Moodle research

Data tools for Moodle 3.x focussed on SOCIAL, FORUMS and RELATIONSHIPS

 
Picture of Dom F
Data tools for Moodle 3.x focussed on SOCIAL, FORUMS and RELATIONSHIPS
 

Hi All,

When I search for "analytics" on this forum there are 1135 results across hundreds of pages - so thats good and very bad news. I'm an early stage researcher using moodle and I would HUGELY value some help with thoughts on tools for Moodle 3.x analytics that especially help visualise or quantify the degree of SOCIAL learning and RELATIONSHIP /DISCUSSION activity for any given learning group (not just a number / stats cruncher of "who looked at what and when"

Is anyone willing to offer some pointers? Ive heard mentioned of SNAPP, xAPI, Zoila (cant find that anywhere)  and NodeXL - Are there obvious differences?

It seems a huge field and I'm trying to narrow it down to something I can use to help me quantify the strength of relationships between learners and tutors and between learners and each other.  For example I came across this very helpful tool that gave really interesting "per student" social interaction graphs (see attachment below) but sadly that project and module looks lomg dead - was it ever replaced by anything?

I have a minuscule research budget, but hope I can find some fans of social learning anaytics amongst this group!

Thanks again

Dom


Picture of Elizabeth Dalton
Re: Data tools for Moodle 3.x focussed on SOCIAL, FORUMS and RELATIONSHIPS
Core developersMoodle HQParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developersTesters

Hi Dom,

This is a good place to ask your questions, but you should also check out https://Moodle.org/analytics 

I think the most important thing for you to consider at this point is what you would consider your “known good” (outcome or process) and how you will measure that. Before trusting the data from a plug-in or report, do you have some scored examples of discussions by effective groups vs discussions by ineffective groups? Or a way to measure that a group has been effective, e.g. a group assignment grade or peer ratings?

Once you have that, it’s much easier to design a predictive system, or even just a helpful visualization....

Elizabeth 

 
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Picture of Elizabeth Dalton
Re: Data tools for Moodle 3.x focussed on SOCIAL, FORUMS and RELATIONSHIPS
Core developersMoodle HQParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developersTesters

Although I don't have any particular tools to recommend at this time, I'd like to direct your attention to the Community of Inquiry framework/theory: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_of_inquiry

The Wikipedia page presents a reasonable overview, and there are many more detailed references in various publications. The "Social Presence" component is probably of most interest to you. I've explored ways to try to measure this, but I've been focused more on the "Cognitive Presence" and "Teaching Presence" components for now (especially Instructional Design).

You might find these references helpful in defining "social learning" in terms that will make it easier for you to study.

Best regards,

Elizabeth

 
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Picture of Dom F
Re: Data tools for Moodle 3.x focussed on SOCIAL, FORUMS and RELATIONSHIPS
 

Thanks Elizabeth will certainly look at  Community of Inquiry framework/theory as an impportant addition to any conceptual framework.

In terms of the second article sadly that plug in that they custom created is no longer used and having contacted the researched thaey have all log since moved on and are polite but largely unresponsive.

As mentioned elsewhere I will look at Forum Graph Module (VERY surprised at how few downloads and sites have used it)

SNAPP is now also defunct - not sure why - perhaps another one man project

Had some discussions with NodeXL but that is more aimed at wide social networks  and Im unclear how to get any help trying to apply it to Moodle

ViMoodle is yet another analysis tool that has come and long gone and is defunct and no longer available or compatible.

UCINET is another tool which is for Windows and is a software package for the analysis of social network data. It was developed by Lin Freeman, Martin Everett and Steve Borgatti. It comes with the NetDraw network visualization tool but again I need to find expertise to see whether at all this can be used with Moodle (also irritatingly it is for PC)

eMUSE seemed like a one of proprietary research tool that hasnt been made available

Then there is the TUT LA tool developed at the Intelligent Information Systems Laboratory (IISLab) at the Tampere University of Technology (TUT). The tool is used to analyse students’ activity from automatically recorded user log data and to build interactive visualisations. They provide valuable insights into the learning process and participation of students in a course offered to teachers and students. But again I need to see if that is anything more than a glorified "what/where/when" log analysis tool or wether ti can crack the challenge of RELATIONSHIPS and learner-learner-teacher interactions.

So maybe Im just left with Moodle forum graph?

But given how few have used it - I wonder to what extend the Moodle community is really interested  in social network analysis?

As a Moodle HQ person what is Martin Dougiamas' view on this as a big fan of social constructivism?

I'd love to know. Also I confess it is hard to get a plain summary of what moodle is doing with analytics from that forum. There is a huge amount of activity - is there an exec report and do you know if any of it rekates to the key challenge of social and relational analysis within moodle? (ie moving away form the simplistic "who looked at what resource and when" system in place?

keen to hear your thoughts?

Dom


 
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Picture of Elizabeth Dalton
Re: Data tools for Moodle 3.x focussed on SOCIAL, FORUMS and RELATIONSHIPS
Core developersMoodle HQParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developersTesters

I think many in the Moodle community are interested in social network analysis, but these projects do come and go. The issue I see with Forum Graph is that it only includes forum interactions, when learners can also interact in wiki, database, workshop, etc.

We are definitely interested in more than "what/where/when" log analysis. The Community of Inquiry indicators we have been building for Moodle include things like the number of peer connections, and I've been looking at indicators like network centrality and density. I think a SNA graph would be a helpful addition to Moodle, but it would be descriptive only. I am leery of providing descriptive visualizations without some analysis to back up how useful they are in predicting the outcomes of a given program.

For a general overview of Moodle Learning Analytics, start here: https://moodle.org/course/view.php?id=17233&section=1

I have been struggling with how to organize the page, particularly how to balance information for new visitors vs. long-term participants.

 
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Picture of Elizabeth Dalton
Re: Data tools for Moodle 3.x focussed on SOCIAL, FORUMS and RELATIONSHIPS
Core developersMoodle HQParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developersTesters

Additionally, I meant to comment on the article you posted-- very interesting! This project seems to have used a modified version of the Forum activity, designed to gather information about the post type ("Thinking Type") along with each post. You could probably get similar functionality using tags, although establishing learner habits in using them would take some time. And of course you would have to provide your own reporting, but if you have access to the backend database, that can be done with any reasonable statistical tool. (I recommend R.)

I think an enhancement to Forum to add a required taxonomy entry to each post would be very interesting for research purposes, and would support a number of theories and practices (e.g. Brenda Dervin's Sensemaking, sentiment analysis). The key would be to make the definition of the required taxonomy flexible per forum so it can be used in different ways, depending on the needs of the teacher, students, etc.

Best regards,

Elizabeth

 
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