Seminar: learning to write in collaboration

13 October 2010

The ability to write clearly and effectively is critical to success within and beyond the university, yet large numbers of students continue to struggle with this skill. Can technology help support students in improving the quality of their writing? This seminar will present a study that uses computer mining techniques to analyze different processes that groups of writers follow when they write collaboratively, as well as how these correlate to the quality of the final work.

Process Mining to Support Student Collaborative Writing - Writing, particularly collaborative writing is a commonly needed skill. Investigating how ideas and concepts are developed during the process of writing can be used to improve, not only the quality of the written documents, but more importantly, the writing skills of those involved. In this presentation, we look at how process mining is used to analyze the process that groups of writers follow, and how the process correlates to the quality and semantic features of the final product. Particularly, we developed heuristics to extract the semantic nature of text changes during writing. These semantic changes were then used to identify writing activities in writing processes. We conducted a pilot study using documents collected from groups of undergraduate students writing collaboratively in order to evaluate the proposed heuristics and illustrate the applicability of process mining techniques in analyzing the writing process. This work was recently presented at the International conference, Educational Data mining 2010, where it was awarded "Best 'Young Researcher Track' Paper".

Vilaythong Southavilay ("Toto") is undertaking PhD research at the School of Information Technologies, at the University of Sydney. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to undertake his Masters degree in Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago (2002-2004). He received a Bachelors in Computer Science from the the University of Canberra (2000) under an Australian Agency for International Development Scholarship. Originally from Laos, Toto has also worked in industry for companies in the U.S. and lectured at the National University of Laos.

This seminar is one of a series on the sciences and technologies of learning, brought to you by the Centre for Research on Computer Supported Learning and Cognition (CoCo).

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Time: 11:30am-12:30pm (11:15 for light refreshments)

Location: Rm 230, Education Bldg. A35, The University of Sydney

Cost: Free

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