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Use of Visual AnalysisTo Investigate NetworkedLearning in Online ForumsRebecca FergusonThe Open University, UK
Asynchronous dialogue
What are we missing?“Thanks for your support.I thought the first draftwent beyond the groupsdiscussion. There wastoo much ...
Missing the visual elements
Visual elements can be crucial
Visual analysis                  Gunther Kress &                  Theo van Leeuwen                  Reading Images        ...
Data collection and analysisText – Originals – ImagesHow do these learners build knowledge together?
Creating cohesive dialogue
Understanding challengesNegotiating conflict
Help us to analyse:•Constructing arguments•Framing debate•Avoiding conflict•Comparing opinions•Prioritising ideas•Making c...
Visual analysis to investigate networked learning in online forums
Visual analysis to investigate networked learning in online forums
Visual analysis to investigate networked learning in online forums
Visual analysis to investigate networked learning in online forums
Visual analysis to investigate networked learning in online forums
Visual analysis to investigate networked learning in online forums
Visual analysis to investigate networked learning in online forums
Visual analysis to investigate networked learning in online forums
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Visual analysis to investigate networked learning in online forums

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Presentation from Networked Learning conference, Maastricht, April 2012. You can download the full paper at http://oro.open.ac.uk/33500/

Asynchronous dialogue, like written text, is typically both verbal and visual, with much of its meaning carried by a range of visual features, including layout and typographical elements. These aspects of forum data require analysis of the composition of the dialogue alongside its content. In the case of such composite texts, with meanings realised through different semiotic codes, visual and verbal elements interact and should be analysed as an integrated whole. This semiotic approach draws attention to the syntax of images as a source of meaning and to the structuring principles that enable viewers to make sense of the layout of text and images. These principles include salience, frames, vectors and reading paths.

This presentation demonstrates ways in which analysis that makes use of these structuring principles can increase understanding of online exchanges between learners. It takes as an exemplar a series of forum postings that were shared in the formal setting of an online course at the UK’s Open University. It shows that the construction of knowledge in an online forum is heavily reliant on visual elements of the online interaction, and that a focus on words alone does not make it clear either how this construction takes place or why it fails to take place on some occasions. Visual analysis shows that groups of learners use affordances of forum software to increase the salience of some elements of the dialogue and to increase the coherence of their discussion.

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Visual analysis to investigate networked learning in online forums

  1. 1. Use of Visual AnalysisTo Investigate NetworkedLearning in Online ForumsRebecca FergusonThe Open University, UK
  2. 2. Asynchronous dialogue
  3. 3. What are we missing?“Thanks for your support.I thought the first draftwent beyond the groupsdiscussion. There wastoo much of my owninterpretation going on.”
  4. 4. Missing the visual elements
  5. 5. Visual elements can be crucial
  6. 6. Visual analysis Gunther Kress & Theo van Leeuwen Reading Images (second edition, 2006) Routledge
  7. 7. Data collection and analysisText – Originals – ImagesHow do these learners build knowledge together?
  8. 8. Creating cohesive dialogue
  9. 9. Understanding challengesNegotiating conflict
  10. 10. Help us to analyse:•Constructing arguments•Framing debate•Avoiding conflict•Comparing opinions•Prioritising ideas•Making connections•Linking non-adjacent posts•Building conversations

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