Online discussion groups, such as the popular BAUT Forum, bring together astronomy enthusiasts with amateur and professional astronomers to discuss astronomy news, views, and dreams. Within this digital community, we look to discover if an e-village can raise an astronomer. In this pilot study, we follow 3 individuals as they go from forum newbie to community elder. We examine their posting habits to determine if it is possible to quantify learning within the bulletin board-based forum environment. We specifically document how the difficulty levels of user questions and the patterns of their responses to questions can be used to document growth in knowledge base and confidence in material. In this poster, we put particular emphases on the creation, validation, and evaluation of our interpretive rubric used to track the development of our three users along the previously identified dimensions. In effect, can we create an objective tool to measure learning from participation in an e-village?The rubric will allow EPO evaluators to judge the effectiveness of forums in meeting both educational and community needs given limited finances. The rubric will also open up new avenues for educational researchers exploring the impact of internet-based learning tools. This tool is the first step in a broader study to assess learning within the BAUT Forum, the largest online astronomy forum. We strive to achieve a statistical significant sample of life-long learners.
EPO and a Changing World: Creating Linkages and Expanding Partnerships
- Pub Date:
- June 2008