Student Initiatives and Tutor Responses in a Medical Tutoring System

Farhana Shah and Martha Evens

This paper attempts to classify student initiatives and tutor responses in transcripts of human tutoring sessions by looking at the interaction between them. We define a student initiative as any attempt by the student to seize control for changing the course of the dialogue. Student initiatives are classified in four dimensions: the surface form, the communicative goal, the content area, and the degree of certainty expressed. (Does the student hedge or not?) The tutor responses are classified in three dimensions: the surface form, the delivery mode, and the communicative goal. We undertook this research in order to discover how our intelligent tutoring system could respond more intelligently to the student. We are convinced that the recognition of initiatives depends on identification of student plans. This represents a first step in our system toward mixed-initiative dialogue.


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