ALE-1 Unit 1: for 2017/18

Assignment 1: Small-scale Literature Review - instructions

Officially assigned February 5th, due by 4pm Monday 26th February 2018. Feedback due to be returned by Friday, March 16th


The first assignment is to write a small-scale review of related literature, discussing at least 3 to 5 papers in some depth in order to answer a particular question, for example "What is the evidence that Autotutor-emotions impacts learners' interactive knowledge construction?". Your review should include at least 1 paper from the Seminar Series 1 papers list, and at least one non-seminar paper. You are not required to use the paper that you presented in your own seminar. You may use more than 5 papers if you wish, but this is not required.

Generally, all reviews will cite more than 3-5 papers, but many of these may be "supporting" citations which point the reader to other work or which give background information about systems and concepts, but are not themselves being reviewed in depth. Any additional papers cited should have been read-- really read, not just skimming the abstracts!

Keep in mind that this is meant to be a brief review that gives a snapshot of a certain topic or area and begins to engage with the ideas and issues. Do not try to write a definitive review of everything ever written about that topic or system! That would be an MSc/Honours project in its own right.

Assignment length: You should not spend more than ~20 hours on this assignment. Your report should be 4 to 6 pages long (c. 2,000  to 3,000 words) because the task cannot be done adequately in less space than that. References may be in addition to 4 pages of real content, as are figures and tables (if you have any).
NOTE: You will be marked down if your assignment is clearly below this length (such as stretching 2 pages worth of text to take up 4 pages, via sneaky formatting tricks). You are  welcome to write more, but are encouraged to be concise.

Submission instructions: Submit the assignment using the submit program:

    submit ale1 1 assign1_surname_matricnumber_topic.pdf
(or is may be submit ale1 cw1 assign1_surname_matricnumber_topic.pdf)

where 1 is the assignment number. Your submission should be a .pdf file; this is the ONLY acceptable format for this course. If you do not know how to convert your assignment to a PDF or how to use the submit command, please ask a classmate!
Please include your surname, matriculation number and topic in the title of the pdf file - ideally call it something like        
Please also include your matriculation number in the actual assignment - otherwise it will be anonymous when I print it to mark it!!

Marking and feedback: This assignment is worth 15% of your course mark. It will be marked out of 100 points. The feedback you will receive is a marking guide (i.e. a rubric) that indicates how well your review has achieved various objectives. You will be able to see the marking guide prior to submitting your assignment, so that you can check your own work. You will also receive a short list of things that you are already doing well and suggested priorities for improvement (~3 items each) so that you can better target your efforts on the next ALE assignment.

If you have questions or are stuck: speak to me directly after a lecture. If you e-mail a question, I am likely to ask you to talk to me after the lecture instead, because it takes 2 minutes for me to tell you the answer and 20 minutes to type it (unless it is general question that applies to all).

Review topics:

Topics 1-3 all identify a broad area for review, such as "metacognition". Within each topic, there are many possible questions which a review paper may try to address. You must determine which of those possible questions your review will try to explore, and clearly indicate this in the introduction section of your assignment. If you do not choose a specific review question or do not state the question in your assignment (so that the reader knows the question too), this will seriously weaken the quality of your assignment and lower your mark. You are strongly encouraged to choose a question before selecting the precise papers to review: it would be difficult if not impossible to choose papers first and then try to pick a question that links them together! Indeed, having a question will help you to quickly sort through available papers and rule out the irrelevant ones, so that you are only looking at a few papers in depth, deciding whether to review them.

Note: the goal here is to address your research question in the review. This is a different goal from the SSS1 task, where the goal was to assess suitability for including each paper in a collection for UG students.

    Topic 4 already focuses on a narrower issue than topics 1-3, because it identifies a specific claim that the Autotutor-emotions research project makes about their system and asks you to review the evidence related to this claim. However, you will still need to state the precise review question in the introduction section of your assignment and make sure that you choose papers that can help to answer this question.
1. Discuss metacognition in one or more of the core systems. This is deliberately a broad remit; you will need to narrow it  to your specific review question by choosing to look at more specific aspect of metacognition (e.g. differences in types of metacognition targeted across systems, how student metacognition has been assessed, etc. etc.).

MOST related papers from Seminar Series 1: D, E

2. Discuss the role(s) of dialogue in one or more of the core systems. This is also a broad topic which you will need to narrow down to your specific review question: do NOT try to say everything there is to say about dialogue! This is also a broad take on "dialogue". For example, you may narrow this down by looking at different ways dialogue is used across systems, dialogue for feedback, dialogue meant to build positive affect/engagement, etc etc.

NOTE 1: Not all relevant papers may refer to "dialogue". Some may talk about specific types of language-based activities, such as giving hints.
NOTE 2: Students who are interested in the nuts-and-bolts of how system dialogues are actually planned/generated are welcome to discuss these aspects, but must be careful to present that information in the context of discussing what the dialogue tries to accomplish (pedagogically, narratively, affectively, etc.) as a part of the system.

MOST related papers from Seminar Series 1: A, B

3. Narrative in Crystal Island: This is a more specific topic than 1 and 2. Using papers on Crystal Island, sketch out the "current picture" regarding the relationship between a narrative-centred learning environment, learning gains, and other aspects (e.g. motivation, engagement, student attitudes to learning, etc.)? It might be wise to focus on learning gains and one other thing, rather than trying to do all the other things.

NOTE: You may want to start by looking here:

MOST related papers from Seminar Series 1: C, F

4. Claims about learning in Autotutor-emotions: The project website claims that Autotutor-emotions "investigates strategies, processes, practices, and environments that are likely to assist the learners in interactive knowledge construction, particularly at deeper levels of comprehension and problem solving." (quote from project site:
      Please review the claims and evidence about the extent to which Autotutor-emotions has impacted learner's interactive knowledge construction and "deep learning gains". You may need to consider qualifying your answer by specifying which groups of learners, and under what circumstances.
NOTE: As a part of this task, it will be very important to identify what the project means by "interactive knowledge construction" and so on. This may not be operationalised the same way in each paper!

MOST related papers from Seminar Series 1: A

Other instructions and FAQs:

See the review-writing guide for in-depth advice about reading papers preparatory to writing a review, and successfully writing the review itself,
available from the General Resources Writing-related guide on Literature Review Guidance.

Review structure: Reviews should be divided into sections, labelled with headings. Each review must include an introduction and a conclusion, and will lose credit if either of these are missing.

References list: You must have a references list with the full citation information for each reference cited. Each item on the reference list must also appear in the body of the work. You will be marked down if this section, or individual references, are missing.

Reference style: Please use APA style, Natbib, Harvard style, or any consistently-applied bibliographic citation style that include your citations as author(s) and year, e.g. (Alcorn et al, 2012) and NOT as bracketed numbers like this [1]. See seminar paper B (Kopp et al., 2012) for an example of the type of citations wanted here. While bracketed citations are common in most conference papers and many computer science publications, they provide zero useful information to the reader about which researcher's/ project's work is being reference or how old it is, requiring the reader to constantly flip back and forth between the text and the references list. Please help the reader out here!

Tables, figures, graphs, etc.: You are welcome to use these if you think they help advance your content and facilitate the reader's understanding. If used, these should be labelled and referenced in the text. In most cases, they will not be necessary. If you are re-using figures or tables from published sources, those original sources must ALWAYS be cited. Look this up if you do not know how to do it!

Notes about grammar, English, presentation: I expect all students to demonstrate their professionalism by submitting high-quality, polished, grammatically correct documents. Students who are concerned about their English are advised to leave adequate time to polish the semi-final draft of the assignment. Remember that additional help is available through the EUSA peer proofreading scheme (; if you think you might want to use this service, check now to see how far in advance of the deadline you must send them your essay.
    While minor grammar/English errors will not result in your work being marked down, substantive errors will lose you points if they mean that the marker cannot tell whether you understand the material, or cannot understand the point you are trying to make.

Even if you have previously done so, please review the school and university's guidelines on plagiarism and academic misconduct before beginning your assignment.

Academic misconduct information is here:

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