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Social Media for Informal Learning: a Case of #Twitterstorians

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Citation: Kumar, P., & Gruzd, A. (2019). Social Media for Informal Learning: a Case of #Twitterstorians. In Proceedings of HICSS. Retrieved from http://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/handle/10125/59691

Abstract:
Open, online environments like social media are now a mainstay of life-long informal learning. Social media like Twitter help people gather information, share resources, and discuss with other participant-learners with similar interests. This paper seeks to test and validate the ‘learning in the wild’ coding schema in the context of discussions on Twitter, an approach first developed for studying learning communities on Reddit. The schema considers how participant-learners are leveraging social media to facilitate self-directed informal learning practices, exploratory dialogue, and communicative exchanges. We apply the coding schema on a sample of tweets (n=594) from the History Twittersphere community (#Twitterstorians) to provide a more nuanced understanding of the different kinds of discursive practices, resource exchanges, and ideas being shared and communicated outside traditional classroom settings.

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Social Media for Informal Learning: a Case of #Twitterstorians

  1. 1. Social Media for Informal Learning: a Case of #Twitterstorians Priya Kumar Anatoliy Gruzd @priyakumar613 @gruzd Social Media Lab Ryerson University The Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS-52 January 7th - 11th, 2019
  2. 2. Links •Slides: https://bit.ly/hicss2019 •Full paper in the Proceedings: https://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/ bitstream/10125/59691/0251.pdf #Twitterstorians @Gruzd 2
  3. 3. How do we make sense of the vast amount of data generated by learners, especially in the “wild”? • “Learning analytics is concerned with collecting data from learners’ actions, developing techniques to analyze these data, and making the results useful to practitioners” (Long & Siemens, 2011). • Learning analytics focuses on making sense of “big data” collected from learning management systems (LMS), MOOCs and social media. @Gruzd 3
  4. 4. Using the case of #twitterstorians, we wanted to know: 1. How are social media sites used in informal learning? 2. How are people engaging in informal learning on Twitter? 3. What are the different types of exploratory dialogue and behaviours that occur through the #twitterstorians hashtag? 4. Does Twitter facilitate different types of information and communication exchanges and discursive practices than Reddit? http://www.blogs.hss.ed.ac.uk/pubs-and-publications/2015/07/13/twitterstorians/ #Twitterstorians 4@Gruzd
  5. 5. Introducing #twitterstorians • Hashtag created in September 2007 by historian and blogger Katrina Gulliver • People can use the #twitterstorians hashtag to: • share resources and information • learn about new work and research tools • connect with other academic researchers, teachers, and students #Twitterstorians 5@Gruzd
  6. 6. Data Collection June 20 – July 20 2017 17,391 unique tweets 6,349 tweets (-RTs) 634 tweets Focus of Analysis (10% sample) Daily Posting Frequency #Twitterstorians 6@Gruzd
  7. 7. Analytic Framework: Discourse Analysis Exploratory Dialogue Schema from Ferguson et al. (2013) #Twitterstorians 7 Cue Phrase Linguistic Dialogue Example Critiques ‘However’, ‘I’m not sure’, ‘maybe’ Discussion of Resource ‘Have you read, ‘more links’ Evaluations ‘Good Example’, ‘good point’ Explanations ‘Means that’, ‘our goals’ Explicit Reasoning ‘Next step’, ‘relates to’, ‘that’s why’ Justifications ‘I mean’, ‘we learned’, ‘we observed’ Others’ Perspectives ‘Agree’, ‘here is another’ @Gruzd
  8. 8. Our ‘Learning in the Wild’ Coding Schema Code Definition 1. Explanation with Disagreement Expresses a NEGATIVE take on the content of the previous posts by adding new ideas or facts to discussion thread. 2. Explanation with Agreement Expresses a POSITIVE take on the content of the previous posts by adding new ideas or facts to discussion thread. 3. Explanation with Neutral Presentation Expresses a NEUTRAL explanation/judgment/reasoning/etc. with neither negative nor positive reference to the content of the previous posts, nor necessarily any reference to previous posts. 4. Socializing with Negative Intent Socializing that expresses negative affect through tone, words, insults, expletives intended as abusive. 5. Socializing with Positive Intent Socializing that expresses positive affect tone, praise, humor, irony intended in a positive way. 6. Information Seeking Postings asking questions or soliciting opinions, resources, etc. (‘Does anyone know …?’ ‘How does this work?’). This does not include questions answered rhetorically within the post, e.g., if a question is asked and answered. 7. Providing Resources Postings that include direct reference to a URL, book, article, etc.; postings that call upon a well-known theory or the name of a well-known figure. 8. Rules and Norms Postings on topics such as what is the appropriate for a particular discussion, hashtagging conversations, discussing what language is appropriate to use, how to back up claims by using resources, etc. #Twitterstorians 8@Gruzd
  9. 9. Example: Code 1 – Explanation with Disagreement #Twitterstorians 9 Definition Linguistic Dialogue Example Expresses a NEGATIVE take on the content of the previous posts by adding new ideas or facts to discussion thread. ‘But’, ‘I disagree’, ‘not sure’, ‘not exactly’ with explanation/ judgment/ reasoning/ etc. @Gruzd
  10. 10. Code 2 – Explanation with Agreement #Twitterstorians 10 Definition Linguistic Dialogue Example Expresses a POSITIVE take on the content of the previous posts by adding new ideas or facts to discussion thread. ‘Indeed’, ‘also’, ‘I agree’, with explanation/ judgment/ reasoning/ etc. @Gruzd
  11. 11. Code 3 – Explanation w/ Neutral Presentation #Twitterstorians 11 Definition Linguistic Dialogue Example Expresses a NEUTRAL explanation/judgment/reasoning/etc. with neither negative nor positive reference to the content of the previous posts, nor necessarily any reference to previous posts. ‘I can understand’, ‘interesting’, ‘depends on…’ or statement responses. @Gruzd
  12. 12. Code 4 – Socializing w/ Negative Intent #Twitterstorians 12 Definition Linguistic Dialogue Example Socializing that expresses negative affect through tone, words, insults, intended as abusive. ‘no’, ‘you’re an idiot’, ‘this has been explained multiple times’ @Gruzd
  13. 13. Code 5 – Socializing w/ Positive Intent #Twitterstorians 13 Definition Linguistic Dialogue Example Socializing that expresses positive affect tone, words, praise, humor, irony intended in a positive way. ‘thanks’, ‘great feedback’, ‘you’re correct’ @Gruzd
  14. 14. Code 6 – Information Seeking #Twitterstorians 14 Definition Linguistic Dialogue Example Postings asking questions or soliciting opinions, resources, etc. (‘Does anyone know …?’ ‘How does this work?’). This does not include questions answered rhetorically within the post, e.g., if a question is asked and answered. ‘does anyone know’, ‘can anyone explain’ @Gruzd
  15. 15. Code 7 – Providing Resources #Twitterstorians 15 Definition Linguistic Dialogue Example Postings that include direct reference to a URL, book, article, etc.; postings that call upon a well- known theory or the name of a well-known figure. Link to resource copied to post (book, URL, article, audio/video file). Referencing theory/theorists, scholar or public work (Einstein, Newton, Freud). @Gruzd
  16. 16. Code 8 – Rules and Norms #Twitterstorians 16 Definition Linguistic Dialogue Example Postings on topics such as what is the appropriate hashtag for a particular discussion, what language is appropriate to use, how to back up claims by using resources, etc. ‘See/don’t forget hashtag links’, ‘this post doesn’t belong here’, acknowledging bots. @Gruzd
  17. 17. RQ1: What types of information and communication exchanges and discursive practices present on Twitter? 17 0% 1% 1% 4% 12% 17% 17% 38% Socializing Negative Intent Explanation with Disagreement Explanation with Agreement Norms and Rules Explanation with Neutral Presentation Socializing Positive Intent Information Seeking Providing Resources % of tweets based on 10% sample | n=634
  18. 18. RQ2: Does Twitter facilitate different types of information and communication exchanges and discursive practices than Reddit? Twitter #twitterstorians Reddit r/AskHistorians/
  19. 19. RQ2: Does Twitter facilitate different types of information and communication exchanges and discursive practices than Reddit? 19 0% 1% 1% 4% 12% 17% 17% 38% 0% 6% 4% 5% 48% 17% 22% 21% Socializing Negative Intent Explanation with Disagreement Explanation with Agreement Norms and Rules Explanation with Neutral Presentation Socializing Positive Intent Information Seeking Providing Resources Reddit Twitter
  20. 20. Future Work • Apply machine learning techniques to automate the coding process • Extend to other social media datasets • Facebook, YouTube • LinkedIn, ResearchGate #Twitterstorians 20@Gruzd
  21. 21. Social Media for Informal Learning: a Case of #Twitterstorians Priya Kumar Anatoliy Gruzd @priyakumar613 @gruzd Social Media Lab Ryerson University The Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS-52 January 7th - 11th, 2019

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