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One of the most widely-used Web artefacts utilised for creating virtual communities is the Web forum. The analysis of interaction and collaboration within these communities can be done by qualitative and quantitative analysis (for example, content analysis or numbers of «posted» messages), but also by considering relational data.
In this paper, we present the potential of Social Network Analysis (SNA) to analyse the Web forum interactions realised within two virtual communities of students. This type of analysis offers many indications with graphical representations (sociograms) to describe and analyse the structure and
the components of bonds and collaboration within a virtual community and to describe and analyse the inﬂuence of individual role and position on the interactions realised. The SNA seems to be an advantageous method both for research purposes and as a support for the tutor/moderator during the
e-Learning process (monitoring critical events such as isolation, catalysing discussion and non-reciprocity interactions). In addition, we also present some practical and conceptual critical issues that the researcher and the tutor must consider in applying the SNA to virtual communities of learners.
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