Social network analysis (SNA) is an excellent observational tool for understanding community formation in the classroom. Students engaged in the classroom community might be more likely to persist in a major or discipline. Classroom community structure, therefore, could be an indication of effective teaching practices that help retain students. However, SNA is largely untested as a tool to identify disengaged students who could benefit from instructor intervention. A pilot study of undergraduates in biological sciences laboratory classes at a public, southeastern, land-grant university demonstrated a statistically significant negative relationship between self-reported likelihood of changing disciplines and formation of ties with other students. We propose that SNA could allow instructors to identify disengaged students that are at risk of leaving their discipline and make recommendations for re-engaging such students.
Dylan Dittrich-Reed, Clemson University, United States
Andrew Kardohely, Clemson University, United States
Stream: Higher education
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