16 SES 11, ICT and Learning Communities
This paper presents a blended learning experience which combines face to face classes with virtual sessions. As far as we know, interactive relationships in elearning can influence the process and quality of knowledge building. We also agree with the belief that a combination of structural and content analysis of online discussions transcripts offers a richer understanding of social and cognitive aspects of learning occurred in online discussions (Zhu, 2006). The aim of this study is to empirically investigate the relationships between network structures and social knowledge building in an asynchronous writing environment through discussion forums in a learning management system (LMS). The quality of the knowledge construction process is evaluated through content analysis, and the network structures are analyzed using a social network analysis of the response relations among participants during online discussions. After studying several tools and models, we based on Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2001) who developed a comprehensive framework as an online learning research tool. This is a tool for analyzing the content of discussion forum transcripts. The framework consisted of three elements: social, cognitive, and teaching presence, as well as categories and indicators to define each presence and to guide the coding of transcripts. Social presence is described as the ability to project one’s self and establish personal and purposeful relationships. The three main aspects of social presence are effective communication, open communication and group cohesion. Cognitive presence is defined as the exploration, construction, resolution and confirmation of understanding through collaboration and reflection in a community of inquiry. Teaching presence has three categories design, facilitation and direct instruction (Garrison, 2007). This model has a solid theoretical framework and good results for reliability and validity. “In general, the aim of content analysis is to reveal information that is not situated at the surface of the transcripts. In-depth understanding of the online discussions is needed to be able to provide convincing evidence about the learning and the knowledge construction that is taking place” (De Wever, Schellens, Valcke, & Van Keer, 2006).
This research analyzes the interactions that occur in a blended learning experience in higher education. Thus, we analyzed how 6 groups developed collaborative learning social networks when participants worked together on 4 activities. We want to examine types of interaction during the online discussion: What types of interaction occurred in asynchronous online discussions?
Study objectives are to discover the structural characteristics as a whole in each of the social networks created so we perform a social network analysis (SNA) and to describe the relationships of interactions with regard to social, cognitive and teaching presence by a content analysis (CA).
De Wever, B., Schellens, T., Valcke, M. & Van Keer, H. (2006). Content analysis schemes to analyze transcripts of online asynchronous discussion groups; A review. Computers & Education, 46, 6-28. Garrison, D. (2007). Online Community of Inquiry Review: Social, Cognitive, and Teaching Presence Issues. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 11 (1), 61-72. Garrison, D.R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2001). Critical thinking, cognitive presence, and computer conferencing in distance education. American Journal of Distance Education, 15(1), 7–23. Schalk A. E., Marcelo C. (2010). Análisis del discurso asíncrono en la calidad de los aprendizajes esperados. Comunicar, 35(18), 131-139. Tirado, R., Hernando, A. & Aguaded, I. (2012). The effect of centralization and cohesion on the social construction of knowledge in discussion forums. Interactive Learning Environments, 1-24. Wang, Y., & Li, X. (2007). Social network analysis of interaction in online learning communities. In Seventh IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (pp. 699–700). ICALT. Zhu, E. (2006). Interaction and cognitive engagement: An analysis of four asynchronous online discussions. Instructional Science, 34, 451–480.
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