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Full-Text Articles in Engineering

Social Media For Informal Science Learning In China: A Case Study, Ke Zhang, Fei Gao May 2015

Social Media For Informal Science Learning In China: A Case Study, Ke Zhang, Fei Gao

Fei Gao

This article reports a case study on a popular informal science learning community via social media in China, named GuoKr (meaning “nutshell” in English). Data were collected through a variety of Chinese social media and social networking sites, web-based community portals, and discussion boards. Content analyses and data mining were conducted to investigate how GuoKr successfully attracted and engaged public in informal learning on scientific topics in particular. The study found three key characteristics that contributed to the success of such learning communities: (a) utilizing a variety of social media to empower participants with just-in-time, accidental learning opportunities; (b) daily ...


Comparing Role-Playing Activities In Second Life And Face-To-Face Environments, Fei Gao, Jeongmin J. Noh, Matthew J. Koehler May 2015

Comparing Role-Playing Activities In Second Life And Face-To-Face Environments, Fei Gao, Jeongmin J. Noh, Matthew J. Koehler

Fei Gao

This study compared student performances in role-playing activities in both a face-to-face (FTF) environment and a virtual 3D environment, Second Life (SL). We found that students produced a similar amount of communication in the two environments, but the communication styles were different. In SL role-playing activities, students took more conversational turns, but have shorter exchanges compared to the FTF environment. Students generated an equal amount of topic-related concepts in the two environments. They also reported role-playing activities in SL as more interesting and less formal. The educational implications for this study are discussed.


Case Study Of Using A Social Annotation Tool To Support Collaboratively Learning, Fei Gao May 2015

Case Study Of Using A Social Annotation Tool To Support Collaboratively Learning, Fei Gao

Fei Gao

The purpose of the study was to understand student interaction and learning supported by a collaboratively social annotation tool — Diigo. The researcher examined through a case study how students participated and interacted when learning an online text with the social annotation tool — Diigo, and how they perceived their experience. The findings suggested that students participated actively in the collaborative learning activity and were engaged in a variety of behaviors including self-reflection, elaboration, internalization, and showing support. Although students generally had a moderately positive attitude toward using the social annotation tool for collaborative learning, a few problems were identified. In particular ...


Exploring The Use Of Discussion Strategies And Labels In Asynchronous Online Discussion, Fei Gao May 2015

Exploring The Use Of Discussion Strategies And Labels In Asynchronous Online Discussion, Fei Gao

Fei Gao

Drawing on research in both constrained online discussion environments and strategy instruction, this approach combines explicit instruction on discussion strategies with the use of post type labels. In a trial of this approach in an online course, students actively used the discussion strategies and post type labels in their discussion. Analysis of student posts and survey responses suggested that students in the experimental group used discussion strategies more frequently after the intervention as compared to the control group and perceived that this approach positively impacted their discussions. In addition, there is a certain degree of improvement in the quality of ...


Tweeting For Learning: A Critical Analysis Of Research On Microblogging In Education Published In 2008-2011, Fei Gao, Tian Luo, Ke Zhang May 2015

Tweeting For Learning: A Critical Analysis Of Research On Microblogging In Education Published In 2008-2011, Fei Gao, Tian Luo, Ke Zhang

Fei Gao

This study critically analyzed the current body of published research on microblogging in education (MIE) to build a deep and comprehensive understanding of this increasingly popular phenomenon. Twenty-one studies on MIE in 2008-2011 were selected based on the selection criteria and analyzed to answer the following questions: (a) What types of research have been published on MIE? (b) How was microblogging used for teaching and learning in these studies? (c) What educational benefits did microblogging have on teaching and learning? and (d) What suggestions and implications did the current research have for future MIE research and practices? The analysis suggested ...


New Model Of Productive Online Discussion And Its Implications For Research And Instruction, Fei Gao, Charles Xiaoxue Wang, Yanling Sun May 2015

New Model Of Productive Online Discussion And Its Implications For Research And Instruction, Fei Gao, Charles Xiaoxue Wang, Yanling Sun

Fei Gao

We develop a new model of productive online discussion based on a brief review of research literature on online discussion. As compared to previous discussion models, the new model provides a more systematic and comprehensive framework to understand how learning occurs through online discussion. Based on the new model, we propose several directions for research on improving the quality of online discussion and learning.


Examining Student Participation In Three Learning Activities Supported By Social Annotation Tools, Tian Luo, Fei Gao, Kathryn S. Hoff May 2015

Examining Student Participation In Three Learning Activities Supported By Social Annotation Tools, Tian Luo, Fei Gao, Kathryn S. Hoff

Fei Gao

Social annotation (SA) allows learners to highlight and comment on Web pages and share annotations with each other online. Despite its potential in promoting collaborative learning, examining how to integrate it into educational settings has not been fully studied. The purpose of the study is to examine student participation in three different SA-based online activities: (1) peer review, (2) annotated discussion, and (3) collaborative reading. Students participated in all three SA-based activities and took a survey at the end reporting the effectiveness of these activities. The analysis of students’ annotations and their survey responses suggested that although participants perceived the ...


Designing Asynchronous Online Discussion Environments: Recent Progress And Possible Future Directions, Fei Gao, Tianyi Zhang, Teresa Franklin May 2015

Designing Asynchronous Online Discussion Environments: Recent Progress And Possible Future Directions, Fei Gao, Tianyi Zhang, Teresa Franklin

Fei Gao

Asynchronous online discussion environments are important platforms to support learning. Research suggests, however, threaded forums, one of the most popular asynchronous discussion environments, do not often foster productive online discussions naturally. This paper explores how certain properties of threaded forums have affected or constrained the quality of discussions, and argues that developing alternative discussion environments is highly needed to offer better support for asynchronous online communication. Using the Productive Discussion Model developed by Gao, Wang & Sun (2009), we analyzed current work on four types of asynchronous discussion environments that have been developed and researched: constrained environments, visualized environments, anchored environments and combined environments. The paper has implications for developing future asynchronous discussion environments. More specifically, future work should aim at (a) exploring new environments that support varied goals of learning; (b) integrating emerging technologies to address the constraints of current environments; (c) designing multi-functional environments to facilitate complex learning, and (d) developing appropriate instructional activities ...