Analyzing educators’ online interactions: a framework of online learning support roles

Denise C. Nacu*, Caitlin K. Martin, Nichole Pinkard, Tené Gray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


While the potential benefits of participating in online learning communities are documented, so too are inequities in terms of how different populations access and use them. We present the online learning support roles (OLSR) framework, an approach using both automated analytics and qualitative interpretation to identify and explore online teaching roles. We analyze the OLSR using data logs of iRemix, the online component of the Digital Youth Network, a face-to-face and online program for urban youth in underserved communities. In three middle-school classrooms, six educators used iRemix most to interact with individual students, especially as a window into their work. Although many roles were documented, few were played regularly, raising questions about design and intentionality. To address participation inequities, our results suggest that the OLSR and related data can be used to support productive practice improvement conversations among educators and to inform the design of online social learning networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-305
Number of pages23
JournalLearning, Media and Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2016


  • blended learning
  • data visualizations
  • online data analysis
  • online teaching roles
  • social networking platforms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Media Technology


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