Summarization Via Online Writing

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Information about Summarization Via Online Writing

Published on December 18, 2008

Author: nashworld



Presentation related to a little in-house research project concerning online writing. This is the first small step. We are wishing to more fully characterize the effects of online environments on student writing. This little mini-project uses the metrics of word count, readability and subsequent content-based exam scores.

The Effect of Online Environments on the Characteristics of Student Writing Sean P.Na! *

our context:

an authentic and WIDE audience:

an authentic and WIDE audience:

‘twas the night before a due date...

How do online environments impact the characteristics of student writing and subsequent achievement? measured by summative unit exam scores, readability, and word count.


• summary assigned at culmination of unit- prior to exam • student lineup by age- counted off by twos- split into two groups of ten • laid out comprehensive summary assignment: use all concepts, cite at least once source.

• differentiated assignment for each group: • group 1- use MS Word, e-mail product directly to me • group 2- add directly to blog on class network at: http://

• copy/paste each summary into MS Word to analyze word count & reliability • score exams • analyze all data in class with students • students & teacher reflect on the project in network discussion thread


(Table 1) Students who constructed comprehensive summary of nutrition unit via online blog post for a wide and potentially global audience (even group):

(Table 2) Students who constructed comprehensive summary of nutrition unit via MS Word document handed in directly to teacher (odd group):

a closer look... traditional online average exam score: 43.2 43.4 readability: 9.1 8.2 word count: 638 399


a typical “traditional report” count: 566 score: 50

a typical, “blog post”, or “post” count: 399 score: 51

*in contrast to the blog... here we see a “discussion thread”

“It appeared that the papers had a higher readability and word count, which I kind of expected because I think people tend to write more formally on papers, whereas the blog posts tend to be more opinion and informal writing.” ~RH

this: d lize orum uti n f s rk i cussio n etwo dis t h is r the y fo la r g el

vs. this: s to k tend os ts twor blog p i s ne mal e th e for wh il mor uti lize


•writing a comprehensive summary seems to be an effective pre-exam strategy, regardless of format •the nature of the summary seemed to do little to affect overall scores in this study •students writing online submitted significantly more concise summaries with smaller word counts

my inference: Online writing is a potentially powerful tool for summarization of complex content.

end. *thanks to DeclanTM on Flickr for keyboard image in title slide

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