Hauptseminar Summer Semester 2019

Learning Analytics at the interface between School Psychology and Computational Linguistics

Last update: June 28, 2019

important note: This syllabus is under construction. It will be completed as we start the course depending on the profiles and interests of attendants.


Language plays an essential role in education. It serves as the primary means for communicating content and it is used by teachers to assess achievement and provide feedback. Developing language competencies is therefore a central goal of education, with academic language (”Bildungssprache”) being essential for success in any school subject. With an increasing range of language materials becoming available in digital form, from typed essays via discussion boards and homework in online learning platforms and intelligent tutoring systems to transcribed classroom interaction, the question arises how such data can be analyzed to understand and improve learning and teaching. In this seminar, we will start with an overview of the emerging field of learning analytics with a focus on second (or foreign) language learning and on its interface with educational and school psychology. The seminar will include the analysis of learner behaviour and performance in large learner corpora, before exploring analyses ourselves by integrating computational linguistic analysis and statistical analysis using R.


Detmar Meurers

Martí Quixal


Room 1.28, Blochbau (Wilhelmstr. 19)

Room 005, Fachwerkhaus, (Silcherstr. 6)





Wednesdays 10:00–12:00 (arrange

Tuesdays 13:00–14:30


a slot by email beforehand)

Course meets:

Credit Points: 4/6/9 CP in MA Computer Linguistics, MSc School Psychology or MSc Psychology

Syllabus (this file):

http://www.sfs.uni-tuebingen.de/ quixal/19/ss/la/

Course book:

The course will use the following book as a basis for the contents to be discussed:

However, other references will be provided and for your presentation you will be required to go beyond the references given.

Moodle page:

Nature of course and our expectations: This is a research-oriented Hauptseminar, in which we jointly explore perspectives and approaches on the application of learning analytics to educational contexts taking into account second language acquisition, computational linguistics and psychological aspects of learning. You are expected to

  1. regularly and actively participate in class, read the papers assigned by any of the presenters and post a meaningful question on Moodle to the “Reading Discussion Forum” on each reading at the latest on the day before it is discussed in class.
  2. explore and present a topic:
  3. if you pursue the 9 CP option, work out a project term paper

Academic conduct and misconduct: Research is driven by discussion and free exchange of ideas, motivations, and perspectives. So you are encouraged to work in groups, discuss, and exchange ideas. At the same time, the foundation of the free exchange of ideas is that everyone is open about where they obtained which information. Concretely, this means you are expected to always make explicit when you’ve worked on something as a team – and keep in mind that being part of a team always means sharing the work.

For text you write, you always have to provide explicit references for any ideas or passages you reuse from somewhere else. Note that this includes text “found” on the web, where you should cite the url of the web site in case no more official publication is available.

Class etiquette: Please do not read or work on materials for other classes in our seminar. All portable electronic devices such as cell phones and laptops should be switched off for the entire length of the flight, oops, class. Unless you are required to use them for the purpose of the class.



   Baayen, R. H. (2008). Analyzing Linguistic Data. A Practical Introduction to Statistics using R. Cambridge University Press. URL http://www.sfs.uni-tuebingen.de/~hbaayen/publications/baayenCUPstats.pdf.

   Chun, D. M. (2013). Contributions of tracking user behavior to SLA research, CALICO Journal, Equinox Publishing, vol. 10, pp. 256–262. URL https://journals.equinoxpub.com/CALICO/article/viewFile/22903/18924.

   Chun, D. M. (2016). The role of technology in SLA research. Language Learning & Technology 20(2), 98–115. URL https://llt.msu.edu/issues/june2016/chun.pdf.

   Gass, S. & A. Mackey (2013). The Routledge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. Routledge Handbooks in Applied Linguistics. Taylor & Francis. URL https://books.google.de/books?id=egzZ4PZbLwIC.

   Gelan, A., G. Fastré et al. (2018). Affordances and limitations of learning analytics for computer-assisted language learning: a case study of the VITAL project. Computer Assisted Language Learning 31(3), 294–319. URL https://doi.org/10.1080/09588221.2017.1418382.

   Lang, C., G. Siemens, A. Wise & D. Gašević (eds.) (2017). The Handbook of Learning Analytics. Society for Learning Analytics Research. https://solaresearch.org/hla-17.

   Link, S. & Z. Li (2015). Understanding online interaction through learning analytics: Defining a theory-based research agenda, Equinox Publishing, vol. 13 of Book Series CALICO Journal, pp. 369–385.

   Meurers, D., K. De Kuthy, F. Nuxoll, B. Rudzewitz & R. Ziai (2019). Scaling up intervention studies to investigate real-life foreign language learning in school. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 39. URL http://purl.org/dm/papers/Meurers.DeKuthy.ea-19.pdf. To appear.

   Rubio, F., J. M. Thomas & Q. Li (2018). The role of teaching presence and student participation in Spanish blended courses. Computer Assisted Language Learning 31(3), 226–250. URL https://doi.org/10.1080/09588221.2017.1372481.

   Schulze, M. & K. Scholz (2018). Learning trajectories and the role of online courses in a language program. Computer Assisted Language Learning 31(3), 185–205. URL https://doi.org/10.1080/09588221.2017.1360362.

   Sclater, N., A. Peasgood & J. Mullan (2016). Learning Analytics in Higher Education. A review of UK and international practice Full report. JISC Report. Retrieved from https://osf.io/mp47b/.

   Ziai, R., B. Rudzewitz, K. De Kuthy, F. Nuxoll & D. Meurers (2018). Feedback Strategies for Form and Meaning in a Real-life Language Tutoring System. In Proceedings of the 7th Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Computer-Assisted Language Learning (NLP4CALL). ACL, pp. 91–98. URL http://aclweb.org/anthology/W18-7110.