«Does size matters?»


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Poster for EdMedia2011 - Lisbon «Does size matters? A pilot study on network types created in a Learning Management System»
Patrícia Fidalgo & João Correia de Freitas

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«Does size matters?»

  1. 1. Does size matters? A pilot study on network types created in a Learning Management System Patrícia Fidalgo(1) ,João Correia de Freitas(1) (1) Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade Nova de LisboaIntroduction 6. Compare obtained results with those of a the Figure 1 shows a ‘star’ pattern, the most common Conclusions previous pilot study also performed during the network pattern found in the learning forums.This poster reports on the early findings of a academic year of 2009/2010, in the same Institution, The size of the courses doesn’t appear tosecond pilot study conducted on a Learning with three other courses (c.f. Fidalgo & Freitas, 2010) influence the kind of networks patterns createdManagement System (Moodle) of a private clarifying if there was an evolution of the patterns of within the learning forums despite a newInstitution of Higher Education in Portugal. We the learning networks with the change of size. network pattern (‘line’) have been found in fewwant to analyze the type of social networkscreated by students and teachers in the forums of this second study.learning forums of Moodle. Social Network Findings The results we obtained are consistent withAnalysis techniques using UCINET were used to We found that none of the eight learning forums had those of the first study where we establishedexamine the differences between social the participation of all the students. The number of that “some of the explanations to understandnetworks of a small, a medium and a large size isolated actors is fewer when compared to our first these results can be found in the contextcourses. pilot study using smaller size courses, especially in the variables in which are embedded the courses learning forums of course C (the largest one). The and their participants” (Fidalgo & Freitas, 2010, number of isolated actors in the courses A and B (small p. 4). 2nd Pilot Study to 3 courses taught online and medium size) was high as it was in the forums of (small, medium & large size) in a Portuguese The findings also suggest the need for more private Higher Education Institution in the the same size courses analyzed in the first study. academic year 2009/2010 teacher and student’s training in Moodle communication tools. Nevertheless, from the Students who participated in the forums interacted very little with each other leading The courses had 15, 36 and 320 to the creation few subgroups (cliques). The largest course had cliques in its three forums and was the only, among all forums, who had a clique of 3 actors first study to the second one there seems to be students and belonged to graduated studies. The object of an evolution regarding the use of the learning analysis were the 8 learning forums in a more effective way. Indeed, in the forums created by teachers in As regards to density, values were low and ranged between 0 and 0,682 (value Moodle measured in density strength of the first forum of the largest course). The medium seize Figure 1: The most common networked pattern first semester some of the forums were used for course exhibited the lower values of density talk and strength founded in the learning forums , the ‘star’ pattern purposes for which they were not originally The following measures of centrality analyzed in the UCINET: intended (eg. as a place for answering technical degree, closeness and The centralization index of the forums ranged between 0% and 24,59%, with the higher Comparison between the two pilot questions or to deliver assignments) whereas in betweenness (Freeman). percentages, once again, in one of the forums of the largest course Cohesion (density) and subgroups (cliques) was also measured studies: the second semester they were used to discuss matters related to the syllabus of the courses. Comparing the two pilot studies – this one with The betweenness mean in the learning forums was low and ranged from 0% to 4,76 This may indicate that with the increasing (smallest course) the one we made in the academic year of knowledge in distance on-line education 2009/2010 (one in the first and the other on theThe Study second semester) – we found that: methods and the use of Moodle the participantsThe main objectives of the study are: Regarding the closeness mean values, the smallest course had the higher values of may also increase in numbers. inCloseness and outCloseness while the higher values of inFarness and outFarness were found in the forums of the largest course forums. • The courses of the second study had less1. Revisit the learning forums of each course References learning forums and were used exclusively in through SNA techniques; Fidalgo, P., & Freitas, J. C. D. (2010). Análise de redes sociais The most common networked pattern founded in the learning forums was the ‘star’ relation to the syllabus of the courses while in em Learning Management Systems: um estudo exploratório. I pattern , regardless the number of network participants. In this type of pattern and2. Apply SNA techniques, such as the according to Hanneman & Ridlle (2005) the actor who occupies the central position in the ‘star’ has more opportunities and options than others. Its structural position allows the first study some of the forums were Encontro Internacional TIC e Educação (TICEduca 2010) (p. centrality, cohesion and subgroups him, for example, greater exchange and sharing of resources. created and used as help forums or as a way 53). Lisboa. indicators, to the courses’ forums, using to deliver assignments; Hanneman, R. A., & Riddle, M. (2005). Introduction to Social UCINET software; We also found few examples of another network Network Methods. Introduction to Social Network Methods • Although the ‘star’ pattern was the most (on-line., p. 322). California, USA. pattern, the ‘line’ network. According to Hanneman &3. Discover relationships patterns created common one found in the two studies it was The authors: Ridlle (2005) in this kind of pattern the actors at the within the learning forums; more frequent in the forums of the first study; Patrícia Fidalgo: pfidalgo@fct.unl.pt end of the line may be at a structural disadvantage4. Perform a comparison between the results while all others are, apparently, equal (it’s not always • Different size courses didn’t show significant Skype: pfidalgo1 Twitter: pfidalgo1 obtained in each of the three courses; that simple depending on the type of interaction new kind of networks patterns created within João Correia de Freitas: jcf@fct.unl.pt5. Assess the influence of size of the course in and/or resources exchanged over the network) the learning forums in the two studies, Available here: http://www.slideshare.net/pfidalgo1/poster- although a new network pattern (‘line’) being edmediafinal the types of relationship patterns because they are more central to the structure having established in each course; a higher degree or more connections. found in very few forums of the second study.
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