Journal article Open Access

Finding a Common Ground in Human and Machine-Based Text Processing

Taraban, Roman; Koduru, Lakshmojee; LaCour, Mark; Marshall, Philip

Abstract. Language makes human communication possible. Apart from everyday applications, language can provide insights into individuals’ thinking and reasoning. Machine-based analyses of text are becoming widespread in business applications, but their utility in learning contexts are a neglected area of research. Therefore, the goal of the present work is to explore machine-assisted approaches to aid in the analysis of students’ written compositions. A method for extracting common topics from written text is applied to 78 student papers on technology and ethics. The primary tool for analysis is the Latent Dirichlet Allocation algorithm. The results suggest that this machine-based topic extraction method is effective and supports a promising prospect for enhancing classroom learning and instruction. The method may also prove beneficial in other applied applications, like those in clinical and counseling practice.

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