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RESEARCH TOPICS
 Automatic Evaluation of Essays
 Concept Mapping Techniques
 Visualization of Social Interaction in Virtual Environments

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LINKS
Educational Technology @ Department of Computer Science
Department of Computer Science in University of Joensuu

National Technology Agency of Finland(TEKES)
European Commission - Research Directorate

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Novo Group Plc
Sordino Information Systems

Intraweb

Visualization of the Social Interaction in Virtual Environments

This research topic was especially focused on producing a easily applicable Java-written graphical library enable user to visualize social interaction or relations of entities.

The environment, where this library has already been tested and used is a virtual learning environment, where this library visualizes the relations of the people participating the activities on discussion forum. With the help of visualization, it is easy for teacher to see, which people have actively participated on the discussions and which kind of group dynamics there are apparent among the people, that is who is actively discussing with whom.



Figure 1. Relations between certain student and her colleagues


Another already realized usage for this kind of visualization library is the relational view on learning objects. With the help of library and learning environment, the students are able to construct relational representations over the learning objects available in the learning environment. For example, the student can bind some web pages or discussions or other documents to certain learning object available in learning environment. This way she constructs networks of knowledge not relying on only concepts, but the contents behind them.




Figure 2. Relations between certain files


Moreover, the relations are subject to be animated with the help of the library. These animations can for example show the development of discussions on the discussion board on certain time scale. Such animation can be utilized for example when evaluating student activities over longer period of time. Animation would show, whether the discussion is going steadily or is it concentrated towards the beginning or the end of the time period under closer look.

Sami Nikula, firstname.lastname@cs.joensuu.fi

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