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Fostering student engagement in online discussion through social learning analytics

, , , College of Education and Human Development, United States ; , College of Liberal Arts, United States

Internet and Higher Education Volume 37, Number 1, ISSN 1096-7516 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


This paper reports on the initial stage of a design-based research program that aims to devise student-facing social learning analytics in a postsecondary setting. In order to foster student discussion in online classes, we devised an analytics toolkit that turns discussion forum data into information for students to reflect upon. The first pilot study conducted in an online course showed both early promises and challenges with this effort. In particular, students reported usefulness of the toolkit for monitoring posting behaviors and setting participation goals. Content analysis of post content linked tool usage with students' increased attempts to solicit peer responses to their posts and increased reflection on individual participation. However, the tool was not found useful or easy to use by some students, and it did not show benefits in other aspects of online discussion, such as crafting stronger argumentation or reflecting on group processes. These findings highlight the need of social learning analytics to strive for tool simplicity, scaffold students' development in data literacy, and bring analytics and pedagogical designs into close coordination.


Chen, B., Chang, Y.H., Ouyang, F. & Zhou, W. (2018). Fostering student engagement in online discussion through social learning analytics. Internet and Higher Education, 37(1), 21-30. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved May 27, 2020 from .

This record was imported from Internet and Higher Education on January 29, 2019. Internet and Higher Education is a publication of Elsevier.

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