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A Roadmap for Incorporating Online Social Media in Educational Research

by Hamid Karimi, Tyler Derr, Kaitlin T. Torphy, Kenneth A. Frank & Jilaing Tang - 2019

Thanks to advancements in communication and online social media, there has been a surge of useful online educational resources across the Internet. In addition to supplementing educational materials, these resources could be used in varying education research and potentially advance the quality of education. Nevertheless, conducting such research projects requires using big data techniques and approaches to find meaningful resources and harnessing them in an effective way. In this chapter, we present a roadmap for how to incorporate online social media in education research projects. The roadmap consists of three major components: project initialization, data collection, and data utilization. Furthermore, we present some learned lessons, tips, and tricks, as well as case studies from the Teachers in Social Media project (www.teachersinsocialmedia.com/). We believe this chapter can be used as a practical reference point for many researchers whose concern is connecting data to their education research endeavors.

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Research reported in this paper was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency under project ID number (10332.02 RaCHem PHI) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) under grant number IIS1845081.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 121 Number 14, 2019, p. -
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 23045, Date Accessed: 1/29/2020 3:08:33 AM

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About the Author
  • Hamid Karimi
    Michigan State University
    E-mail Author
    HAMID KARIMI is a fourth-year PhD student of computer science at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) at Michigan State University (MSU) and a member of the Data Science and Engineering Lab. He obtained his BS (2010) in computer engineering from the University of Isfahan and his MS (2012) in information technology from Urmia University. His PhD advisor is Dr. Jiliang Tang, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering. His research interests are in machine learning, data mining, natural language processing, social network analysis, and misinformation detection. Mr. Karimi has published several papers in the top conferences and journals on networking, social network analysis, big data, and machine learning, and he has several other papers under review. He received the best paper award for his paper presented at the 2018 IEEE-ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, which is one of the top conferences in social network analysis; the MSU Engineering Leadership Fellowship for directing undergraduate summer research and education in the College of Engineering at MSU; and the Best Student Service award from the CSE department at MSU. Moreover, he is an active member of the Teachers in Social Media project at MSU, where he develops data mining and machine learning models and algorithms to characterize instructional resources in online social media. For more information about Mr. Karimiís professional and academic activities please refer to his web page: http://cse.msu.edu/~karimiha/.
  • Tyler Derr
    Michigan State University
    E-mail Author
    TYLER DERR is a fourth-year PhD student in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Michigan State University. He obtained his MS in computer science and dual BS degrees in computer science and mathematical sciences from The Pennsylvania State University in 2015 and 2013, respectively. His research interests are in data mining and social network analysis. He has published several papers in these domains at top international conferences, such as ASONAM, CIKM, and ICDM, while receiving travel awards to present his work. Professionally, he serves as a regular reviewer and program committee member for numerous journals and conferences. He is also a member of the Teachers in Social Media project at Michigan State University. For more information about Mr. Derrís professional and academic activities please refer to his web page.
  • Kaitlin Torphy
    Michigan State University
    E-mail Author
    KAITLIN TORPHY is the lead researcher and founder of the Teachers in Social Media project at Michigan State University. This project considers the intersection of cloud to class, the nature of resources within virtual resource pools, and implications for equity as educational spaces grow increasingly connected. Dr. Torphy conceptualizes the emergence of a teacherpreneurial guild in which teachers turn to one another for instructional content and resources. She has expertise in teachersí engagement across virtual platforms, teachersí physical and virtual social networks, and education policy reform. Dr. Torphy was a co-PI and presenter for an American Education Research Association conference convened in October 2018 at Michigan State University on social media and education. She has published work on charter school impacts, curricular reform, teachersí social networks, and presented work regarding teachersí engagement within social media at the national and international level. Her other work examines diffusion of sustainable practices across social networks within The Nature Conservancy. Dr. Torphy earned a PhD in education policy, a specialization in the economics of education from Michigan State University in 2014, and is a Teach for America alumna and former Chicago Public Schools teacher.
  • Kenneth Frank
    Michigan State University
    KENNETH FRANK received his PhD in measurement, evaluation and statistical analysis from the School of Education at the University of Chicago in 1993. He is MSU Foundation Professor of Sociometrics, professor in Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education; and adjunct (by courtesy) in Fisheries and Wildlife and Sociology at Michigan State University. His substantive interests include the study of schools as organizations, social structures of students and teachers and school decision making, and social capital. His substantive areas are linked to several methodological interests: social network analysis, sensitivity analysis, and causal inference (http://konfound-it.com), and multilevel models. His publication topics include quantitative methods for representing relations among actors in a social network, robustness indices for sensitivity analysis for causal inferences, and the effects of social capital in schools, natural resource management, and other social contexts. Dr. Frankís current projects include how beginning teachersí networks affect their response to the Common Core; how schools respond to increases in core curricular requirements; school governance; teachersí use of social media (www.teachersinsocialmedia.com/); implementation of the Carbon TIME science curriculum (http://carbontime.bscs.org/); epistemic network analysis (www.epistemicnetwork.org/); social network intervention in natural resources and construction management; complex decision-making in health care; and the diffusion of knowledge about climate change.
  • Jilaing Tang
    Michigan State University
    E-mail Author
    JILIANG TANG is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Michigan State University. Before that, he was a research scientist at Yahoo Research. He earned his PhD from Arizona State University in 2015. He has broad interests in social computing, data mining, and machine learning. He was the recipient of the Best Paper Award in ASONAM 2018, the 2018 Criteo Faculty Award, the Best Student Paper Award in WSDM2018, the Best Paper Award for KDD2016, the runner up for the Best KDD Dissertation Award in 2015, and the best paper shortlist of WSDM2013. He is now associate editor of ACM TKDD, ICWSM, and Neurocomputing. He has published his research in highly ranked journals and top conference proceedings, which has received thousands of citations and extensive media coverage.
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