The great potential value of e-discussions for learning, negotiation and social interaction often remains untapped, as discussions can turn out to be ineffective or chaotic when no moderator/tutor is present. Furthermore, the characteristics and demands of the role may make it hard for moderators to be fully successful in their task, especially when tackling multiple synchronous discussions.
The Argunaut consortium was formed with the purpose of providing moderators with a computerized tool and its associated pedagogical methodology to support and increase their effectiveness and thereby the quality of the monitored e-discussions.
Argunaut’s Moderator Interface will provide the moderator with an overall solution for awareness and feedback/intervention options. It will support the moderators’ awareness of important occurrences in ongoing e-discussions via the “shallow loop”, which provides constantly updating visualizations (“awareness displays”) summarizing important characteristics of the ongoing discussion. The design of the indicators and visualizations will incorporate feedback from experts as well as the projected end users (teachers, initially), and will cover a variety of dimensions (e.g., participation, social engagement, critical reasoning), also building on the fruits of the “deep loop” AI module. Argunaut will attempt to characterize points or aspects in the process of discussion where potential moderator/facilitator intervention might be required (even before such situations become problematic), alert the moderator of these issues, and provide the moderator with intervention/feedback tools to address these issues and in some cases with pertinent advice. Several other functionalities are also planned, including options for text search of key words, specification of and search for patterns (e.g. structural patterns) and annotation of discussion contents. These options may facilitate both the online monitoring of e-discussions and the offline post-discussion reflection and analysis of these discussions.
Currently, the Moderator’s Interface is being implemented for two graphical e-discussion tools, Digalo and FreeStyler/CoolModes. Argunaut’s system architecture will be characterized by “openness” and adaptability (to a variety of different platforms, contexts and users). It will be configurable and offer a wealth of options to the moderator. We also plan on utilizing feedback from teachers and other moderators in our extensive experimentation and evaluation phase, in order to provide them with the best possible support.
We, the Argunaut team, welcome you to this website and encourage you to browse and have a look around. We recommend that you first have a look at our brochure and at our project’s highlights page.
Argunaut is a Research & Development project sponsored by the 6th Framework Program of the European Community, planned for 33 months from December 2005 onwards. Foreseen exploitable results include software tools, research practices, training courses, and more.
From the homepage:
The Argunaut project was formed with the following goals:
* to develop appropriate tools to assist moderators of e-discussions (automatic detection of attacks, of racism, of subservise argumentation, recurrent discussion patterns, individual argumentation difficulties …)
* to unify awareness, feedback and intervention mechanisms in e-discussion environments
* to combine AI analysis module with online realtime monitoring module
* to implement cross-platform: currently with Digalo and FreeStyler for education field. Later perhaps with M2T and Map-It, forum/blog platforms and, why not, Twitter.
* to study the moderator’s role, especially in synchronous, graphical e-discussions
As of May 8, 2014, the site is not available. An archived version is available on Archive.org.