Exploring spheres of sharing: Analysis of contributions to Cloudworks – Part 2

In my last post I begun an analysis of 250 subscribers to the teaching and learning sharing website Cloudworks – the post presented some headline data relating to size, rate and longevity of contributions. Of course, the next step is to get under the skin of these data to begin unpacking patterns of engagement. To do this, it would be useful to have a representational form capable of showing which Clouds (web-pages) the subscriber contributed to, what they contributed, how much, the time between contributions, and, importantly, how all this fits in to the wider sequence of contributions to these Clouds by others. 

Visualising these patterns should better equip us for interpreting subscriber activity. I’ve come up with a method for representing the contributions made by an individual subscriber (although this should work for representing contributions by one or many to any collection of Clouds). The approach aims to visualise the contributions made to a Cloud in columns running across the chart, and to show the alternating periods of activity (contributions) and inactivity in rows. Symbols represent the contributions made by different groups – in this case by the individual subscriber, members of the team developing the site, and other Cloudworks subscribers.

The following three images present: an example of one the more prolific contributors in my sample; a key to the diagram; and an annotated diagram explaining how to interpret the layout.

There is an interesting pattern of engagement shown in the above example with an intense spell of activity within the first two months (6 periods) although no contributions since. We see how the individual configures the Clouds they create (adding comments and links early on) and can see what the impact and interest in the ones they formed (such as columns 5 & 6) is compared to other Clouds they contributed to (for example, those established by a project team member given in columns 3, 4 & 7). It is also interesting to note that the subscriber often contributes to several Clouds in the same ‘period’ of activity. This may indicate that when they do log-on they look across several of the Clouds they are (or have been) interested in.

The next visualisation (below) shows the contributions made to Cloudworks by another subscriber in the sample. The diagram format certainly supports a quick comparison with others, such as the one above. It shows the number of contributions is lower, as are the periods in which contributions were made, and that the pattern appears to differ too. We find this subscriber joins several established (and popular) discussions and contributes in the later stages of these, and their one attempt to generate discussions by posting a cloud failed to yield any comments.

Of course, whilst interesting to look at those whose made several contributions, we must not forget there were many others who made one, or no, contributions (see below).

I now plan to draw and compare representations from the full group of twenty-nine subscribers in the sample whose contributions spanned more than 3 days.

Please use the following to reference this post:

Cross, S.J. (2010) ‘Exploring spheres of sharing: Analysis of contributions to Cloudworks – Part 2’, Latestendeavour Blog, weblog post, 9 March, <https://latestendeavour.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/exploring-spheres-of-sharing-analysis-of-contributions-to-cloudworks-part-2/>

One Response to Exploring spheres of sharing: Analysis of contributions to Cloudworks – Part 2

  1. crisismaven says:

    This is a GREAT site! Will put you into my Data Visualisation References resource list! (Will be updated a little later today, please be patient.)

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