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Emergent Networks in Computer-Supported Groups

Emergent Networks in Computer-Supported Groups
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Author(s): Michael Stefanone (State University of New York at Buffalo, USA)
Copyright: 2008
Pages: 16
Source title: Handbook of Research on Computer Mediated Communication
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Sigrid Kelsey (Louisiana State University, USA) and Kirk St.Amant (East Carolina University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-863-5.ch008

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Abstract

This chapter focuses on whether computer-mediated communication (CMC) tools are actually working to increase the overall level of participation within learning groups, in terms of increasing diversity of relationships within the group. First, this chapter provides a broad overview of social network analysis, and a synopsis of key concepts related to the network approach. In general terms, the literature review integrates network analysis vocabulary and literature on communities of practice. Then, an accessible example of how to apply network analysis to an investigation of computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) groups over time is provided. This is relevant given the increasing popularity of social network analysis, as well as people’s growing dependence on CMC tools to learn, work and play. The results contribute to the ongoing discussion regarding the role technology is having on relationships in computer-mediated contexts, and demonstrate the application of social network techniques to the study of group processes over time.

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