Need automatic diarization of audio files of tutoring sessions
October 22, 2013 9:10 PM   Subscribe

I'm flirting with the idea of having science tutors that I train audio tape their sessions and upload them to an audio analysis site, or use analysis software that counts the minutes spent each person spent talking. Apparently this is called diarization.

I help run a program that trains upper-division undergraduates to tutor first-year undergraduate students in science.
The best way to learn science is to practice answering problems yourself, but tutors (like teachers) really want to lecture instead of listen and ask probing questions.

I'm very familiar with education research, and there's a tiny bit on using "lecture time" as a gross measurement of poor teaching. When presented with the time you spend droning, I suspect tutors will get better at letting the students talk.

But I'm totally unfamiliar with audio analysis or software in this area. We're talking about perhaps 100-200 hours of tutor recordings per week, so automating this upon upload would be awesome.

Is anyone familiar with reasonably priced software that might do the job?
posted by contemplativenapper to Computers & Internet (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I do not know of any specific software, but I suspect that any software which can automatically distinguish between two or multiple voices for the purposes of analyzing one person's speaking time is going to be pretty expensive. As a math tutor myself, I also worry a little bit that recording sessions might make the students feel more self-conscious and maybe less likely to talk during the sessions if they know they're being recorded (even if they know it's only for evaluating the tutor).

I think this is a worthwhile idea - I know exactly what you mean with the lecturing vs. listening by the tutor and it is definitely a skill I have had to work on myself in my own tutoring! So I can see how this data could be really beneficial to your tutors. I wonder if maybe instead of taking a data-analysis approach, you could work with the tutors to have them take this on as a professional development project. For instance, a tutor would agree to record at least three sessions (with consent of the student) over the semester and after each recording, would get paid a few extra hours to listen back to the recording and write up notes of what s/he feels went well, and what could be improved in terms of student interaction. The goal would be to see improvement over the semester, and you could meet with the students to discuss their recordings and writeups. I think something like this, actively engaging the tutors in the process, could be much more beneficial to them than just being presented with audio data analysis. They would really be invested in becoming better tutors through their own reflection and process.
posted by augustimagination at 9:28 AM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

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