Looking Forward - Brandon Walsh

Looking Forward

Cross posted on the Scholars’ Lab blog.

As we move into the second half of our tenure on the Praxis squad, we are feeling the pressure to start actually making something. To that end, the SLab crew asked us to make a list of our priorities for Prism. Hopefully this will help us make a to do list in the coming weeks. The following was the list that seemed to come out of yesterday’s meeting, though it’s possible that other people could have gotten different impressions from the conversation.

These seem to be our priorities, in no particular order except roughly that in which they were brought up:

Types of texts – we’re interested in opening up the Prism framework to deal with pictures, music, etc.

Getting a crowd – we want to get a large group of people working with Prism, however that might be arranged.

Visualizations – we’re interested in expanding Prism’s visualizations to allow you to see the individual set of markings in relation to the crowd and to let you see one marking category’s visualization beside another.

User uploads – we want to make it possible for users/instructors to upload a text for marking themselves, which we see as essential for classroom use.

Complicating the sense of how we highlight – there has been discussion of complicating how the marking system works, allowing for a limit to the number of markings or a type of marking economy that is distributed across your selections to encourage different types of engagement with the data.

Design makeover – we want to remake the design of the site with an eye to usability.

I think my own priorities lie in making it possible for users to upload their own texts for marking and in possibly adding more visualizations. If forced to choose between the two, I would spend the time on making the tool capable of handling user uploads. As quickly became clear, any one of these goals spins off into dozens of other questions. What do we mean by “upload a text”? Will those texts be public? Private? How will we navigate copyright and fair use? In the coming days we’re aiming to get a sense of our collective ordering of the list.

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