IEEEXplore2 - Cohesion and Roles: Network Analysis of CSCL...

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1 Cohesion and Roles: Network Analysis of CSCL Communities Reuven Aviv, Ph.D. Department of Computer Science, Open University of Israel, 16 Klausner St., Tel Aviv 61392, Israel. Tel: +972 3 646 556 E-mail: aviv@openu.ac.il Zippy Erlich, Ph.D. Department of Computer Science, Open University of Israel, 16 Klausner St., Tel Aviv 61392, Israel, Tel: +972 3 646 219 E-mail: zippy@openu.ac.il Gilad Ravid Center for Information Technology in Distance Education, Open University of Israel, 16 Klausner St., Tel Aviv 61392, Israel E-mail: gilad@openu.ac.il Abstract We provide empirical support for the assertions that high level of knowledge construction is associated with structured design and that knowledge construction is associated with cohesion and equivalence network structures. We built and analyzed two CSCL communities - one structured the other non-structured. The levels of learning processes were measured by content analysis. The social capital structure of the communities was analyzed by Social Network Analysis. The analysis revealed that the structured community developed social capital, encoded by a mesh of interlinked cliques, and that participants undertook bridging and triggering roles, and exhibited high levels of constructing knowledge. The tutor (guide) remained on the side. The non-structured community did not construct knowledge, cohesion was dull, and participants did not undertake any essential roles. 1. Introduction Gladwell [14, 10] suggested that three factors affect "social epidemics" in a community” the "Law of the Few" - few people that make a difference; the "Stickiness Factor" - making messages contagious; and the "Power of Context" - influence of the immediate environment. These factors determine the social capital relations [9], which in turn determine constructed knowledge. The structure of social capital relations can be analyzed using Social Network Analysis [24]; constructed knowledge is evaluated by Content Analysis of the transcripts of the communication [15]. Social Network Analysis (SNA) provides an insight into the existence of Gladwell’s factors in communities [12]. Certain "Laws of the Few", for example, prominence , has been observed in distance learner communities [8, 16]. Aviv assigned bridging and triggering roles to participants in online communities of learners [1]. The evolution of the "Stickiness Factor", or cohesion , has been studied [23]. Details of the "Power of Context" or the design of the activities of the community are provided through the Social Interdependence Theory of Cooperative Learning [18]. We relate to CSCL communities according to the constructivist paradigm [19]. Rafaeli argued that constructive communication is determined by its responsiveness [22]. Accordingly, we analyzed the network structures of the responsiveness relation between communities of learners in asynchronous communication. We hypothesized that the social capital structures – in
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This note was uploaded on 06/19/2011 for the course IT 2554 taught by Professor Mohammadali during the Spring '11 term at Abu Dhabi University.

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IEEEXplore2 - Cohesion and Roles: Network Analysis of CSCL...

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