Caroline Haythornthwaite

Syracuse University,  School of Information Studies

S07_7893email: chaythor @ syr . edu       twitter: @hthwaite
Note that my ubc email is no longer valid.

 In August 2016, I started as Professor in the School of Information Studies, Syracuse University. From 2010-2015
I was Professor and Director at SLAIS, The iSchool at The University of British Columbia, and on leave 2015-16. I joined UBC after 14 years at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and an earlier career as a programmer and systems analyst.

This wordpress site describes my research activities. My research focuses on how the Internet and information and communication technologies (ICTs) support work, learning and social interaction. I approach this primarily from a social network analysis perspective, addressing e-learning, learning analytics, social media, computer-mediated communication, and online crowds and communities. See also my areas of research and my publications pages.


Learning Analytics for the Social Media Age

SSHRC funded project (PI Anatoliy Gruzd) with research on how we learn in the social media age, and what analytics are useful for examining such learning.

Gruzd, A., Paulin, D. & Haythornthwaite, C. (2016). Analyzing social media and learning through content and social network analysis: A faceted methodological approach. Journal of Learning Analytics, 3(3), 46-71. http://dx.doi.org/10.18608/jla.2016.33.4

Gruzd, A., Haythornthwaite, C., Paulin, D., Gilbert, S., & Esteve del Valle, M. (forthcoming). Uses and gratifications factors for social media use in teaching: Instructors’ perspectives. New Media and Society. http://nms.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/08/08/1461444816662933.abstract [online version available August 2016].

Esteve del Valle, M., Gruzd, A., Haythornthwaite, C., Gilbert, S. & Paulin, D. (Jan., 2017). Social media in educational practice: Faculty present and future use of social media in teaching. Proceedings of the 50th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Big Island, HI. Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society.

See also the Social Media Lab site at Ryerson University.

NEWS! Congratulations to Sarah Gilbert and Drew Paulin for the best social informatics student paper award, received November 2016 at the ASIST conference for their paper:

Social Media and SOciety

Networked Learning Conference 2016 – May 2016

New Metaphors for Networked Learning
As networked learning leaves designed spaces and becomes diffused and re-infused through open, online information sharing and knowledge construction, what metaphors will frame our next steps, our next inquiries? In keeping with the conference theme of ‘Looking Back – Moving Forward’, this presentation engages with where we are in the sea of change, and how our current understanding of networks, learning and knowledge will take us forward into new areas of inquiry.

For the video of the  presentation, see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOvaSpvs8ig
For the slides (pdf): https://haythorn.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/haythornthwaite_nlc2016-pptx.pdf

Those interested in this presentation may also be interested in the ‘Rethinking learning spaces’ paper listed below.

Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS)


  • Haythornthwaite, C., Andrews, R.,  Fransman, J.  & Meyers, E. (2016) SAGE Handbook of E-Learning Research, 2nd edition. London: Sage. Nearly all new chapters describing the current state of e-learning and e-learning research.

  • Paulin, D. & Haythornthwaite, C. (2016). Crowdsourcing the curriculum: Redefining e-learning practices through peer-generated approaches. The Information Society, 32(2), 130–142. doi:10.1080/01972243.2016.1130501. In the special issue on Connecting Fields: Information, Learning Sciences and Education, editors: June Ahn & Ingrid Erickson.
  • Haythornthwaite, C. (2015). Rethinking learning spaces: Networks, structures and possibilities for learning in the 21st century. Communication, Research and Practice, 1(4), 292-306. DOI: 10.1080/22041451.2015.1105773. Paper based on Australia New Zealand Communication Association keynote presentation given in July 2015. [Available to up to 50 colleagues (who can’t otherwise get to it via their university subscriptions) through this  eprint link http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/89tmpiPVfWDPTecqQ6H4/ful]

Spotlight talk at Ontario Library Association

Fabulous ‘write-up’ of my talk on Redefining Learning for a Networked World, at Ontario Library Association conference, by graphic facilitator and artist Liisa Sorsa.


Some Fabulous Visits!

Faculty Visitor, Division of Information and Technology Studies, Hong Kong University, Hong Kong

  • 20160312_101229Thanks to Dr. Xiao Hu and Director Dr. Sam Chu as exemplary organizers and hosts. I enjoyed my consultations with faculty and students, and presentations on Social Networks and Networked Learning Communities, and E-Learning and New Learning Cultures (March 11-25, 2016).


e-Learn Centre at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain

  • sagrada familia 2 Week long visit, included discussion and seminar on Lifelong Learning Ecologies (Nov, 9-13, 2015), organized by Albert Sangrà Morer, UOC and UNESCO Chair of Education and Technology for Social Change.
  • Papers on learning ecologies from presentations at this event are forthcoming, edited by Professor Morer. My presentation was titled “Learning ecologies: The individual and the use of networks” and the paper is titled “What can social networks tell us about learning ecologies?
  • Video of the presentation is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK3ZcNtf6Jc


Two talks  in New Zealand July 2015

  • Keynote at the ANZCA (Australia New Zealand Communication Association) Learning Networks: Rethinking Spaces, Structures and Possibilities for Learning in the 21st Century,  held in Queenstown, NZ in the Remarkables mountain range
    The paper listed above in Communication, Research and Practice is based on this presentation.DSC03877
  • Public Lecture for the Ako Aotearoa, the Ministry of Education and the Tertiary e-Learning Reference Group (TeLRG) in Wellington, NZ: Social Network Structures for Networked Learning Communities.


  •  Flexibility and the Teacher-Learner-Institution Triad
    • Blog … The term flexible learning is bandied about a lot these days, but what does it really mean? Does it signify a brave new transformation in approach and practice for teaching, learning and education, and if so, what kind of transformation is it? It is all new, or does it—or can it—inherit and gain from the state-of-the-art of the former flexible option of online or e-learning? … continue reading on the UBC Digital Learning blog.
  • Best Social Informatics paper of 2013 awarded in 2014 to Nama Budhathoki and myself by ASIST SIG-SI. See also Nama’s mapping work in Nepal with his Kathmandu Living Labs.
    • Budhathoki, N. & Haythornthwaite, C. (2013). Motivation for open collaboration: Crowd and community models and the case of OpenStreetMap. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(5), 548 – 575.


For more see my publications page.