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Discussions Report

See which students have original contributions and evidence of critical thought.

Steps in Snap: Admin > X-Ray > Discussions

Steps in other themes: Turn editing on > Administration > Course administration > X-Ray > Discussions

X-Ray Learning Analytics analyzes the words and student interaction on all course discussion posts. This gives you insight into the communication patterns of your students. It shows you who is the source of knowledge in the class and who is at risk.

This discussions report tells you the following.

  • Participation metrics: This table shows how a student participates in discussions.
  • Activity by week: This table shows how long it took students to reply on average and the average word count.
  • Most used words: A word cloud that shows the most words used.
  • Weekly average word count per post: This graph shows the average word count in course discussion posts per week.
  • Interaction analysis: This collection of diagrams show you who your students are replying to.
  • Word lap: This heat map shows you the percentage of word overlap between posts.
  • Grade recommendation: This table gives you grading recommendations based on the data presented.
  • Distribution of recommended grades: This bar plot shows the distribution for recommended grades.

Participation Metrics

This table provides insight into the original contribution and critical thinking of your students.

Original contribution is a count of unique words used. X-Ray counts all words used in posts. It then removes the stop words. These are words that supplement the meaning, such as helping verbs, pronouns, and prepositions.

The remaining words are then analyzed to determine original contribution. X-Ray counts the words and compares that number to how often those words repeat. Higher percentages for original contribution means less repetition and more unique words introduced.

Critical thought is a count of reflective statements with substance.

"I agree with most said, but don't think it supports the conclusion" versus "Me too!"


Activity By Week

Just as the name implies, this table presents student activity on average per week. It shows you the average hours it takes students to reply and the average number of words used.


Most Words Used

This word cloud uses the original contribution analysis. It is a word count of unique words used.

Where the words are is random. It is the size of the word that matters. Bigger words indicate more use.

You want the larger words to be relevant to your course content. For example, a sociology teacher expects to see "society" as one of the most used words in their course.


Weekly Average Word Count Per Post

This graph shows the average word count in course discussion posts per week.

The yellow dotted line shows you the expected average word count per week. The blue solid line shows you the actual word count observed per week.


Interaction Analysis

There are four interaction analysis visuals:

  • Interaction Analysis
  • Interaction Analysis With Word Count
  • Interaction Analysis With Original Contributions
  • Interaction Analysis With Critical Thought

These visuals analyze the replies between students. The analysis looks at who is replying to whom and how often. It also looks at the word count, original contribution, and critical thought in the replies.

From this data you can see the communication patterns of your students. It shows you who is the source of knowledge in the class. It also shows you who isn't engaging with the rest of the class and are at risk of dropping out.

The first visual, Interaction Analysis, shows overall student connection in your class.

Lines show who students are replying to.

Color shows how connected the student is to the rest of the class. The number of replies determines the level of connection. Blue shows the student has an average or a above average connection to the rest of the class. Yellow shows a below average connection. Red shows the student has not connected with the rest of the class yet.

Color isn't used in the other visuals.


Interaction Analysis With Adjustments

In these visuals lines show replies between students. The thickness of the lines show the quality of the reply.

There can be up to two lines between two students. One for each student.

The direction of the line shows you who wrote the reply. The lines go counterclockwise from author to recipient. Together the two lines form a loop.


Word Overlap

This heat map shows signs of Endogenic Plagiarism. This is when students copy or paraphrase another post without making an original contribution.

X-Ray compares all discussion posts and identifies the percentage of words that overlap. Words that are identical between posts. Higher percentages and darker colors mean more words overlap between posts.

Color allows you to see patterns in behavior. If a student has a lot of dark color, they have a lot of words that overlap.

Every post has a time stamp. The time stamps determine who the original author is and who may be copying them.

There are, of course, legitimate reasons to copy text from one post to another. A student may be citing another student in their work. It is important to keep in mind that this analysis only shows signs of overlap. Review the posts to determine if it is plagiarism.


Grade Recommendation

This table shows you a recommended grade for each student. It uses the following data to recommend the grade.

X-Ray suggests grades for forums but doesn't save those grades to the gradebook. You must add the grades manually, if you agree with the suggested grade.


Distribution of Recommended Grades

This bar plot shows the distribution of grades X-Ray recommends.

Blue bars show you how many students get the recommended grades.

It also shows you what a normal distribution of grades looks like. The solid line shows a normal distribution when the class average is C. The dotted line shows an adjusted distribution with a class average of B-.

X-Ray suggests grades for forums but doesn't save those grades to the gradebook. You must add the grades manually, if you agree with the suggested grade.