Developing and using an in-house plugin for easy social network programming (abstract only)

Abstract

Incorporating social networks in the curriculum to better engage students has gained a lot of attention as a result of the popularity of social networks with college students. We introduce EasySocial, a social network plugin for Eclipse, written by a CS educator, the second author of this poster. The goal of the plugin is for students to be able to easily write code using their own personal data, e.g. on their Facebook or Twitter account, with minimal knowledge of the specific social network API. The EasySocial plugin has several features which makes it useful in our CS classes: it seamlessly embeds the process for authenticating with Facebook; it abstracts the process for making HTTP requests and parsing various data formats, such as JavaScript Object Notation (JSON); it integrates Gephi functionality, so that students can access Gephi's powerful functions for network analysis and visualization in their Java programs. We used the plugin in our Fall 2013 Data Mining course for CS undergraduate students in order to quickly introduce them to social data visualization and social network analysis concepts such as community detection. The students easily wrote Java code to visualize their network graph and detect communities. We received a very positive response, and several students expressed enthusiasm about the programming aspect as well as the application topic. Future plans include further employing EasySocial in other courses, for example to help students in entry-level courses understand programming concepts, such as arrays and loops.

DOI: 10.1145/2538862.2544277

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Koufakou2014DevelopingAU, title={Developing and using an in-house plugin for easy social network programming (abstract only)}, author={Anna Koufakou and Dahai Guo}, booktitle={SIGCSE}, year={2014} }