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Wednesday, November 18 • 1:00pm - 1:30pm
Exploring the what, why, and how of social learning analytics in open higher education Connected Learning environments.

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Connected Learning is an emerging pedagogical framework that promotes student engagement, empowerment, and deeper learning through networked participation in open, digital environments. In higher education settings, Connected Learning practitioners tend to engage students in blogging and microblogging activities to stimulate learning through connectivity, defined as the act of linking people, information, and resources across space, time, and semiotic domains. However, one of the barriers to the advancement of Connected Learning in higher education settings is a lack of student assessment practices and protocols that align with or are relevant to the Connected Learning pedagogical approach. Traditional assessments tend to consist of written tests or examinations meant to measure course content acquisition and recall. The emphasis on a static and standardized body of information is problematic Connected Learning environments, where learning processes, networking literacies, and individualized learning outcomes are privileged over course content. Meaningful, pedagogically aligned, and logistically feasible assessments are needed to support and document Connected Learning.

As a uniquely digital form of student assessment, social learning analytics offer compelling opportunities for the documentation of Connected Learning. They capitalize on the digital traces left by social media-based learning activities to tell a story of digital interaction, participation, and knowledge construction. Social network analytics use centrality metrics to provide a real-time overview and visualization of student navigation within a social learning network. Discourse analytics that focus on the use of annotation systems (e.g. tagging, hyperlinking, mentioning) may reveal the specifics of how students navigate groups and content within the context of blogging and microblogging activities. Both types of analytics might be harnessed to provide ethical, integrated, sustainable, and scalable assessments of Connected Learning goals and objectives.

This presentation reports on a study that explores the capacity for social network and discourse analytics to address the challenge of documenting student participation in open Connected Learning spaces. In the study, these methods are used to assess student connectivity in blogging and microblogging activities executed as part of university-based Connected Learning courses. Social network and discourse analytics are evaluated for their ability to support real-time, self-, and peer-assessment while providing actionable data for faculty and students, alike. As part of an initial validation process, results of the social network and discourse analyses are compared to a student perception survey and content analysis of the same data.

avatar for Laura Gogia

Laura Gogia

Business Intelligence Liaison, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
I design and write about connected learning experiences in higher and adult education settings. I help people learn to navigate the open web for the purposes of lifelong learning, collaboration, professional development, community engagement, and fun .

Wednesday November 18, 2015 1:00pm - 1:30pm PST
Vancouver Island

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