Due to its flexibility and effectiveness, blended learning has become popular in higher education. Previous studies have discussed and presented various methods and cases that one can use and leverage in blended courses. Other studies have described and examined the technology and/or systems that support blended learning. However, no research has examined student learning from the social network perspective. Compared with traditional face-to-face instruction, blended learning incorporates a great portion of online activities. Thus, blended learning typically features fewer interactions among students, teaching assistants (if any), and instructors. Therefore, we need to examine whether and how (if any) social networks among students, peer teaching assistants, and instructors could influence student learning in the blended environment. To do so, we developed and tested a research model with a large sample size of 699 students who took a blended class. The results indicated that all three types of networks (including student-student networks, student-peer TA networks, and student-instructor networks) significantly influenced both social presence and interaction, which, in turn, had significant impacts on learning climate and perceived academic performance.
Dang, M. Y., Zhang, G. Y., & Amer, B. (2019). Social Networks among Students, Peer TAs, and Instructors and Their Impacts on Student Learning in the Blended Environment: A Model Development and Testing. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 44, pp-pp. https://doi.org/10.17705/1CAIS.04436