Use of Online Educational Social Networking in a School Environment.

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Title: Use of Online Educational Social Networking in a School Environment.
Author: Smith, Bethany Virginia
Advisors: Dr. Lori B. Holcomb, Committee Chair
Dr. Kevin M. Oliver, Committee Member
Dr. Kevin P. Brady, Committee Co-Chair
Abstract: The purpose of this mixed-methods research study was to investigate the use of a closed social network, utilizing Ning, in an online educational environment. The research question driving this study was, does a student-centered online tool, such as Ning, foster knowledge construction through discussion boards more than a class-focused online tool, such as a traditional CMS? The participants were students enrolled in one of two online graduate education courses, one in a traditional Course Management System (CMS), and another class that utilized Ning for their discussions. Discussion Board postings from the Ning group were categorized based on the Interaction Analysis Model (IAM) developed by Gunawardena, C. N., Lowe, C., & Anderson, T. (1997), to assess knowledge construction. Survey instruments and interviews were conducted to provide additional insight into the use of a social network in an educational context.
Date: 2009-04-23
Degree: MS
Discipline: Technology Education

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