Time and date: Wed December 11, 2019, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Eastern US time (11 Dec 4–5 pm UK, 5–6 pm Central European)
Location: Zoom (meeting URL provided in the registration email)
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Researchers and educators have developed computer-based tools, such as automated writing evaluation (AWE) systems, to increase opportunities for students to produce natural language responses in a variety of contexts and subsequently to alleviate some of the pressures facing writing instructors due to growing class sizes. Although a wealth of research has been conducted to validate the accuracy of the scores provided by these systems, much less attention has been paid to the pedagogical and rhetorical elements of the systems that use these scores. In this webinar, I will provide an overview of case studies wherein writing analytics principles have been applied to educational data. I will provide an overview of multi-methodological approaches to writing analytics that rely on natural language processing techniques to investigate the properties of students’ essays across multiple linguistic dimensions. This approach focuses on the notion that there are multiple linguistic dimensions of the texts that students produce. Some surface-level features relate to the characteristics of the words and sentences in texts and can alter the style of the essay, as well as influence its readability and perceived sophistication. Further, discourse-level features can be calculated that go beyond the words and sentences. These features reflect higher-level aspects of the writing such as the degree of narrativity in the essay. Webinar attendees will gain a sense of both the conceptual issues and practical concerns involved in developing and using writing analytics tools for the analysis of multi-dimensional natural language data.
Dr. Laura K. Allen is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of New Hampshire. She earned a B.A. in English Literature and Foreign Languages from Mississippi State University (2010), followed by a M.A. (2015) and Ph.D. from Arizona State University (2017). The principal aim of Dr. Allen’s research has been to theoretically and empirically investigate the higher-level cognitive skills that are required for successful text comprehension and production, as well as the ways in which performance in these domains can be enhanced through strategy instruction and training. This line of research has been accompanied by a second line of work that explores how educational technologies can be leveraged to facilitate learning. The overall goal of this research is to develop educational technologies and methodologies that will have a broad impact on current practices in writing research and instruction across multiple dimensions.