Classroom 2.0 is a thriving online community of educators and we have embarked on a research project to understand why. Online social networks are growing in use and usefulness among educators and we hope to provide a formal analysis to help policymakers and future researchers support these communities in the best ways. We're calling this research project, "Understanding Classroom 2.0" (UC2) and we're looking for feedback.
Let us start by introducing ourselves. We're both PhD students in Carnegie Mellon University's Program for Interdisciplinary Education Research
which is funded by the Institute for Education Sciences
. April studies statistics. Before she came to CMU, she taught mathematics at the community college level. She's also mom to a little boy who just started kindergarten. Turadg studies human computer interaction, with a focus on educational tools and online communities. Before coming to CMU he worked for 8 years in UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Education on WISE
, research technologies used in classrooms in the US and abroad. Now he works on supporting open development of educational resources and tries to blog about his research at OpenEducationResearch.org
Next, let us be clear about our intentions. We want to understand the community without disturbing it or anyone. We want to be barely noticed, lest we bother people and/or corrupt the research. The methods we plan to use don't require interacting with anyone. Instead we run computations on the data that the Ning web site shares. This post is to begin a discussion so we can get a sense of what the community is comfortable with and the project can proceed with your consent. We want this research to benefit the community and its members.
We're sure there will be lots of questions, starting with some version of, "What are you trying to do here?" To get the discussion rolling, we tried to anticipate some of your questions about UC2 and will post a short Q&A as the first comment.
We've spoken with Steve Hargadon and he has set up a web meeting for any interested parties to join and have a real-time discussion. This is scheduled for Monday Oct 20 at 5pm PST / 8pm EST. We hope everyone interested in this research can join. We also hope that in this week preceding the meeting that the discussion can evolve on this thread, to serve as an open record of the issues and opportunities this research affords.
So please tell us your thoughts. We're eager to hear what other questions you have! We're also eager to hear any suggestions you have for the UC2 project and how it could help you and the community.
Turadg and April