One of the things we’re working on at UTS is the development of analytic techniques to support students in their writing practices. I’ve been trying to think about the variety of tools available in that space, and possible categories (or a taxonomy) of these. For example, we have:
- Tools that support the structuring/planning of writing through writing frames
- Writing platforms, both to support particular types of writing exercise or genre, and just general writing spaces e.g. blogs, collaborative writing, etc, e.g. medium, wordpress, quoll
- Surface (syntax, format, spelling, grammar)
- Critique (i.e., giving effective critique, or peer/self assessment)
- Shallow semantic (word clouds)
- Deep(er) semantic (concept coverage, LSA/LDA, ontologies)
- Deep (rhetorical structure, cohesion)
- Genre targeted (self-reflection, factivity, creative writing)
- Collaborative (authorial integration, )
But of course, tools don’t fit into these categories (or any set of categories) in a 1-1 way, for example obviously machine learning tools can be used on any given set of features from the above tools, and ‘Quill’ is about critique (students identify problems) regarding surface features (the problems are to do with grammatical errors).
There are also distinctions between tools that are designed to face educators vs end users vs researchers, and that are task specific versus general. One thing of interest with a number of tools is that although they appear to be doing interesting things, there’s very little information regarding their methods or the association of the indicators shown to users and the desired outcome (e.g., learning).
Anyway, I have been collating a number of these tools into the presentation embedded below (I’ll update it as I find more – and please do get in touch with any things I’ve missed).