As part of the Big Data subject matter for week two of the LAK11 Open Course, I made SNAPP visualizations of three forums from the the course. There were not a lot of participants overall and most of the forum interaction focused around the question originator. This exercise has shown me that the SNAPP software is promising even though the following three examples were not too informative.
Forum Visualization 1:
The forum question was, “Where are you online?”by George Siemens – Sunday, 9 January 2011, 07:18 PM. There were 50 respondents and 56 posts, nearly all single responses to the initial response. Because the point of this question was to gather information from individuals about how they can be contacted and referenced online throughout the open course and the conference, I would not expect to see many interactions among respondents.
Forum Visualization 2:
The forum questions was, “Critiques of learning analytics? What are your concerns with analytics when applied to learning and knowledge? What types of critiques and concepts should we explore/consider? I’ve started with a few quick thoughts on the topic here: http://www.learninganalytics.net/?p=101,” by George Siemens – Sunday, 16 January 2011, 09:50 AM. There were 22 respondents and 29 posts; again, nearly all the resondents were direct to the question initiator. In this case, however, the question was meant to generate conversation. There were about 1/3 more posts than there were respondents, resulting in some conversation, but still no significant interaction.
Forum Visualization 3:
The fourm question was, “Playing around with Hunch. If you created a Hunch account (week 1 activities: http://learninganalytics.net/syllabus.html#Week_1 , share your reactions with others – were the Hunch recommendations accurate? What are the educational uses of a Hunch-like tool for learning?” by George Siemens – Sunday, 9 January 2011, 08:24 PM. http://scope.bccampus.ca/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=16362. There were 65 respondents and 114 posts, a significant increase in overall posts and in multiple posts per respondent over the other two visualizations. Over 10 small conversations started on this forum outside of direct interaction with the question originator. Unfortunately, I am not very sofisticated in my SNA as of yet. But from what I understand so far, it is interesting to get a birds eye view of the concentration of interaction.
Intial impressions of SNAPP:
SNAPP, though relatively easy to use for the purpose of visualization, it is less clear how it would be used as a tool for instructors, learners, and participants in virtual environments. Yes, an instructor or facilitator would be able to create a visualization, but there is no sense of social practice given in the tool as to what kind of decisions an instructor or student would make as a result of this information. In order for SNAPP to have an effect at the class level, it would need to provide guidance as to the interpretation and reasonable actions to take. Otherwise, the value of this information remains inert with the researchers who are removed in space and time from the virtual interaction.
This was an exploratory learning activity as part of the the Learning Analytics Open Course. It is in conjunction with the 2011 Learning and Knowledge Analytics (LAK11) conference (which I presented at), organized by George Siemens of Athabasca University.