The Relationship Between Offline Social Capital and Online Learning Interactions
This article examines the interplay between offline social capital and online interactivity in higher education’s online learning discussions. In a field study, we examine networks of interactions extracted from the online discussions and offline acquittance questionnaire of four classes. Two classes belong to a traditional brick-and-mortar university, where an offline acquaintance is a common resource, and two classes belong to a distance-learning university with a loose offline acquaintance. We analyzed the offline and online networks of interactions at the individual, dyadic, and community levels. We found that there is a positive association between offline social capital and online learning interactions across all classes at the individual and dyadic levels. Using network analysis, we found evidence for a substitutional relationship between the offline and online networks at the community level, thus suggesting that online interactions may be encouraged as a complementing dimension of offline social capital.