Work, Learning, and Social Interaction Online

My research explores the way interaction via computer media supports and affects work, learning, and social interaction. I examine how and what information is exchanged, knowledge is co-constructed, collaboration happens, and community forms in and in conjunction with online contexts. My research falls under a general label of Internet Research, but more specifically addresses issues related to:

  • Computer-mediated communication (CMC): changes and differences in communicating via new media
  • E-learning and the transformative effects of online information (online learning, asynchronous learning networks (ALN), networked learning, ubiquitous learning)
  • Social informatics, and the overlapping and co-evolutionary aspects of social and technical systems
  • Online social networks, including the formation, maintenance and relational structures associated with online interaction
  • Online community, including community relations online, virtual community formation, and online/offline synergies for virtual and/or geographical communities
  • Distributed knowledge and knowledge construction across divides of geography, discipline, and understanding
  • Collaboration, including the relational bases of collaboration, and technology use in support of collaborative activity
  • Peer Production, from crowdsourcing to online community
  • Learning networks: research on the combination of social networks, online networks and learning
  • Learning analytics: harnessing the data traces from learning to gain better insight into learning processes in formal and informal settings, and understanding of learning trajectories and paths in formal education settings.

In most of my studies I use a social network approach, which considers the interactions (social network “relations”) between people (“nodes”) as the building blocks of networks that affect  behavior (see What is Network Analysis? by Lin Freeman on the pages of the International Network of Social Network Analysts), and a social informatics perspective as developed by Rob Kling, which considers  how the mutual interactions of social behavior and technology introduction and use (See What is Social Informatics? by Rob Kling; CSST: The Consortium for the Science of Sociotechnical Systems and the iSchools Organization).

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