LAK 17 – Paper Accepted!

Excited to have our full paper accepted for the upcoming LAK conference in Vancouver.

ABSTRACT

The facilitation of interpersonal relationships within a respectful learning climate is an important aspect of teaching practice. However, in large-scale online contexts, such as MOOCs, the number of learners and highly asynchronous nature militates against the development of a sense of belonging and dyadic trust. Given these challenges, instead of conventional instruments that reflect learners’ affective perceptions, we suggest a set of indicators that can be used to evaluate social activity in relation to the participation structure. These group-level indicators can then help teachers to gain insights into the evolution of social activity shaped by their facilitation choices. For this study, group-level indicators were derived from measuring information exchange activity between the returning MOOC posters. By conceptualizing this group as an identity-based community, we can apply exponential random graph modelling to explain the network’s structure through the configurations of direct reciprocity, generalized exchange, and the effect of participants demonstrating super-posting behavior. The findings provide novel insights into network amplification and highlight the differences between the courses employing different facilitation strategies. Direct reciprocation was characteristic of non-facilitated groups. Generalized exchange was more prominent in highly facilitated online communities with instructor’s involvement. Super-posting activity was less pronounced in networks with higher generalized exchange, and more pronounced in networks with higher direct reciprocity.

 

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