Text Analytics for Weekly Reflections and Classroom Learning Activities

Based on this week’s readings for Learning Analytics, I thought I’d reflect on which learning analytics activity and tool I want to incorporate and why using the design framework from Ch. 12 of the Handbook for getting started. Specifically, I’m interested in a blended learning approach incorporating a text analytics dashboard in order to tighten feedback loops between the professor and student.

The dashboard would give a a visually and interactively engaging approach for objectively pulling apart some of what the students are bringing in their reflections to the classroom, hopefully making them a more meaningful part of the learning that is taking place both inside and outside of it. Additionally, my hope is that it will be an engagement piece not only for the discussions, but for students to use as reference points as they lead learning activities, speak to their audience in group presentations, etc.

Questions for getting started


Why – What is the goal of the visualization? What questions about the data should it answer?

  • The goal is to visualize an interactive dashboard within the classroom as a continuous feedback piece, where together the professor and students can dig deeper into themes, emotions, depth of engagement or the lack thereof, cohesive argumentation and/or content mastery. In the attempt to understand these elements, the goal is not to assess but to understand as a means to propel or adapt learning activities in class and give the professor meaningful touchpoints to pull back to throughout the class.
  • A secondary goal would be to create a more meaningful interaction outside the classroom between student and their reflection process. My hypothesis is that by seeing and interacting with their reflections as a guiding tool for the class, the reflection itself will be less prone to the occasional weekly checkbox.


For whom – For whom is it intended? In what capacity are they engaging with the visualization?

  • For the Professor –  Give them insight as they read the reflections before class, and an engaging means to synthesize topics of discussion during the class. Also a means to adapt learning activities.
  • For the Students – Aware of the visualization ahead of time, referencing it during class either as a means to bring up new questions or ideas but also to potentially  lead parts of the discussion or connected learning activities.


What – What data will the visualization display? Do these data exhibit a specific internal structure? (time, hierarchy, a network)

  • The visualization has the capability to visualize various elements present within the texts:  (Emotion, complexity, cohesion, semantics, syntactics, content). In terms of structure I think we’ll see hierarchies and relationships.


How – How will the visualization support the goal? How will people be able to interact with the visualization? What is the intended output device?

  • Visualization will be an interactive engagement tool that can be referenced both at the beginning fo class to reflect the tone and tenor of engagements, but also throughout as a either a guiding or supporting piece to the various learning activities led by both the professor and students.
  • It would be interesting to see if the output device could be visualized on one of the smartboards in the class taking advantage of the touch screens in order to be manipulated in a tactile way as the data is explored. Failing that, mirroring the visualization on one of the smartboard there and having a nearby mobile device for interacting with the data would suffice.

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