Student Engagement and the LMS

Research Aim

UBC_UQThis joint research between UBC and Queensland University of Technology, Australia was funded through the Australian Learning and Teaching Council and UBC TLEF. The project developed a resource to firstly extract the student network data and then visually represent the interactions occurring within the online discussion forum. The visual representation of these emerging networks was designed to facilitate instructor understanding of student online engagement and the impact of specific learning and teaching activities.


  • Dr Shane Dawson
  • Michelle Lamberson
  • Aneesha Bakharia*
  • Leah Macfadyen

*The BlackBoard social network extraction script was developed by Aneesha Bakharia.


  • Displays Forum Statistics
  • Total Number of Posts
  • Post-Reply Frequency Table
  • SNA data in GraphML format
  • SNA data in NetDraw’s VNA format


  1. Install GreaseMonkey Firefox add-on.
  2. Restart Firefox.
  3. Uninstall previous versions. Select Tools, Greasemonkey, Manage User Scripts from the Firefox menu. Select the Blackboard SNA Forum Analysis Tool and click on the Uninstall button. Click Ok, to close the window.
  4. Click on this link to install: Blackboard and WebCT SNA Forum Analysis Tool
  5. Visit a Forum. A “Perform Social Network Analysis” link will be inserted. Click on this link. This link is located at the bottom of the page in WebCT.
  6. The SNA Analysis page will contain the number of posts, relationships and sna export data in GraphML and for the NetDraw Application (ie a .vna file). WebCT, by default limits the number of posts displayed per page. The SNA tool is only able to analyse data on that is displayed on a single page. In order to analyse a large forum, change the Paging Preferences to an appropriate number eg 200 posts per page. The Paging Preferences icon is displayed at the bottom of the forum page.
  7. You will need to save the generated txt to a .vna file. You can open and plot the graph in NetDraw. Inline graph plotting will be coming soon.

See it in Action

Using the Blackboard Forum SNA GreaseMonkey Script – User Guide

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Sites