The Key Concepts of SAA
Authors propose a new scientific specialty, Social Academic Analytics (SAA), in support of the development of suitable instruments for promoting virtual collaboration among the various types of entities or (as we will sometimes say) modes in the field of higher education: participants, resources, actions/tasks, locations/organizations, knowledge and/or events.
We introduce SAA as a paradigm comprising four key activities:
(1) extracting relational data from virtual higher education contexts;
(2) using the data to explore those contexts;
(3) monitoring social and learning activities;
(4) and preventing unwanted outcomes.
At the organizational level SAA refers to the process of extracting data from various entities for the purpose of exploring patterns of collaboration and structures within virtual organizations and knowledge networks as controlling instruments in decision-making processes. Virtual knowledge organizations such as we see in higher education  are describable as a multimodal network. SAA is as research technology capable of detecting hidden structures within virtual knowledge networks by means of applying its key activities of extraction, exploration, monitoring, and prevention so as to enhance interpretations of educational data systematically. Thus, (virtual) knowledge organizations can be studied as whole networks where the entity relationships are extracted from a macro perspective. SAA can be interpreted as a form of organizational analytics in (virtual) knowledge organizations (VKO) that allows the exploration of networks based on the presence or absence of connections between different types of entity.