Network Analysis of Online Forums

Network Analysis of Online Forums

Mechanisms of Internet-based Collaborations Complex Network Analysis Approach Reuven Aviv, Chais Research Center & Department of Computer Science Open University of Israel Chais, Feb. 2006 Communities 1 Context: online communities as networks Like Social Networks

advice, command, Like Web-pages, gene networks, etc.. Trigger/Response Network Chais, Feb. 2006 Communities 2 Research Question Are Learning Communities Social Networks? Answer Yes and No

Method Identify Social Network mechanisms underlying responses in the communities Why is it important? Implications Chais, Feb. 2006 Communities on design features 3 Social Network Mechanisms (1) 1. Hunt for social capital (knowledge) Use efficient connections (e.g. bridge)

If communication is broadcast efficiency: wait for others to respond Result: Passive community 2. Exchange mechanism Exchange responses with potential responders (requires interdependence) Chais, Feb. 2006 Result: reciprocalCommunities events i j

4 Examples of Social Network Mechanisms (2) 3. Theory of Cognitive Balance Drive for Cognition Balance all understand the same way goals, concepts, problems, solutions (requires set goal and commitment) Result: multiple communication paths clustering events (basic block of cohesiveness) i k Chais, Feb. 2006 j

Communities 5 Results Hunt for social capital: underlies all social networks and online learning communities does not lead to responsive community Exchange: underlies all social networks and online learning communities Cognition Balance: common in social networks, but does not develop in online learning communities Chais, Feb. 2006

Communities Implications for design? 6 Method: Motif Analysis Random Graph Model creates ensemble of networks (by simulation) Identify Motifs: events (e.g. reciprocity) occurring above occurrence in the ensemble Chais, Feb. 2006 Communities

7 Motifs and Mechanisms in other areas Gene Regulation, Neurons Feed-Forward loop Stimulus WWW network Clustering of pages Drive for shortcuts Food Webs Communities Bi Parallel structures Chais,Energy flow mechanisms Feb. 2006 Communities

i j k i j k j i i k

8 Analysis of online learning communities 97 online communities 40 social networks Four baseline Random Graph Models: Network Events: Reciprocity, Clustering Chais, Feb. 2006 Communities Are these motifs? 9

Results: the reciprocity motif Chais, Feb. 2006 Communities 10 Online networks: clustering is not a motif Social Networks: clustering is (in many networks) a motif Chais, Feb. 2006 Communities

11 Implications: design features Exchange mechanism Exchange responses with previous i j or potential responders requires interdependence Drive for Cognition Balance Clustering of responses Basic block of cohesiveness Chais, Feb. 2006 set goal and commitment

Communities requires i k j 12 Discussion Practical implications Can be done in real time Identify design problems Whats next? Time dependence Compare Social, Biological networks Association with personal attributes

More Chais, Feb. 2006 Communities 13 Thank You Chais, Feb. 2006 Communities 14 Details of this research

Response Neighborhoods in Online Learning Networks: A quantitative Analysis (Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 8(4), 2005) Reciprocity & Transitivity Analysis of Online Learning Networks (submitted to Connections) Preprints Available Chais, Feb. 2006 [email protected] Communities 15

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