Connection not Content

A Blog for MOOCs and Other Animals

Comment Collector – Some Rhizomatic Results

with 7 comments

The Comment Collector was collecting nothing but dust until:

Simon Ensor @sensor63
@Gordon_L d’u wanna do some #rhizo15 scraping ? ūüôā

I hadn’t really planned to unleash the Comment Collector on Rhizo15 but was pleasantly surprised when several participants seconded Simon’s request. Now Dave Cormier has asked about rhizo15 comments in comparison with rhizo14 so I’ve pulled out the graph I did for a¬†20 day period¬†from the beginning of rhizo14 and compiled a similar one based on data collected so far for rhizo15.


KEY: BLUE = No. of posts. RED = No. of comments
YELLOW =  Comments per post x 100

The graph above gives some idea of how commenting in rhizo14 developed with time. This was no scientific study, particularly for the first few days when blogs were being added and no posts were too dated to be lost from a time window that was still being adjusted. The period from Jan 23 2014 was more stable with comments collected over a constant 10 day period up to the date indicated.


KEY: BLUE = No. of posts. RED = No. of comments
YELLOW =  Comments per post x 100

The rhizo15 graph covers a 17 day period from Apr 20 2015. These results are less reliable before Apr 22 when adjustments were being made, blogs added and the aggregation process just starting up. Although the number of posts (blue; over 10 day periods ending on the dates indicated) has dropped off by about 20% from a maximum of 87 on Apr 26, the number of comments (red) is roughly constant so the number of comments per post (yellow) has been rising reaching  4.6 on May 5. (NB: shown as 460 on the graph).

Again, these results are more indicative of commenting activity among a sample of rhizo15 participants rather than a scientific study. Originally only 44 blogs were scanned but this has gradually risen to 68 as others were added. This has increased the number of posts and comments but should not have directly affected the ratio of comments to posts (yellow).

In the next version of the Comment Collector all data will be stored in machine-readable form so that analyses of any type can be undertaken. (eg comments only¬†on¬†the original set of 44 blogs mentioned above or charting the daily incidence of new posts and comments.) Analysis¬†raises a number of issues, including the ethical, that I’ve discussed a little in ¬†‘Stitching Together the Fragments of a MOOC’ and ‘Collecting Connected Courses Comments (#ccourses)’ but have not really¬†addressed yet.

In any case, suggestions and comments on the performance of the Comment Collector ( rhiz015 output ) or its analytical possibilities are very welcome.

Written by Gordon Lockhart

May 7, 2015 at 12:35 pm

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7 Responses

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  1. Gordon, so good to “see” (read) you not just collecting but posting — and especially to read your the latest SF installment. Is this going to become a collection? (I hope)

    Blog post comments seem to be our primary communication zone. When the mooc connections subject comes up, I always think of you, Jaap and Scott first right off because of meeting you all moocs ago and still running into you every mooc or so. There are even some online learning connections that predate moocs. It’s like just one big mooc that changes names and moves around — like a floating crap game.

    I’ve blogged a few times but not always on the same blog and have not registered any, been trying to comment more. Committing a specific blog to a course has always been hard for me. There is probably a reason to tease out. If that makes me a mooc dilettante, so be it. I still do double time blogging and curating social media for contingent academic labor advocacy and not being in the mood for the blogging version of a bus man’s holiday.

    One of my former riding pupils has been writing me to talk about homeschooling her pre-teen daughter (on the daughter’s request). Among other online resources, I sent her the iBerry page. She says to tell you thank you. I’m thinking of recommending one of the Coursera pedagogy c-moocs. Maybe she and Sarah could take one together.


    May 7, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    • Great to hear from you Vanessa! There’s a few things I want to mention so I’ll move out of the primary communication zone to email – tomorrow as its midnight here now and just listening to the general election results has exhausted me!

      Gordon Lockhart

      May 7, 2015 at 11:44 pm

      • followed them on Twitter — not even mine and they exhausted me


        May 8, 2015 at 1:17 am

  2. Hi Gordon! Really glad you answered the call over there in Malvern ūüôā What you do with your scraper is really, really useful. Thank you for taking the time to blow off the dust!



    May 8, 2015 at 8:25 pm

  3. Once again… fascinating work Gordon. Thanks so much.

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