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Abstract Title: Investigating Student Communities with Network Analysis of Interactions in a Physics Learning Center
Abstract: We describe our initial efforts at implementing social network analysis to visualize and quantify student interactions in Florida International University's Physics Learning Center. Developing a sense of community among students is one of the three pillars of an overall reform effort to increase participation in physics, and the sciences more broadly, at FIU. Our implementation of a research and learning community, embedded within a course reform, has led to increased recruitment and retention of physics majors. Finn and Rock [1997] link the academic and social integration of students to increased rates of retention. To identify these social interactions, we have initiated an investigation that utilizes network diagrams to identify primary community participants. Community interactions are then characterized through the network's density and connectivity, shedding light on learning communities and participation. Preliminary results, further research questions, and future directions utilizing social network analysis will be presented.

Work supported by NSF #PHY-0802184.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster
Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Eric Brewe
Dept of Curr. & Inst, Dept of Physics, Florida International University
11200 SW 8th St
ZEB 215a
Miami, FL 33199
Phone: 305-348-3507
and Co-Presenter(s)
Laird Kramer, laird.kramer -at- fiu.edu
Dept. of Physics, Florida International University

George O'Brien, obrieng -at- fiu.edu
Dept. of Curr. & Inst., Florida International University