Visualizations of Online Discourse

Updated: 11:38am, 14 Nov, 2022
13 February 2008 (Wed)
Room 101, 1/F., Runme Shaw Building, The University of Hong Kong
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Description:The amount of discourse generated online is growing at a staggering rate. Wikis, blogs, bulletin board systems and knowledge building environments provide exciting opportunities for participants and researchers in the Learning Sciences alike. But how can participants and researchers make sense of the discourse and the data? Traditional qualitative, quantitative and statistical analyses are often either impracticable or fail to capture the richness of the data. In this talk I will draw on data from Knowledge Forum, the first Knowledge Building Environment, to explore four roles of visualizations in Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL): (1) orientation, (2) data mining, (3) assessment, and (4) knowledge building. Entering a discourse space can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. Orientation refers to process by which a participant gains an understanding of context and perspective in the knowledge space. Data mining is an extension of orientation and is marked by the use of analytic software to assist a researcher���s attempts to detect patterns of interest. I will show how the use of force-directed layout algorithms can, in conjunction with structural and semantic linkages, be used for visual data mining. Building on this approach, I will demonstrate how semantic fields can be generated and used for assessment and show how assessment can be changed to be concurrent and embedded within the discourse environment. Finally, I will show some recent work on how visualization can be used to enhance epistemological reflection, which can act as a catalyst for further knowledge building.

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