presentation on visualizing online discourse

I gave a presentation at the University of Calgary’s Collaboration for Learning conference today, on some of the visualizations I built as part of my thesis research. I made a point of avoiding talking about the thesis itself, but presented some of the key visualizations of metadata and coding data. I also made a point […]

I gave a presentation at the University of Calgary’s Collaboration for Learning conference today, on some of the visualizations I built as part of my thesis research. I made a point of avoiding talking about the thesis itself, but presented some of the key visualizations of metadata and coding data. I also made a point of only having enough slides to last for no more than half of the allotted time, in order to ensure enough awkward silence to hopefully prompt an active discussion. Kind of worked, almost.

The presentation was intended to show what kind of information can be gleaned from examining the system-generated or -inferred metadata (title, date, author, wordcount, etc…), and contrasting that with what can be learned by “cracking open” the posts and conducting a latent semantic analysis using a coding template. The conference theme was “collaboration for learning” – so I was trying to take a slightly different angle, to see if it was possible to show what collaboration might look like by analysing online discussions.

Some of the points I made during the setup:

  • normalizing online discussion data across platforms is hard, labour-intensive, and not likely to be done by anyone who isn’t a desperate grad student trying to finish a research project before running out of time in their MSc program…
  • looking at the metadata can be surprisingly enlightening – especially when mapped in a timeline view. Why on earth don’t more online discussion analyses use timeline views rather than coarse aggregations at the week/month/semester level?
  • pretty pictures are impressive, but often don’t actually tell you anything. I’m looking at you, Wordle.

Some of the points that came up in discussion:

  • the coding-data analysis may not be necessary to learn much of what can be inferred through more automatable metadata analysis, especially when combined with sources of data (like, radically, talking to the participants…)
  • having better coding-data analysis tools may not be as awesome as it sounds, as there is the potential for having nasty feedback loops if the discussion analysis is available to participants during the discussion itself.

Anyway.

Herein, the presentation. In PDF and/or PPT formats. No audio was recorded…

Canadian Learning Commons conference session on DS106

blurb about the conference via @ppival: On May 7-9, 2012 the University of Calgary hosted the 6th Canadian Learning Commons Conference. The theme of the conference was New Media, New Fluencies and Life Skills Development: Preparing Learners for the 21st Century. I was asked to do a session, and worked up a presentation describing how […]

blurb about the conference via @ppival:

On May 7-9, 2012 the University of Calgary hosted the 6th Canadian Learning Commons Conference. The theme of the conference was New Media, New Fluencies and Life Skills Development: Preparing Learners for the 21st Century.

I was asked to do a session, and worked up a presentation describing how the DS106 course experience can be framed as a student-centric learning commons, placing the student in the role of teacher (and vice versa). Wherein, I used the words “cool” and “awesome” entirely too often.

Probably the biggest “holy crap” moment in the presentation, if there was one, was the Inspire site built by students in the course. Students, deciding they needed better tools to share and showcase each other’s work. So they built it. Cool. Awesome.

Annnnyhoo…

Session proceedings, including my presentation on DS106, are now up on the UofC DSpace collection. A repository, if you will. Of learning-object-like resources.

Leslie Reid on team projects in large classes

I had the distinct pleasure of introducing Dr. Leslie Reid this morning, for her presentation “Creating Team Projects that Work in Large Classes: Redesigning a Large Science ‘Service’ Course” – part of the Teaching & Learning Centre’s 10th anniversary series of presentations. She talks about her experience in redesigning a large class (300 students with […]

I had the distinct pleasure of introducing Dr. Leslie Reid this morning, for her presentation “Creating Team Projects that Work in Large Classes: Redesigning a Large Science ‘Service’ Course” – part of the Teaching & Learning Centre’s 10th anniversary series of presentations. She talks about her experience in redesigning a large class (300 students with 13 weeks of lectures) into a format based on group projects (250 students with 6 weeks of lectures and 6 weeks of group work).

The video recording of the presentation is just over an hour long, and includes some questions from some of the faculty members in attendance. I recorded the session with my little Flip Ultra camera, and it did a surprisingly good job.