Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Analysing Elluminate dialogue

Bit of a summer break between blog posts, during which I've turned my attention from the Twitter stream around the OU online conference in June to the Elluminate chat around the presentations.
I'm still looking for indicators of exploratory talk that can be used to identify where learning is likely to be taking place.
People at the conference used chat a lot. For example, to take the afternoon session of 22 June, there were 858 separate contributions. I can divide these roughly into four groupings:
  • chat about content (526 contributions)
  • chat about tools (101 contributions about eg the conference format, Elluminate and Twitter)
  • social chat (215 contributions including hi, bye and thanks)
  • and blank contributions (16). 
That means about 61% of the chat was focused on the content of the presentation. This seems pretty high - I've got a presentation from an old ALT conference running on my computer at the moment, and nobody has typed anything in the chat box during the first half hour.
I've picked out 94 words and phrases that could be indicators of exploratory dialogue. These include 'have you looked at', 'have you read', 'do you mean', 'my understanding' and 'next step'.
Here's an example of a chat contribution that my indicators flag as a possible example of exploratory dialogue.
An initial run-through suggests that this list is good for picking out the areas where learning dialogue seems to be taking place. As you'd expect, the exploratory dialogue is mainly in the sections of the chat related to content, and there are not only areas where these indicators are more common but also people who use these words and phrases more than others.

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