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Facts and figures or prayers and hugs: how people with different health conditions support each other online

Facts and figures or prayers and hugs: how people with different health conditions support each other online

Online support groups are being used increasingly by individuals who suffer from a wide range of medical conditions. OII DPhil Student Ulrike Deetjen‘s recent article with John Powell, Informational and emotional elements in online support groups: a Bayesian approach to large-scale content analysis uses machine learning to examine the role of online support groups in the healthcare process. They categorise 40,000 online posts […]

Examining the data-driven value chains that are changing Rwanda’s tea sector

There has been a lot of hope and publicity about the economic potential of increased Internet connectivity in the East African region; including the hope of disintermediation and better connection to global markets. Chris Foster discusses the findings of an OII project on Development and Broadband Internet Access in East Africa. Through surveys, interviews and in-depth observations, the project examines the expectations and stated potentials of broadband Internet in East Africa, comparing those expectations to the on-the-ground effects of broadband connectivity.

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Why haven’t digital platforms transformed firms in developing countries? The Rwandan tourism sector explored

There has been a lot of hope and publicity about the economic potential of increased Internet connectivity in the East African region; including the hope of disintermediation and better connection to global markets. Chris Foster discusses the findings of an OII project on Development and Broadband Internet Access in East Africa. Through surveys, interviews and in-depth observations, the project examines the expectations and stated potentials of broadband Internet in East Africa, comparing those expectations to the on-the-ground effects of broadband connectivity.

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Gender gaps in virtual economies: are there virtual ‘pink’ and ‘blue’ collar occupations?

Determinants of economic wellbeing have long been investigated from many angles in the social sciences: a key finding that is consistent across economies and time periods is that women tend to earn less income and hold less wealth than men. But what about in online (virtual) economies? OII Research Fellow Vili Lehdonvirta discusses how by looking at player gender and character gender separately, we can distinguish between “being” female and “appearing to be” female, and see how they are related to economic outcomes. His article (with R.A.Ratan, T.L.Kennedy, and D.Williams) Pink and Blue Pixel$: Gender and Economic Disparity in Two Massive Online Games, is published in The Information Society 30 (4) 243-255.

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What are the limitations of learning at scale? Investigating information diffusion and network vulnerability in MOOCs

Despite the speculation about the role massively open online courses (MOOCs) may play in higher education, empirical research that explores the realities of interacting and learning in MOOCs is in its infancy. Rebecca Eynon, PI of an OII project on Conceptualising interaction and learning in MOOCs discusses how her analysis (with Nabeel Gillani, Taha Yasseri, and Isis Hjorth) of nearly 87,000 individuals from one MOOC helps us to understand the ways that learners interact in these settings. Full paper: Gillani, N., Yasseri, T., Eynon, R., and Hjorth, I. (2014) Structural limitations of learning in a crowd – communication vulnerability and information diffusion in MOOCs. Scientific Reports 4.

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The life and death of political news: using online data to measure the impact of the audience agenda

The political agenda has always been shaped by what the news media decide to publish, and the question of how much influence the audience has in these decisions has always been ambiguous. To assess the possible influence of new audience metrics on decisions made by political news editors, Jonathan Bright and Tom Nicholls undertook a large-scale study of the relationship between readership statistics and article lifetime, described in their article: The Life and Death of Political News: Measuring the Impact of the Audience Agenda Using Online Data.

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