Block 4 Activity 14: Visualising Social Networks

Looking at social analytics that make sense only in a collective context.

Social Network Analytics consider interpersonal relationships and the links that learners make with contacts, resources and ideas.

Discourse Analytics consider language as a primary tool for knowledge negotiation and construction.

This activity is in two parts.

Part one involved reading Bakharia et al. (2009), Social networks adapting pedagogical practice: SNAPP.

social network
Social Network example

Note what can be revealed by a network diagram of students’ discussions. Note how this information could be used to support learning and/or teaching in a group and highlight any problem areas.

  1. Identify disconnected (at risk) students.
  • quickly provide data on students who are not engaged through low access to resources or involvement within discussion forums.
  • provide opportunities for teacher to investigate and support needs of individual or groups of learners in-case they don’t understand activities or how to access/use resources.
  1. Identify Key information brokers within a class.
  • provide deeper meaningful challenges to those who appear to have gained the required knowledge quicker.
  • Use key information brokers to provide peer support
  • Ensure that the key information brokers are not switching off other learners – emotional literacy.
  • Consider skills and knowledge of cohort/group and how this will drive future groupings to support the learning.
  1. Identify potentially high and low performing students so teachers can better plan learning interventions.
  • Provide additional challenge for the high performers or look at pacing and progression through learning design.
  • Provide support for low performing students before these students decide to drop out or don’t have the necessary knowledge and skills to move on to the next stage of their learning.
  • May identify problems that have not been considered for support during the learning design process.  Impact change within next offering of module/lesson.
  1. Indicate the extent to which learning community is developing within a class.
  • Identify groups who are working together, successfully using combined knowledge and skills, tools and environment.
  • Identify groups who are not working together and need support.
  • Identify any issues involving use of technology.
  1. Provide a ‘before and after’ snapshot of the various interactions occurring pre and post learning interventions.
  • Compare data with that initially found in 1.
  1. Provide timely opportunities for students to benchmark individual performance and engagement against fellow peers.
  • Possibly use as a support mechanism for low performing students – support for 5.
  • Time for teacher to have learning discussions with all students and discuss their involvement and effectiveness within the learning environment.
  • Set learning targets/objectives to support progression to next activity and/or level.
  • Consider the ethical and social implications of this aspect – sharing performance of other students may be demotivating.

Part 2 involved reading Dawson et al.(2010), SNAPP: Realising the affordance of real-time SNA within networked learning environments.

After reading this article a social network diagram was completed after selecting two threads from within our Tutor Group Discussion Forum which includes six or more postings.

Activity 14 Part 2-1





Bakharia, A., Heathcote, E. and Dawson, S. (2009) ‘Social networks adapting pedagogical practice: SNAPP’ in Atkinson, R.J. and McBeath, C. (eds) Same Places, Different Spaces, Proceedings ascilite 2009, 26th Annual ascilite International Conference, Auckland 6–9 December 2009, Auckland, The University of Auckland, Auckland University of Technology and Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ascilite); also available online at also available online at conferences/ auckland09/ procs/

Dawson, S., Bakharia, A. and Heathcote, E. (2010) ‘SNAPP: realising the affordances of real-time SNA within networked learning environments’ in Dirckinck-Holmfeld, L., Hodgson, V., Jones, C., de Laat, M., McConnell, D. and Ryberg, T. (eds) Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Networked Learning 2010, Aalborg, Denmark (3–4 May), Lancaster, Lancaster University, pp. 125–33; also available online at past/ nlc2010/ abstracts/ PDFs/ Dawson.pdf (accessed 17 July 2016).


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