Willoughby Workshops

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Next week we’ll have our Willoughby workshops, a week of hands on practice for faculty to use and discuss technologies that can help with their teaching and/or research. Most of our notes, as always, are public Google Docs. We’ll encourage them to tweet using #wfp13. Any comments or questions are very welcome.

Dickinson Study Abroad

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Dickinson study abroad, Fall 2013 and Academic Year 2013-2014

Nodes are either majors or locations. Edges are created by each major going to a destination. Size of node determined by connectionss (degrees).

Download then open this file with Gephi. FYI, this is beta, and it can show sometimes. There’s no “undo”, so save often, very often, if working for real. Choose ‘Directed’ when it opens.

Click the ‘Overview’ tab above.

Under ‘Statistics’, run ‘Modularity’. OK and Close

Partition tab, Nodes, click Refresh.
Choose ‘Modularity Class’ as parameter.
Now we have our communties.

There’s a slider bar for Edge Weight at the bottom, the one towards the left. Slide it left until you can easily see nodes and edges.

Ranking tab, Nodes, size (the diamond shape)
Select ‘Degree’ and Apply
Nodes are large based on number of connections (degrees)
Note where you can change Max size

If you want to rank nodes by color
Ranking tab, Nodes, color wheel
Select Modularity Class and Apply


Choose Layout ‘Force Atlas’ and run.
Right click and hold to move around.
Scroll to zoom in
Choose Layout ‘Expansion’ and run until you have some space

Click the first ‘T’ to show the labels
Click the ‘A’ for ‘Size mode’ and choose ‘Node size’. The larger the node, based on connection, larger font.
Adjust font size with the second slider to right.

Left click and drag individual nodes so you can see labels and no extreme outliers.

Click the Preview tab above
Select ‘Show labels’ under ‘Nodes’
Make the font size just below to ‘5’
‘Refresh’ at very bottom to see changes

File -> Export -> SVG/PDF/PNG
Choose PNG. In Options specify a larger size, I used 1500 by 1500 for large image.



Digital Humanities Authors

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Data extracted from Google Scholar via “Publish or Perish” program. 1000 authors who matched phrase “digital humanities”. Node size is based on their article with largest citation number. Edges created between authors by co-writing article.

Start with DigitalHumanitiesFinalDataImported.gephi This saves importing Nodes and Edges table. All three files are in the Mac Drop folder at Dickinson and in my shared public folder. Also had to create a new column called Citations then move data from Attributes in the column. Otherwise, it doesn’t see the attributes column under Nodes->Ranking

Right click and hold to move whole graph around.
Scroll to zoom.

On Right:
Apply filter to remove nodes without connections. Filters -> Topology -> Degree Range. Make it as least 1.
Under Statistics, run Modularity.

On Left:
Partition -> Refresh next to dropdown -> Choose Modularity -> Apply.
Rankings -> Node -> Size (diamond shape) -> Citations from Dropdown. Apply.
Layout -> Atlas -> Run (Let it go until communities are bunched)
Layout -> Atlas 2 -> Check Prevent Overlap -> Run (just a second to remove the overlap)

Click the first ‘T’, bottom left, to show labels.
Click the ‘A’ that says ‘Size Mode’. Choose Node Size. Label size now also depends on citations.

Done, get ready for exporting image.
Preview Tab above.
Select ‘Show labels’ under ‘Nodes’
Adjust font size just below.
Change ‘Edge thickness’ to ‘2.0’
‘Refresh’ at very bottom to see changes

File -> Export -> SVG/PDF/PNG
Choose PNG. In Options specify a larger size, I used 2500 by 2500 for large image.

Small Image

Large Image

Atlantic Slave Trade

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Data from Atlantic Slave Trade Database, http://www.slavevoyages.org/tast/database/search.faces

Evolution of the Mixxer

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The rise in the number of MOOCs in the past year has been nothing less than astounding.  Perhaps even more surprising is the uniformity of the structure used by 99% of these offerings: videos of lectures posted within a very traditional looking LMS along with a discussion board and multiple choice quizzes.  It seems strange that an innovation deemed to be so disruptive would follow such a traditional pedagogical model.

Having a course that is entirely open and online certainly presents some unique challenges.  The large numbers of students in these courses is no doubt the reason why their creators followed traditional lecture models.  However, along with these challenges come opportunities as well.  Their scale allows them to participate in large real world projects, alternate reality games, and simulations.  This opportunity to engage the real world is especially valuable for the foreign languages.

For as long as people have been learning foreign languages, access to native speakers and authentic materials have been valued.  As a result, educators have taken advantage of each new development of the internet.  At first teachers used the web as a source of authentic reading materials and later multimedia.  As the web became a communicative platform, teachers connected their students with native speakers as part of a language exchange, first via text and then via voice and video.  A MOOC in the foreign languages should not follow a model whereby increased enrollment is inversely proportional to the opportunities for feedback and communication available to the student.  Instead, it should embrace the open aspect of the course to foster partnerships among language learners, allowing each student to be a tutor of their native language.

With the Mixxer I have already created such a community.  Over 100,000 users already use the site to find language partners as part of a mutual exchange for conversational practice.  Some of them, including our own students, are enrolled in a traditional course.  Most are independent and non-traditional learners looking for an opportunity to communicate that otherwise would be unavailable.  For both of these groups, it would be very helpful if I could provide lessons that progressed from beginning to intermediate level grammar and vocabulary and integrated the language exchanges.  In many cases, the grammar and vocabulary portion already exists on open content sites produced by universities or governments.  I’ve begun creating these lessons using content from the British Council and Voice of America for English and the Cervantes Institute for Spanish.  I’ll use these lessons to launch a combination Spanish/English MOOC in the summer.  However, to extend these lessons and MOOCs to other language combinations that I do not speak, I will need additional support.

Thank you for considering my proposal.  I’ve created a very short video which I will use to help publicize the combination of MOOCs and language exchanges below.  It provides a view of the Mixxer website to give a better idea of how the MOOCs can be created within the language exchange community and describes the role ACTFL and other foreign language standardized assessments can play in the future of open language learning.

[youtube_sc url="fu0Z3vCqxuc" title="NMC%20Proposal%20Todd%20Bryant" fs="1"]MOOCs for languages can connect language learners and native speakers


Todd Bryant
Dickinson College