This project proposes a pervasive sensing-based study on the physical and cyber social networks of students, and how these networks are related to and impact on students’ social relations, study habits, learning space design, discourse patterns, problem solving as well as academic outcome. Mobile computing platforms will be used to track interactions among students and collect information such as key words used in conversations, length of use per conversation between users, affective state of users, language environment and discourse patterns. The project aims to design and implement state-of-the-art pervasive-sensing technology to study social networks of students and the impact on various academic, social, and psychological outcomes. Our project will develop two different innovative technologies to uniquely collect spatial and temporal data (information about the proximity, location and time cluster of social beings), affective data (arousal: active/passive; valence: positive/negative), as well as confabulatory data (discourse and code-switch patterns). This research effort combines expertise from psychology and computer science to perform interdisciplinary research on the understanding and analyzing of social network information, social dynamics and psycholinguistics.
This project is a novel approach to differentiating and analysing social network in various social / psychological echelons. It provides an ingenious way to capture and analyse behaviors such as social and academic support, physical and emotional proximity, collaborative problem-solving, turn-taking and code-switching in real-time, in association with various important factors such as environment, timing, attitudes, and academic achievement. The results of the study can have multiple impacts on the broader scholarly landscape that include social and cognitive psychology, sociology, anthropology, linguistics, and education. The technology and middleware developed for pervasive sensing on mobile computing platforms can be a solid foundation for future pervasive-sensing-based projects and spark off new ideas and collaborative efforts in innovative research design and real-world applications to address societal needs.