Communities and Clusters: User Interactions in an Online Discussion Forum for Computer Science Education

Abstract

Prior research has shown that teacher communities are important for social, cognitive, and affective growth of teachers. Further, teacher isolation often encourages teachers to join online teacher communities. In the U.S., computer science (CS) teachers are often isolated as the only educators teaching CS in their schools. Thus, identifying and studying various teacher communities that these CS educators can join is extremely important for teacher educators; Computer Science Educators Stack Exchange (CSEd SE) is an online discussion forum for those interested in CS Education. In this paper, CSEd SE was examined using principles of social network analysis. CSEd SE exhibited several favorable traits of a community, such a democratic representation of users, discussions around a multitude of topics, and presence of moderators and reciprocal conversations. These results indicate that well-designed online discussion forums could be apt venues for CS teachers to form communities and enhance their professional learning networks.

Publication
In Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education (SITE) International Conference 2019