Visual Analytics of Online Communication

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Department of Computer Science and Engineering

PhD Thesis Defence

Title: "Visual Analytics of Online Communication"


Mr. Siwei FU


Increasing categories of electronic communication platforms, such as 
instant messaging, Email, forums, and the like, have facilitated 
communication and collaboration among people worldwide. A large amount of 
online communication data generated by these platforms is collected and 
has accumulated, providing opportunities for analysts to understand 
communication patterns and facilitate decision making. An example is that, 
MOOC forums are becoming central hubs where students are able to interact 
with instructional staff. The analysis of MOOC forum data is beneficial to 
understanding class dynamics and preparing courses for the next iteration. 
However, such analysis is challenging due to the large, complicated, and 
heterogeneous nature of online communication data. Information 
visualization has been proven effective in understanding enormous amounts 
of such data by turning it into visual representations to exploit the 
pattern recognition capabilities of the human visual system.

In this thesis, we propose three advanced visual analytics systems for 
understanding online communication data in various domains. The first 
system, iForum, is designed to investigate the three interleaving aspects 
of MOOC forums, that is, users, posts, and threads, at different 
granularities. Second, we present visForum, a novel visual analysis system 
for interactively exploring, comparing, and tracking conversation groups 
in online forums. The third system that we propose is T-Cal, an 
interactive visualization system to understand team conversation data from 
different perspectives. All three systems are able to provide insights 
into user communication behavior for analysts. To validate the 
effectiveness and usefulness of proposed systems, we conducted case 
studies involving domain experts for all three systems and one user study 
for visForum.

Date:			Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Time:			2:00pm - 4:00pm

Venue:			Room 5508
 			Lifts 27/28

Chairman:		Prof. Bradley Foreman (PHYS)

Committee Members:	Prof. Huamin Qu (Supervisor)
 			Prof. Long Quan
 			Prof. Chiew-Lan Tai
 			Prof. Kai Tang (MAE)
 			Prof. Wenjie Li (Comp, PolyU)

**** ALL are Welcome ****