Dr. Gruzd (@gruzd) & Dr. Haythornthwaite (@hthwaite) Awarded SSHRC Insight Grant


The Social Media Lab is pleased to announce that Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd, with co-applicant Caroline Haythornthwaite of the University of British Columbia and collaborator Dr. George Siemens of Athabasca University, has been awarded $478,622 by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) through an Insight grant for their new research initiative “Learning Analytics for the Social Media Age”.

“SSHRC offers one of the most competitive and prestigious research funding sources in Canada,” says Fiona Black, Associate Dean of Research. Each year SSHRC receives over 12,000 grant applications and awards funds to fewer than 5,000. This Insight Grant proposal by Dr. Gruzd & Dr. Haythornthwaite was ranked number one in its category. “In addition to its major contribution to new knowledge, Dr Gruzd’s project will directly benefit graduate students at the School of Information Management and is another reflection of the growing research strengths in Dalhousie’s Faculty of Management.”

This major five-year research initiative is designed to address the question “How do social media networks influence educational models?” The project involves developing novel learning analytics for the social media age. Learning analytics is “the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs.” One of the primary goals of this initiative is to devise new theoretical and technical solutions that will help educators and researchers to study learning processes in social media. Another goal of the initiative is to provide educators and learners with tools that will help them to determine whether their particular use of social media is beneficial to their teaching or learning.


Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd is the Director of the Dalhousie Social Media Lab at the School of Information Management, Faculty of Management. His research initiatives explore how social media and other web 2.0 technologies are changing the ways in which people communicate and disseminate information and how these changes are impacting and reshaping the norms and structures of our modern society. Dr. Gruzd is a past recipient of a SSHRC Standard Research Grant (2010-2013) and a Principal Investigator in the GRAND NCE.

Dr. Caroline Haythornthwaite is the Director & Professor at the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS), University of British Columbia. Her research areas explore the way interaction via computer media supports and affects work, learning, and social interaction, primarily from a social network analysis perspective.

Dr. George Siemens is an educator and researcher on learning, technology, networks, analytics, and openness in education at Athabasca University. He is the author of Knowing Knowledge, an exploration of how the context and characteristics of knowledge have changed and what it means to organizations today, and the Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning. Knowing Knowledge has been translated into Mandarin, Spanish, Italian, Persian, and Hungarian. Dr. Siemens is the Associate Director of the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute at Athabasca University, leading the learning analytics research team.