Document Type


Date of Award

Fall 1-31-2006

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems - (Ph.D.)


Information Systems

First Advisor

Starr Roxanne Hiltz

Second Advisor

Murray Turoff

Third Advisor

Katia Passerini

Fourth Advisor

Julian M. Scher

Fifth Advisor

Raquel Benbunan-Fich

Sixth Advisor

Thomas Erickson


When evaluating participation within an Asynchronous Learning Network (ALN), current best practices include counting messages and reviewing participant surveys. To understand the impact of more advanced dynamic measurement tools for use within an ALN, a web-based tool, known as iPET (the integrated Participation Evaluation Tool), was created. iPET, which leverages Social Network Analysis and Information Visualization techniques, was then evaluated via an empirical study. This research demonstrates that using a tool such as iPET increases participation within an ALN without increasing facilitator workload. Due to the fact that active online discussion is a key factor in the success of an ALN, this research demonstrates that dynamic measuring tools for online participation can help ensure a positive outcome within an online learning environment.