Semantic Text Theme Generation in Collaborative Online Learning Environments

Online students’ ability to self-regulate led to focused attention and time on-task. Given a need for more theoretical work in this area, as well as the potential practical benefits, we sought to compare differences between high versus low-collaboration teams in an online assignment to determine if higher levels of student-to-student collaboration lead to higher levels of semantic writing. Specifically, we explored how the use of collaboration technologies such as Google Docs and Google Hangouts impacted the level of ideas generated while participating in a group project. It was found that in terms of total generated semantic themes, low collaboration groups developed significantly more than their high collaboration counterparts in both online discussions and post course meta-reflective blog writings. Learning presence was the only significant predictor of unique theme generation on the individually generated meta-reflection blog post.

Lumpe, A., Wicks, D., Henrikson, R. & Baliram, N. (2015). Semantic Text Theme Generation in Collaborative Online Learning Environments. In Proceedings of E-Learn: World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2015 (1679-1684). Chesapeake, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).



  1. Hi David,

    This is fascinating research! I like the idea of semantic text themes being regarded as another form of learning analytics. The definition of “learning presence’ could give rise to new additions to the ID process which certainly has me thinking. Perhaps we can chat a bit about this at NWACC this week.

    Kind regards!

    1. Hi Deborah,

      Thanks for the feedback. Yes, as a professor who asks students to write collaboratively I find total number of themes and unique themes generated to be more useful than current analytics available in learning management systems. We are looking for ways to redesign courses to increase learning presence. How can course design improve self-regulation? Are you finding ways to do this?

      Looking forward to talking with you at NWACC.


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