Influential students detection in an e-learning discussion forum using degree centrality metric

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Learning environment has been extended not just in physical environment but also in virtual environment. Active learning activity such as discussion can take place virtual environment using discussion forum. Learning management system provides this feature and several other learning activities. Students use the discussion forum to discuss issues or enquire information of related topics stimulated by the teacher or lecturer or by the students themselves. Interaction between students would take place in this discussion forum, a student may post in-reply to others or add a new post. The layout of a typical discussion forum is leading to the difficulty of analyze the interaction network between students and thus identifying who is the most influential student or the most dominant student in the discussion forum. In our research, we used theories from social network analysis (a part of complex network) to build an interaction network between students in the forum and used the degree centrality metric to detect the most influential student in the discussion forum. We extracted the online discussion forum data from the database of a moodle-based learning management system used in our university which is called SCeLE, short for student-centered learning environment. We focused on one course which has several parallel classes. Despite having a very low number of students participating in the online discussion forum, we have managed to identify the most influential student in the discussion forum using degree centrality metric.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6974-6978
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Issue numberSpecialissue5
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Complex network
  • Degree centrality
  • E-Learning
  • Metric
  • Online discussion forum
  • Social network analysis


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