Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tag clouds.. my new addiction

I wanted to share with you my addition to word clouds! I have been looking for graphical tools that I can use to summarize the information I collect from the Discussion Boards  on my Stats class (MAT120). Usually, I get the students to read a couple of other people's posts because that is stated in the assignment. Very few will read or comment on more than two. Then I remember the sight of a tag cloud a while ago in Wikipedia. Looking again in Wikipedia, I found a definition, short history, and description of the visual object:

"A tag cloud (word cloud, or weighted list in visual design) is a visual representation for text data, typically used to depict keywords metadata (tags) on websites, or to visualize free form text."

You can find details and read more about the usage, history, and creation of this visual object in here.

I always like the visual effect of a word cloud. It is very comprehensive and active, eyes never stop moving discovering new words of different sizes. It is almost like the same feeling for my eyes as I start looking for the first star at dawn, and there is never just one in the sky. In the case of the word cloud, size of the word represents its frequency in the source text.

Word tags can be easily made using many online applications. I use http://www.wordle.net because is simple to use.

The cloud below was created from the text of our Blog (for a better view click here):
I also include below two word clouds corresponding to the first two discussion boards of my statistics class. Maybe you can guess the topic of our discussions.

Word cloud for first Statistics (MAT120)  Discussion Board, Spring 2013. Click here for a better view.
Word cloud for second Statistics (MAT120) Discussion Board, Spring 2013. Click here for a better view.


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