16 SES 12, Online Learning
There is a growing number of universities and other educational institutions that are using different kinds of virtual learning environments (VLEs) or online learning platforms (such as Moodle, Blackboard, Sakai) to deliver their educational content, especially through online courses. These online courses can be very diverse (according to the teachers' lessons plans, subjects of the courses, learning objectives, etc.) therefore no general characterization of “typical course” can most likely be made. But there is at least one aspect of online courses that for sure plays an important role in learning of students. This crucial aspect of students' online learning is interpersonal communication and participation in discussion forums.
Even though there exists plenty of research studies focused on the interactions between the participants of the online forums, these studies use predominantly traditional research methods such as surveys, questionnaires, interviews, observations, etc. (De Laat, 2007; Rabbany, 2013) Of course traditional methods are very important for our current understanding of this topic, but often these methods are not able to answer questions concerning the structure of interactions in courses as a whole and the relationships between the participants of discussions. In order to fully understand the role of discussions and interpersonal interactions in students' online learning, we need to answer questions like: What kinds of structural patterns of interactions can be found in online courses? Can we identify the basic “types” of person-to-person interactions in online courses? What kind of differences are there between forum participants? What is the role of the teacher or the tutor in online discussions and how they choose to participate in forums?
To answer the above mentioned questions we turn our attention to a newly emerged field of Learning Analytics (LA). It is a new research area that is concerned with “the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for the purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs” (Siemens, 2013).
Buckingham Shum, S., Ferguson, R. (2012). Social Learning Analytics. Educational Technology & Society, 15(3), 3–26. De Laat, M., et al. (2007). Investigating patterns of interaction in networked learning and computer-supported collaborative learning: A role for social network analysis. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 2 (1), 87–103. Ferguson, R. (2012). Learning analytics: drivers, developments and challenges. International Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, 4(5/6), 304–317. Rabbany, R., et al. (2013). Collaborative Learning of Students in Online Discussion Forums: A Social Network Analysis Perspective. In Peña-Ayala, A. (Ed.): Educational Data Mining: Applications and Trends (pp. 441-466). Siemens, G. (2013). Learning Analytics: The Emergence of a Discipline. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(10), 1380–1400. Wasserman, S., Faust, K. (1994). Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications. New York: Cambridge University Press. Wise, A. F., Zhao, Y. & Hausknecht, S. N. (2013). Learning analytics for online discussions: A pedagogical model for intervention with embedded and extracted analytics. In D. Suthers & K. Verbert (Eds.) Proceedings of the 3rd Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge (pp. 48-56).
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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