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Sci Rep. 2013;3:1174. doi: 10.1038/srep01174. Epub 2013 Jan 30.

The rich club phenomenon in the classroom.

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1
Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, Bristol BS34 8QZ, UK.

Abstract

We analyse the evolution of the online interactions held by college students and report on novel relationships between social structure and performance. Our results indicate that more frequent and intense social interactions generally imply better score for students engaging in them. We find that these interactions are hosted within a "rich-club", mediated by persistent interactions among high performing students, which is created during the first weeks of the course. Low performing students try to engage in the club after it has been initially formed, and fail to produce reciprocity in their interactions, displaying more transient interactions and higher social diversity. Furthermore, high performance students exchange information by means of complex information cascades, from which low performing students are selectively excluded. Failure to engage in the rich club eventually decreases these students' communication activity towards the end of the course.

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