SNAPP is a software tool that allows users to visualize the network of interactions resulting from discussion forum posts and replies. The network visualisations of forum interactions provide an opportunity for teachers to rapidly identify patterns of user behaviour – at any stage of course progression. SNAPP has been developed to extract all user interactions from various commercial and open source learning management systems (LMS) such as BlackBoard (including the former WebCT), and Moodle. SNAPP is compatible for both Mac and PC users and operates in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari.
Most of the student data generated from Learning Management Systems (LMS) include reports on the number of sessions (log-ins), dwell time (how long the log-in lasted) and number of downloads. This tells us a lot about content retrieval in a transmission model of learning and teaching, but not about how students are interacting with each other in more socio-constructivist practice. Discussion forum activity is a good indicator of student interactions and is systemically captured by most LMS. SNAPP uses information on who posted and replied to whom, and what major discussions were about, and how expansive they were, to analyse the interactions of a forum and display it in a Social Network Diagram. The following figures illustrate how SNAPP re-interprets discussion forum postings into a network diagram.