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Social Network Analysis for Cybernetic Interaction Design in Technology-Supported College Curricula -17

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Shantanu Tilak, Marvin Evans, Ziye Wen and Michael Glassman

In the Information Age, tools such as social media are often regarded as instruments for surveillance that reverse engineer human consciousness to control cultural markets. It becomes imperative to design technology-supported educational environments that help students navigate an information-rich landscape and equip them with critical thinking skills. We suggest educators and curriculum designers can construct such technology-supported learning environments by meeting the emergent needs of learners in an iterative manner, using socially conscious interaction design approaches that treat researchers/designers as participant observers.

This paper discusses an interaction design approach employing social network analysis as a modelling tool to rewire anonymous 15-minute discussions on Reddit-supporting lectures in a graduate-level classroom of 17 graduate students at a large Midwestern University. Our design process relies on second-order cybernetics, a field understanding of how complex systems navigate their environments by constantly reconstructing their reference frames. A participant observer used network analysis as weekly cybernetic feedback to continually redesign the online discussion format and took field notes of face-to-face lectures to construct an ethnography. Discussions about collected data led to restructuring the format of the live chat with regard to the involvement of the instructor, the number of concurrent groups, and group selection processes. Our results suggest that rewiring the live discussions spurred the likelihood to create a cohesive learning community that could co-construct ideas in online discussions and face-to-face lectures.

Keywords: network science, interaction design, cybernetics, curriculum design

Pre-proceedings drafts are available for RSD11 participants to review. The corresponding paper number is at the end of the title. The papers have been peer-reviewed, and the authors have made revisions. Following RSD11, authors will have a final period to revise their work from the feedback received at RSD before the proceedings are formally published.

Posted September 2022

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Suggested Citation Format (APA)

Author(s) (20XX). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSDX) Symposium. rsdsymposium.org/LINK.