Opening up digital support for essay writing skills with OpenEssayist
This presentation focuses on the use of a natural language analytics engine to provide feedback to students when preparing an essay for summative assessment. OpenEssayist is a real-time learning analytics tool, which operates through the combination of a linguistic analysis engine that processes the text in the essay, and a web application that uses the output of the linguistic analysis engine to generate the feedback. The system itself was used by students at the Open University and an analysis of their activity will be discussed as they engaged with the system for their module assignments. A significant positive correlation was found between the number of drafts submitted to the system and the grades awarded for the first assignment. This cohort of students also gained significantly higher overall grades than the students in the previous cohort, who had no access to OpenEssayist. As a system that is content free, OpenEssayist can be used to support students working in any domain that requires the writing of essays.