LT faculty Dr. Bodong Chen attended the 5th International Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK) Conference hosted by Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. The theme for this year’s conference, “Scaling Up: Big Data to Big Impact,” reflects the success of the growing community of researchers, practitioners, and learners leveraging the power of educational data to create substantial impact within higher education and learning at increasingly larger scale.
Dr. Chen presented his collaborative work with Cindy Chen (Purdue University) and Wanli Xing (University of Missouri) on “Twitter Archaeology of the Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conferences
.” Applying a variety of analyses (e.g., descriptive analysis, network analysis, content analysis, and topic modeling), Chen and his colleagues uncovered interesting phenomena of Twitter participation in the LAK community, including: extended coverage of the community over the years; increasing interactions among its members regardless of peripheral and in-persistent participation; increasingly dense, connected and balanced social networks; and increasingly diverse research topics mentioned in tweets. Chen engaged the audience in the conference hall and online to reflect on the practice of using Twitter as a “backchannel” to facilitate scholarly communication at LAK. Studying interactions on social media, he argued, complements prior analysis of LAK publications because the nascent field of Learning Analytics has been attracting broad participation from not only researchers but also practitioners and policy makers. This work was recognized as an important contribution to the Learning Analytics community itself, raising interests of future collaborative research and workshops from the audience.
In addition, Chen co-organized a pre-conference workshop titled “It’s About Time: 4th International Workshop on Temporal Analyses of Learning Data
,” together with Simon Knight (PhD Candidate, Open University), Alyssa Wise (Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University), and Britte Cheng (Senior Researcher, SRI International). Attended by 30 colleagues from around the world, this workshop was well-received and was requested to be staged again at the 6th LAK Conference, to be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, in April 2016.