Built as a Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) integration for the learning management system Canvas, Threadz is a discussion visualization tool that adds graphs and statistics to online discussions.

Online discussions provide valuable information about the dynamics of a course and its constituents. Much of this information is found within the content of the posts, but other elements are hidden within the social network connection and interactions between students and between students and instructors. Threadz is a tool that extracts this hidden information and puts it on display.

The visual representations created from social network connections and interactions between students and instructors in a discussion assist in identifying specific behaviors and characteristics within the course, such as: learner isolation, non-integrated groups, instructor-centric discussions, and key integration (power) users and groups. By identifying these behaviors and characteristics, the instructor can affect change in these interactions to help make the discussions and classroom discourse more accessible to all.

Screencast of Threadz

License

Creative Commons License
Threadz by Eastern Washington University - Instructional Technology is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Network Diagrams

The network visualization shows a typical line/node graph that connects users together. This visualization is useful to quickly discern any individual or group that is isolated or is a driving hub within the forum. The nodes in this chart are movable to help single out individuals or groups when the network of connections gets too complex visually. To manipulate a node, click and drag a node circle to another part of the page. To release the node, double click.

Network Graph showing total posts
Network Graph showing total posts
Network Graph showing total posts sent by individuals
Network Graph showing total posts sent by individuals
Network Graph showing word count of posts
Network Graph showing word count of posts
Network Graph showing individual posts/replies
Network Graph showing individual posts/replies
Network Graph showing post length
Network Graph showing post length
Network Graph showing unread posts
Network Graph showing unread posts
Network Graph showing late posts
Network Graph showing late posts
Network Graph showing isolated learner posts
Network Graph showing isolated learner posts

Chord Diagrams

The chord diagram puts a path to the connections shown in the other graph. The direction of the posts is represented by the thickness of the line. Hover over the outer edge of the circle on a specific user to display the number of posts sent and recieved. Hover over the line that connects two students to see the count of posts from either direction.

Chord diagram showing direction of posts
Chord diagram showing direction of posts
Chord diagram showing direction of posts for an individual
Chord diagram showing direction of posts for an individual

This tool was created at Eastern Washington University by Instructional Technology Design and Development.

Matt Lewis was the project lead and head programmer. Please contact us at instructionaltech@ewu.edu for more information about Threadz. In it's current state, Threadz does not support other LMS platforms besides Instructure's Canvas. If you are interested in developing Threadz for a different LMS please contact us, we'd enjoy partnering with you.