Cecilia Aragon

Spring, Summer, Autumn 2017

Distributed Mentoring in Online Fanfiction Communities

Led by PhD Student Meg Drouhard

Date & Time: TBD

Are you both a fan and a hacker? Are you interested in studying how people learn from online fandom?

This ongoing research project studies informal learning in online fanfiction communities. We are looking for a small number of experienced programmers interested in fandom to join an existing research group. We have already published one paper on our research (arXiv:1510.01425v2) and are in the process of submitting others.

We suspect that the novel concept of distributed mentoring plays a positive role in fanfiction authors’ development as writers, and this quarter’s project attempts to quantify this effect. We intend to scrape stories, reviews, and associated metadata from fanfiction sites and apply quantitative techniques (machine learning, statistical analysis, data visualization) to investigate the relationship between distributed mentoring and writing quality (e.g., grammar, reading level). Applicants must have spent substantial time outside of class writing scripts to scrape the web and process text, in languages such as python, perl, or bash. No experience in machine learning or visualization is required, although it is a plus.


Spring, Summer, Autumn 2017

Visualization of Large Text Data Sets

Led by PhD Student Meg Drouhard

Date & Time: TBD

The amount of informal text communication (e.g. chat, texting, microblogs) in the world is increasing exponentially. Submerged within this text data deluge lies a wealth of information that is potentially valuable to businesses, governments, social scientists, and all human communities. In this research group, we will develop text visualizations with a specific focus on visual concordances that can be applied to very large text data sets.

This will be a two-quarter directed research group with the goal of submitting a paper to Vis 2017 in March 2017. During the first quarter, we will sketch, stretch our visual imagination with hands-on design exercises and critiques, and build and test visualization prototypes in javascript and d3. During the second quarter, we will iterate on the research questions, refine our visual prototypes, conduct usability tests of our designs, and write a paper on our results.

Cecilia Aragon's Directed Research Group archive: