Using word clouds for fast, formative assessment of students' short written responses

Bill J. Brooks, Debra M. Gilbuena, Stephen Krause, Milo D. Koretsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Imagine your department chair has just assigned you to teach Material and Energy Balances, a required course that has grown considerably in enrollment for the last several years. You taught it a few years ago and used ConcepTests[11] for in-class active learning with reasonable success. You plan to use them again this time around. You recently attended a professional development seminar that described the learning benefits of asking your students to write explanations and reflections. It sounds like a great idea, so you decide to have your students write explanations to justify their answer choices to their ConcepTests. You try it the first week of class. After class you are checking out the responses, plotting the answer distributions, and then it hits you. You see the 250 written explanations. It is going to take hours to read and analyze all of these explanations! If you don't read them, will your students take them seriously? Will they continue to reflect and get the most out of them? If you do take the time to read all of them, what are you sacrificing? What part of your class preparation are you giving up? What do you do?.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-198
Number of pages9
JournalChemical Engineering Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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