Applying Network Models and Network Analysis Techniques to the Study of Online Communities
“Network science” has evolved as a new overarching paradigm for studying the structure and evolution of networks of various natures providing a rich set of techniques for modeling and analysis. Related to online learning and knowledge-building communities, there is a specific interest in methods of social network analysis (SNA) including also the analysis of actor-artifact networks. The application of network models and network analysis techniques to online communities and collaboration in masses can serve various purposes such as the identification of central actors and roles, the detection and tracking of subcommunities, and the tracing of ideas in knowledge-building communities. This chapter focuses on describing the corresponding approaches in such a way as to demonstrate the basic ideas without actually going into mathematical details. The different approaches will be exemplified with recent applications to the study of networked collaboration, especially in learning and teaching contexts.
KeywordsCollaboration Mass collaboration Network science Network analysis
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