research question addressed the professional and scholarly outcomes of these relationships, which this graph illustrates. Here, active research projects are indicated by red edges, research in planning is indicated by orange edges, and other active projects are indicated by blue edges. There are 112 research relationships among 49 ISDT participants, and 35 of these relationships support active research projects. A further 75 relationships support other types of active projects.
  • The third research question aimed to address the role of social media in maintaining ISDT relationships. This table shows zero-order correlations among social media preferences and some social network metrics. These suggest that certain media play complementary roles in maintaining ISDT relationships. Twitter use, for example, is significantly correlated with blogs, social network sites, web forums, and instant messaging. Interestingly, there was only one correlation between the media preference and a network structural measure, in that social network site use was positively correlated with measures of centrality. In social network analysis, centrality is a measure of importance, with more central nodes playing a larger role in connecting the overall network.
  • To further evaluate the relationships among preferences for particular social media and structural outcomes within the ISDT network, a series of linear regression models were created. Betweenness centrality was chosen as the dependent variable since betweenness measures the linking role among participants. A high betweenness score suggests influence over the information or activities that flow among participants. Given the relatively small size of the sample, each medium was entered into a separate model, along with dummy-coded control variables of sex and status (student, faculty, staff). These models are summarized here. Only the email model and the social network site model exhibit statistically significant relationships to betweenness centrality among the participants. This interesting finding suggests that both active and passive communications modes facilitate the “broker” function in the network.

Fostering collaboration iamcr_2010 Fostering collaboration iamcr_2010 Presentation Transcript

  • Fostering Collaboration: Social Media and International Relationships
    Sharon Strover, Derek Lackaff, Chris McConnell
    University of Texas at Austin
    INESC, University of Porto
  • UT Austin | Portugal Program
    Portugal crafts agreements with US universities in select domains
    2007: UT Austin | Portugal Program in Digital Media begins
    Development of joint Ph.D. program, research collaborations, coursework, and internships
  • International School for Digital Transformation (ISDT)
    Discuss the process and prospects of using new technologies to enhance civil society, governance and social inclusion
    Week-long residential program augmented with social media tools
    77 faculty, students, and activists from 15 countries
  • Social Media and Social Capital
    Ellison et al. (2007): bridging capital
    Wellman (2001): extending patterns
    Sessions (2010): f2f stimulates online communication
    Goodfellow(2005), Haythornthwaite (2000): mediation challenges
    Laat et al. (2007): mandates and incentives for interaction
    Wagner & Leydesdorff (2005):”supernodes” and authorship networks
  • Research Questions
    Does participating in an international, intensive, residential intervention aimed at cultivating peer-to-peer relationships yield a social network characterized by enduring and increased numbers of connections?
    What types of research-related relationships are produced by the intervention?
    What is the role of social media in creating and maintaining research relationships?
  • Research Implementation
    Online survey
    Network metrics: relationship matrix
    Activities and types
    Social media metrics
    51/77 respondents
  • Conclusions
    Participants were positioned to benefit – and did see increase in social capital
    Both active and passive media contribute to social capital outcomes
    ISDT appears to have positive impact on research
    Limitations in design – unable to evaluate unique contributions of face-to-face and social media platforms
  • Fostering Collaboration: Social Media and International Relationships
    Sharon Strover, Derek Lackaff, Chris McConnell
    University of Texas at Austin
    INESC, University of Porto