Notes: Porter et al. (2016). A qualitative analysis of institutional drivers and barriers to blended learning adoption in higher education.

Porter, W. W., Graham, C. R., Bodily, R. G., & Sandberg, D. S. (2016). A qualitative analysis of institutional drivers and barriers to blended learning adoption in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 28, 17:27. Retrieved from An article from the future! (it's not 2016 here yet, but articles from next year are already showing up. Go go, Gibson!) Interesting paper, tying technology adoption stuff into professional development and support. [Read More]

the one where I finally publish my thesis

So it's been in progress for a long time. A long, long time. It's been nearly done for some time as well. I completed (and passed) my oral exam on Nov. 30, and had some additional revisions to make before the thing could be considered officially complete. Now, it is. I present... A Case Study Using the Community of Inquiry Framework to Analyze Online Discussions in WordPress and Blackboard in a Graduate Course ((it's also linked from the Projects menu on my blog, cryptically under something called " [Read More]

discussion visualization with gephi

I've been playing around with gephi today, to see what I could come up with to display the discussion threads from my research data. Lots of manual data entry later, and I've got this: and this: WordPress sites are shown in red, Blackboard discussion forums in blue. So far, just a pretty picture, but I'll hopefully be able to coax out a diagram or two that shows the difference in interaction patterns between the two platforms. [Read More]

discussion network visualization

I just put together some quick network maps for the online discussions from my thesis research data. Haven't done any analysis - just some purty pictures to see any at-a-glance differences:

Both discussion platforms had about the same number of posts and responses, but the pattern of connections is markedly different for some reason...

aggregated metadata for online discussions

here's a quick look at the aggregated metadata for all of the online discussions I'm using in my thesis:

About the same number of posts in each platform, with a bit more of a time-spread in the WordPress discussions, substantially longer posts in WordPress, about the same (non) use of images, more links in WordPress posts, and more attachments in Blackboard posts.

basic metadata analysis

Here's a quick pass at analyzing the basic metadata for the online discussions. I plotted a few calculated values (Excel pivot tables fracking ROCK, BTW...), to try to compare activity patterns. What's interesting in this graph is the average wordcount (green line) - low for the Blackboard discussion board threads (the left 5 items) and markedly higher for the 8 student blog (the right 8 items). The number of posts in each discussion (dark blue line) is relatively consistent across all discussions. [Read More]

full online discussion metadata visualization

I've finally entered all of the metadata information for the online discussions I'm using in my thesis. This includes the person who posts something, the date, and the size of the post. I worked through my earlier visualization mockup, and wanted to try it with the full set of data. So, here's the Blackboard discussions (top image) and WordPress blog posts (bottom image): It's only the most basic of metadata, but already differences in activity patterns are becoming apparent. [Read More]

on visualizing online discussions

For my MSc thesis research, I'm working with a bunch of data collected through online discussions during a blended course. Part of the discussions took place using Blackboard's discussion board feature, part took place on students' blogs. One of the things I need to do is to document how the discussions played out, to try and tease out any differences between the two venues. I'll be using the Community of Inquiry model to describe the social/teaching/cognitive components of posts, but I've been wanting to describe the flow of discussion as well. [Read More]

Notes: Xin (2012): A Critique of the Community of Inquiry Framework

Xin, C. (2012). A Critique of the Community of Inquiry Framework. The Journal of Distance Education, 26(1). Retrieved from

Thanks to Stephen Downes for pointing this paper out. I'm up to my eyeballs, processing data for my Community of Inquiry based MSc research, and could have missed this.

The Community of Inquiry model provides a framework for describing interactions within a community or classroom environment. It involves using textual analysis and coding of messages to interpret the type of interaction for each message - whether it involves social, teaching, or cognitive components. As I've been coding the data for my thesis, I've been adding as many types of "presences" as are appropriate - a message may include a number of things, indicating social, teaching and cognitive presences in a non-exclusive manner. I'm imagining each message having its own little Venn diagram for Social/Teaching/Cognitive component, as per the CoI model. It's a simplification and abstraction, certainly, but looking at the coded output, I think it's still got a fair bit of fidelity to describe the interactions at a high level. In my data, I'm also adding coding to describe the type of content (links, images, attachments, embedded media, etc...) as well as how involved the message is (is it a simple one-liner? a 2 paragraph response? a multi-page essay?) - and I'm thinking about how to include data on the timeline of the discussion (how rapid were the responses? staccato rapidfire conversation, or long drawn-out periods of silence?) I'm still thinking about how to represent that kind of data for an online discussion, but I think there's something there, there.

[Read More]

Notes: O'Donnell (2006): Blogging as pedagogic practice: Artefact and ecology

O'Donnell, M. (2006). Blogging as pedagogic practice: Artefact and ecology. Asia Pacific Media Educator. A really interesting paper based on a conference presentation. Talks about some of the promise of blogging as an agent of pedagogical change, but actually goes into some of the reasons why the change might happen (as opposed to other articles that leave it up to BECAUSE… MAGIC! BLOGS!) Basically - blogging changes the nature of discourse, making it idiosyncratic and reflective. [Read More]