Sunday, August 05, 2007

Thoughts on Social Networking

Going on as I do these days with regard to the value of social networking tools practices and the implications for collaboration in learning, which you may well have picked this up from a number of posts in this blog. As its summer now and there are no classes, its given me time to start thinking about trying to see if I can extract anything at all meaningful from the exercise that I encouraged my year 1 level 3 students to carry out at the start of their course in September 06. In fact I did a couple of blogs on this which you can still get to from here and to save repeating myself they are:-

Tell And Post, Thursday, September 14, 2006

Social Networking So Far, Sunday, September 24, 2006

Essentially the idea was to start them off by using Moodle as a social tool and see if this had any impact of the likely emergence of online groups and ultimately outcomes. Just recently, during the summer, I have been dipping into SNA (Social Network Analysis) this is a methodology for mapping and measuring relationships and flows in a system; this can be human or even data itself. Now being a software person, my first reaction was to go looking for some tools, free ones anyway and I found Agna, a superb little piece of Java freeware. I used Moodle reports to produce a student-by-student activity for the Social forums throughout September 06. Then using their names, though for this exercise I have replaced these with numbers, as the node values in the Sociomatrix; see below.

For this simple Binary exercise I simply recorded a 1 at the intersection of contact between two students.

I carried out the exercise for two groups, who I shall simply refer to as A and B

My next stage was to use the Agna Network Viewer to produce charts.

I shall let you make up you own mind on the level of social networking taking place here, but just establish for you that the arrows indicate the direction of communication.
Well what do you think? Is any of this likely to influence outcomes for later on the course? I will reveal all a week today, on Sunday 12th August.


Blogger Jon Maloney (jheuristic) said...

Hi –

Good post!

Social Network Analysis (SNA) offers a powerful academic tool for scholars and researchers. Network analysis in general is an important discipline for business as well. However, for business performance improvements, SNA only shows a small fraction of the picture. Key business processes, for example, are entirely left out of organizational SNA.

A far more complete method for network analysis of business is value networks. Value networks and analysis (VNA) employee the identical mathematical network analysis rigor of SNA but also creates meaning and mappings of the critical process infrastructure. It furnishes visualization and optimization of entire business and economic ecosystems, including social relationships, knowledge pathways and key business process. See comparisons:

Most value networks methods, tools, applications and technologies are open source, open content. This is the open gateway –



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