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How can I assess student engagement in online discussion forums?

SNAPP (Social Networks Adapting Pedagogical Practice) is an interesting and free application which allows teacher to vizualise the network of social interactions occurring in online discussion forums.

The SNAPP visualisations of forum interactions provide an opportunity to rapidly identify patterns of student online forum behaviour. It could be a useful tool learning analytics tool.

SNAPP is a java plugin and is compatible with a range of web broswers, Macs and PC's and supports Moodle, Blackboard discussion forums. The screenshot below is the product of a Moodle 2.1 discussion forum.

SNAPP Moodle

Has/does anyone else use visualization aids in their inquiries into student engagement with online discussion forums and if "yes" what are these?

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e-Learning: Technologies

e-Learning: Technologies

Where we explore how different technologies can support learning.