Teaching Using Facebook

I am planning a new course to teach at Bucknell called “Six Degrees.” I plan to do a mix of social networks and network science in other domains (like communictaion and transportation networks). The class is called a foundation seminar and it is limited to First Years and is meant to provide an introduction to college rigor.

Through media reports, I heard about facebook, my space, and the other “live” web sites and apps. (Link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12015774/site/newsweek/)

It occured to me that maybe I could use my students’ inetrest and involvement with this type of site as the basis for a series of assignments where they would collect data on their own network, anyalyse it with network software, and then do some analytical and creative writing assignments with their own analysis.

I am trying traditional and reaching out research to collect ideas. So far, this seems to be novel.

I am worried about two feasibility issues:
1) Can the students get network data in a sociomatrix for ease of analysis?
2) Will their networks be “interetsing”? I mean, will there be variation (cross-sectionally or longitudinally) in density, subgroups, roles, centrality (measured different ways)?

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