A major concern for a great number of people is finding the most effective means to teach others who then get good grades. Many professors are trying to encourage their students to interact online in order to share information and do better in the class. Now researchers at the University of California, San Diego have analyzed these interactions to learn what works and who works together.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, those students who were most active online were most likely to receive high grades. These high achievers also were the most likely to form strong connections and use more complex methods to share information. The researchers also discovered that these same students formed cliques and had the effect of shutting out poorer performing students. Those shut-out students then appeared to be more likely to drop out of the class.
As with many studies, it is important to remember that correlation does not imply causation, though the researchers are going to try to use this to identify students at risk of dropping out before they actually do.