2016-17 Dashboard Prototype

This dashboard prototype is a real-time reporting system that produces data visualizations of Hypothes.is open web annotation. It has been prepared in support of the presentation “The Marginal Syllabus: Mediating Educator Learning via Web Annotation,” to be presented by Remi Kalir and Francisco Perez at the 2018 American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting (on Monday, April 16th in New York City) during the session “Emerging Technologies and New Media for Situating Learning Environments.” The presentation features findings reported in “The Marginal Syllabus: Educator learning and web annotation across sociopolitical texts and contexts” (Kalir & Perez, in review).

As a means of summarizing and visualizing open data, this dashboard is a first step in addressing four challenges associated with the design of open learning characterized by social interaction and collaboration.

  1. There is a general need for social media to design for engagement in online conversation (like Twitter replies, Facebook reactions, or notifications sent via an app or email), which may lead to, or support ongoing, collaboration.
  2. A second need is specific to Hypothes.is. As a tool designed to support open web annotation (Hypothes.is isn’t a social network), there are opportunities to show how open annotation – as a form of conversation and collaboration – can create social connections that grow over time.
  3. There is a need for open learning opportunities to provide accessible entry points for ongoing participation. In this case, open data from the Hypothes.is API is analyzed and visualized in real-time to show annotation as a social and collaborative activity, thereby providing entry points back into the original open annotation conversation.
  4. There is a need among open education initiatives to better utilize open data as learning analytics. This dashboard demonstrates how openly accessible data can be collected, analyzed, and visualized in real-time to provide insight about collaborative learning.

Created by data scientist and doctoral student Francisco Perez, this dashboard of the 2016-2017 Marginal Syllabus features:

  • A monthly menu that includes all nine annotation conversations comprising the 2016-17 Marginal Syllabus (August, 2016 through May, 2017)
  • A calendar that displays Hypothes.is annotations authored by day, demonstrating how the given annotation conversation has developed over time.
  • Descriptive statistics, including the number of active days, conversation participants, annotations, replies (a response to either an in-line annotation or another reply), and threads (or the number of instances in which an initial in-line annotation received at least one reply).
  • A “canvas” of annotation threads. Threads –  instances of in-line annotations that received at least one reply, and a proxy for conversation – illustrate how participants are connected with one another through their conversation. For each thread, directional arrows indicate conversation pathways leading back to the initial in-line annotation. Each thread in the canvas is also dynamic – the full thread can be moved around the canvas, hovering over any node will display the annotation text, and clicking on any node will open that annotation in the context of the original source text.
  • Real-time updates with the calendar, descriptive statistics, and thread visualization updated every time the webpage is accessed and/or refreshed.

A few final technical notes: There is no server required to maintain this dashboard, the code is lightweight, and other data scientists interested in using or extending this analytic method can contact Francisco about how to use this code in their projects. The code may be accessed via GitHub.