Paper: An Exploration of Off Topic Conversation

ACL ID N10-1096
Title An Exploration of Off Topic Conversation
Venue Human Language Technologies
Session Main Conference
Year 2010

In a corpus of expert tutoring dialogue, con- versation that is considered to be “off topic” (non-pedagogical) according to a previous coding scheme is explored for its value in tu- toring dynamics. Using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) tool, phases of tutor- ing categorized as “off topic” were compared with interactive problem solving phases to ex- plore how the two differ on the emotional, psychological, and topical dimensions ana- lyzed by LIWC. The results suggest that con- versation classified as “off topic” serves as motivation and broad pedagogy in tutoring. These findings can be used to orient future re- search on “off topic” conversation, and help to make sense of both previous coding schemes and noisy data sets.