Discussion Forums, Learning Analytics,
Learner Engagement, Technical Communication
Learning analytics (LA) refers to the collection and analysis of learners’ interactions with virtual learning environments (VLEs) and other information systems, with the aim of improving the overall teaching and learning experience. Most VLEs, including Blackboard, Moodle, and Sakai, collect data about how students interact with VLE resources and with one another. In terms of forum-based interaction on VLEs, LA can measure which students posted, when they posted, how many words they posted, and which resources they accessed around that time. This paper uses a case study to demonstrate how LA data can be used to evaluate engagement in technical communication discussion forums. The paper also outlines some techniques for measuring participation in
forum-based activities, using LA data available in most VLEs.
School of English, Irish and Communication; Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Research Committee