You are on page 1of 15

Aggregated Approaches to Identifying

Community and its Contituent Elements in


Formal Blended Learning Environments

Richard A. Schwier
Ben K. Daniel
Virtual Community Research Laboratory
University of Saskatchewan

Based on: Schwier, R.A., & Daniel, B.K. (2007). Did we become a community?
Multiple methods for identifying community and its constituent elements in formal
online learning environments. In N. Lambropoulos, & P. Zaphiris (Eds.), User-
evaluation and online communities (pp. 29-53). Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing.

AECT 2006 Dallas


Central Concerns
• Focus of research
• Atomized view of communities
• Generation of models
• Using research to inform online
learning environments

AECT 2006 Dallas


Community

Modeling Constituents

Comparison

AECT 2006 Dallas


AECT 2006 Dallas
Sense of Community
• Chavis’ “Sense of Community Index”
• Rovai & Jordan’s “Classroom
Community Scale”
– Connectedness
– Learning

• Pre-post design (t-Test, p<.005)

AECT 2006 Dallas


Interaction Analysis
• Fahy, Crawford & Ally (TAT)
• Included only peripheral interactions
• Density
– the ratio of the actual number of connections observed,
to the total potential number of possible connections

2a/N(N-1) = 2(122)/13(12) = .78

AECT 2006 Dallas


Interaction analysis
• Intensity
– “levels of participation," or the degree to which
the number of postings observed in a group
exceed the number of required postings

– 858 actual/490 required = 1.75

AECT 2006 Dallas


Reciprocity ratio
the parity of communication among participants

AECT 2006 Dallas


Reciprocity

AECT 2006 Dallas


Characteristics of Community
• Transcript analysis
• Interviews
• Focus groups

AECT 2006 Dallas


Characteristics
• Awareness • Participation
• Social protocols • Trust
• Historicity • Future orientation
• Identity • Technology
• Mutuality • Learning
• Plurality • Reflection
• Autonomy • Intensity

AECT 2006 Dallas


Comparison of characteristics
• Thurstone analysis

AECT 2006 Dallas


Thurstone Scale
Modeling
Bayesian Belief Network

AECT 2006 Dallas


Conclusions
• Cycle of analysis is more important than
specific tools used
• Mixed methods seems reasonable, and
worked well in practice
• Baseline data is needed to situate findings
• Modeling is an act of systematic speculation
influenced by data (not limited by data)

AECT 2006 Dallas