Thiemo Wambsganss


2023

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Structured Persuasive Writing Support in Legal Education: A Model and Tool for German Legal Case Solutions
Florian Weber | Thiemo Wambsganss | Seyed Parsa Neshaei | Matthias Soellner
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

We present an annotation approach for capturing structured components and arguments inlegal case solutions of German students. Based on the appraisal style, which dictates the structured way of persuasive writing in German law, we propose an annotation scheme with annotation guidelines that identify structured writing in legal case solutions. We conducted an annotation study with two annotators and annotated legal case solutions to capture the structures of a persuasive legal text. Based on our dataset, we trained three transformer-based models to show that the annotated components can be successfully predicted, e.g. to provide users with writing assistance for legal texts. We evaluated a writing support system in which our models were integrated in an online experiment with law students and found positive learning success and users’ perceptions. Finally, we present our freely available corpus of 413 law student case studies to support the development of intelligent writing support systems.

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Unraveling Downstream Gender Bias from Large Language Models: A Study on AI Educational Writing Assistance
Thiemo Wambsganss | Xiaotian Su | Vinitra Swamy | Seyed Neshaei | Roman Rietsche | Tanja Käser
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

Large Language Models (LLMs) are increasingly utilized in educational tasks such as providing writing suggestions to students. Despite their potential, LLMs are known to harbor inherent biases which may negatively impact learners. Previous studies have investigated bias in models and data representations separately, neglecting the potential impact of LLM bias on human writing. In this paper, we investigate how bias transfers through an AI writing support pipeline. We conduct a large-scale user study with 231 students writing business case peer reviews in German. Students are divided into five groups with different levels of writing support: one in-classroom group with recommender system feature-based suggestions and four groups recruited from Prolific – a control group with no assistance, two groups with suggestions from fine-tuned GPT-2 and GPT-3 models, and one group with suggestions from pre-trained GPT-3.5. Using GenBit gender bias analysis and Word Embedding Association Tests (WEAT), we evaluate the gender bias at various stages of the pipeline: in reviews written by students, in suggestions generated by the models, and in model embeddings directly. Our results demonstrate that there is no significant difference in gender bias between the resulting peer reviews of groups with and without LLM suggestions. Our research is therefore optimistic about the use of AI writing support in the classroom, showcasing a context where bias in LLMs does not transfer to students’ responses.

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Reviewriter: AI-Generated Instructions For Peer Review Writing
Xiaotian Su | Thiemo Wambsganss | Roman Rietsche | Seyed Parsa Neshaei | Tanja Käser
Proceedings of the 18th Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications (BEA 2023)

Large Language Models (LLMs) offer novel opportunities for educational applications that have the potential to transform traditional learning for students. Despite AI-enhanced applications having the potential to provide personalized learning experiences, more studies are needed on the design of generative AI systems and evidence for using them in real educational settings. In this paper, we design, implement and evaluate \texttt{Reviewriter}, a novel tool to provide students with AI-generated instructions for writing peer reviews in German. Our study identifies three key aspects: a) we provide insights into student needs when writing peer reviews with generative models which we then use to develop a novel system to provide adaptive instructions b) we fine-tune three German language models on a selected corpus of 11,925 student-written peer review texts in German and choose German-GPT2 based on quantitative measures and human evaluation, and c) we evaluate our tool with fourteen students, revealing positive technology acceptance based on quantitative measures. Additionally, the qualitative feedback presents the benefits and limitations of generative AI in peer review writing.

2022

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Bias at a Second Glance: A Deep Dive into Bias for German Educational Peer-Review Data Modeling
Thiemo Wambsganss | Vinitra Swamy | Roman Rietsche | Tanja Käser
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Natural Language Processing (NLP) has become increasingly utilized to provide adaptivity in educational applications. However, recent research has highlighted a variety of biases in pre-trained language models. While existing studies investigate bias in different domains, they are limited in addressing fine-grained analysis on educational corpora and text that is not English. In this work, we analyze bias across text and through multiple architectures on a corpus of 9,165 German peer-reviews collected from university students over five years. Notably, our corpus includes labels such as helpfulness, quality, and critical aspect ratings from the peer-review recipient as well as demographic attributes. We conduct a Word Embedding Association Test (WEAT) analysis on (1) our collected corpus in connection with the clustered labels, (2) the most common pre-trained German language models (T5, BERT, and GPT-2) and GloVe embeddings, and (3) the language models after fine-tuning on our collected data-set. In contrast to our initial expectations, we found that our collected corpus does not reveal many biases in the co-occurrence analysis or in the GloVe embeddings. However, the pre-trained German language models find substantial conceptual, racial, and gender bias and have significant changes in bias across conceptual and racial axes during fine-tuning on the peer-review data. With our research, we aim to contribute to the fourth UN sustainability goal (quality education) with a novel dataset, an understanding of biases in natural language education data, and the potential harms of not counteracting biases in language models for educational tasks.

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ALEN App: Argumentative Writing Support To Foster English Language Learning
Thiemo Wambsganss | Andrew Caines | Paula Buttery
Proceedings of the 17th Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications (BEA 2022)

This paper introduces a novel tool to support and engage English language learners with feedback on the quality of their argument structures. We present an approach which automatically detects claim-premise structures and provides visual feedback to the learner to prompt them to repair any broken argumentation structures. To investigate, if our persuasive feedback on language learners’ essay writing tasks engages and supports them in learning better English language, we designed the ALEN app (Argumentation for Learning English). We leverage an argumentation mining model trained on texts written by students and embed it in a writing support tool which provides students with feedback in their essay writing process. We evaluated our tool in two field-studies with a total of 28 students from a German high school to investigate the effects of adaptive argumentation feedback on their learning of English. The quantitative results suggest that using the ALEN app leads to a high self-efficacy, ease-of-use, intention to use and perceived usefulness for students in their English language learning process. Moreover, the qualitative answers indicate the potential benefits of combining grammar feedback with discourse level argumentation mining.

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Modeling Persuasive Discourse to Adaptively Support Students’ Argumentative Writing
Thiemo Wambsganss | Christina Niklaus
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We introduce an argumentation annotation approach to model the structure of argumentative discourse in student-written business model pitches. Additionally, the annotation scheme captures a series of persuasiveness scores such as the specificity, strength, evidence, and relevance of the pitch and the individual components. Based on this scheme, we annotated a corpus of 200 business model pitches in German. Moreover, we trained predictive models to detect argumentative discourse structures and embedded them in an adaptive writing support system for students that provides them with individual argumentation feedback independent of an instructor, time, and location. We evaluated our tool in a real-world writing exercise and found promising results for the measured self-efficacy and perceived ease-of-use. Finally, we present our freely available corpus of persuasive business model pitches with 3,207 annotated sentences in German language and our annotation guidelines.

2021

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Supporting Cognitive and Emotional Empathic Writing of Students
Thiemo Wambsganss | Christina Niklaus | Matthias Söllner | Siegfried Handschuh | Jan Marco Leimeister
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We present an annotation approach to capturing emotional and cognitive empathy in student-written peer reviews on business models in German. We propose an annotation scheme that allows us to model emotional and cognitive empathy scores based on three types of review components. Also, we conducted an annotation study with three annotators based on 92 student essays to evaluate our annotation scheme. The obtained inter-rater agreement of α=0.79 for the components and the multi-π=0.41 for the empathy scores indicate that the proposed annotation scheme successfully guides annotators to a substantial to moderate agreement. Moreover, we trained predictive models to detect the annotated empathy structures and embedded them in an adaptive writing support system for students to receive individual empathy feedback independent of an instructor, time, and location. We evaluated our tool in a peer learning exercise with 58 students and found promising results for perceived empathy skill learning, perceived feedback accuracy, and intention to use. Finally, we present our freely available corpus of 500 empathy-annotated, student-written peer reviews on business models and our annotation guidelines to encourage future research on the design and development of empathy support systems.

2020

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A Corpus for Argumentative Writing Support in German
Thiemo Wambsganss | Christina Niklaus | Matthias Söllner | Siegfried Handschuh | Jan Marco Leimeister
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

In this paper, we present a novel annotation approach to capture claims and premises of arguments and their relations in student-written persuasive peer reviews on business models in German language. We propose an annotation scheme based on annotation guidelines that allows to model claims and premises as well as support and attack relations for capturing the structure of argumentative discourse in student-written peer reviews. We conduct an annotation study with three annotators on 50 persuasive essays to evaluate our annotation scheme. The obtained inter-rater agreement of α = 0.57 for argument components and α = 0.49 for argumentative relations indicates that the proposed annotation scheme successfully guides annotators to moderate agreement. Finally, we present our freely available corpus of 1,000 persuasive student-written peer reviews on business models and our annotation guidelines to encourage future research on the design and development of argumentative writing support systems for students.