Tutor/Mentor Connection

Connect knowledge, volunteers, youth and make a difference.

I've been included in the 2016 IVMOOC. See client list. I was part of this in 2015. Below is how I introduced this a year ago:

I've been invited to submit a project for the 2015 IVMOOC hosted by the Information Visualization department at Indiana University. Visit the GooglePlus page for the IVMOOC to see more videos and learn how to participate in the project. In the video above I provide some information about the project.  This is the web page for the course.

Here's some background information, and visualizations I'd like to draw attention to:

a) I've been using GIS maps to show participation in past tutor/mentor conferences, which I've been hosting in Chicago since May 1994.  See http://www.tutormentorconference.org/ConferenceMaps.htm  With a map you can show how well participation represents the area where you seek to provide services, or from where you seek talent, dollars and other leadership.  The number of mapping tools has greatly expanded since I started using GIS back in 1994

b) Social Network Analysis is a different form of visualization of networks. It does not show a geographic distribution but can show different talents and relationships represented by participants in an event.  In the group at http://tutormentorconnection.ning.com/group/technologyinternswithtu... you can see how I've been trying to build a team of volunteers who would do network analysis of conferences, and who would build tools that could show how participation in a volunteer based tutor/mentor program expands the social capital/the network of both youth and volunteers, providing a benefit to both. The forum has a section where I point to other web sites that provide valuable insight, including those of Valdis Krebs who is one of the leaders in this field. He donated software for our use in 2010

c) Some work was done to map conference participation, which you can see at http://kalyanimisra.blogspot.com/2010/10/social-network-analysis-of...   Hopefully IU students will built upon this, and be able to look at more of the conferences that have been held since 1994

d) While mapping "what happened" or "who attended" is really valuable for planners to know who is participating , I think there is an even greater potential.  I've been using concept maps since 2006 to show strategy and goals. This strategy map is an example.  http://cmapspublic.ihmc.us/servlet/SBReadResourceServlet?rid=123872...  If dozens of leaders in every city embraced this strategy and stayed involved for a decade or two, more kids from poverty would be moving through school and into jobs.  

In order to make that happen, "the right people" or "the right mix of talent and networks" needs to be coming together.  This visualization shows the range of talents that I seek to gather to support my own efforts.  I think others could use the same map for their own team building. http://cmapspublic.ihmc.us/rid=1JNHCTXZ7-DY54MN-1DBS/Tutor%20Mentor...

e) As part of the IV MOOC I hope IU students will look at this map, and brainstorm other talents which might be needed to solve complex problems.  Then use this as categories to look for in doing an analysis of my conference.  I hope this leads to a tool that not only I, but others, could use when registering people for a conference, to automate the process of creating SNA maps to analyze who attended out of who needs to be attending, and to show who keeps attending over and over, which is the only way to build relationships, common understanding, and shared commitment to goals and strategy.

I encourage IU students and others interested to see how I write about this on the http://tutormentor.blogspot.com site and the http://mappingforjustice.blogspot.com site, as well as in social media forums such as Twitter, Linked in and Facebook. 

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Replies to This Discussion

I have been cleaning up the attendance lists for the past 40 conferences and I see surges of participation from some groups that were heavy for a few years, but not much in other years. One that was very heavy was 

Chicago Public Schools, who had strong participation while Paul Vallas was CEO of Chicago Public Schools. The photo shows him (second from right) when we held the conference at the Chicago Fire Department Academy. He was a speaker.

When researchers look at the conference lists they can pull out information like this.  One group I'd like them to look at is participation from other cities and states. People who came to the conferences in the late 1990s have gone on to lead, or help create, mentoring partnerships in Kansas City, Michigan, Minneapolis and Long Beach, California. These were just a few of the cities/states beyond Chicago who participated and,  hopefully, took ideas from Chicago to use in their own efforts.  A map showing such people would be interesting and perhaps helpful in building new connections.

Since January 2015 I've been serving as a client for an Information Visualization MOOC hosted by Indiana University. Four students have been looking at attendance data for Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences held in Chicago since May 1994.  Their final projects are now available.

This was created by Michael U.  He wrote:

The story that this is trying to tell is about history and trends in participation. The map depicts organizations as nodes, and each is related only to the Tutor Mentor Connection (the conference organizer). The size of the node is showing how many times an organization has attended: the larger the node the more times they have attended, the smaller the node the less frequent. The color of the node is showing how recently an organization has attended: the lighter in color (in the yellow spectrum) the less recent, and the darker the color (in the darker blue) the more recent. The organization affiliation is distinguished by the color of the node label: program in green, non-program in pink.

What I'm hoping this map helps show is: who is attending, how often are they attending, and how recently have they attended. Ideally answers to questions like: what organizations have come in search of help? are they still attending? what organizations have come offering help? are they still attending? These questions and answers might lead to follow-up contact to find out how things are going. Are effective and valuable relationships being built? Or, if an organization has stopped attending the follow-up might inquire into the reasons why. Perhaps additional help is needed, or perhaps different categories of help are needed. Answers to these might drive the campaigning of organizations to attend.

Notes about the analysis and visualization:

- the analysis was performed on the V6 data set

- the visualization was done using Gephi, and Inkscape

- the grouping of attendance by organization yielded 1776 nodes; this made the map virtually unreadable

- the collection was filtered to those who attended 4 or more times; this resulted in the 167 nodes presented in the visualization

Some changes I would make, given the time, which I think would improve the visualization:

- node placement: given the length of many labels, there is a lot of overlap which makes some unreadable

- implement filtering in the analysis so that we can add smarter heuristics: the range filter in Gephi is eliminating nodes based on count (attendance) regardless of the recency (year); we should prefer to keep the attendees from the 2 most recent years in the visualization

- add an indicator of sparseness and/or continuity of attendance

- add an indicator of the number of attendees (avg, min, max) from each organization

A second visualization created by the team of students from the Indiana University Information Visualization MOOC is a map showing participation by zip code.

Here is an interactive map that I put together.

http://cdb.io/1EtPDtw (Links to an external site.

(a second map is seen here )


This is map of the conference attendance by organization depicting the zip code that the organization is located in. The symbol scale is a single color value from lightest (meaning smaller number of participants) to a darker value (meaning a larger number of attendees).

The time scale is inclusive of all data from 1994 - 2014. The map was produced using Version 7 of the data that was processed to remove records lacking location information (mostly in the year 1994).

From this interactive map we can discern that the number of attendees summarized by Zip Code for the years 1994 - 2014. The trend is readily visible; clearly showing the center of gravity for participation in the Tutor/Mentor network has been in the zip codes in the immediate vicinity of the City of Chicago; with varying degrees of participation from outlying zip codes over the 20 years analyzed.

Processing Notes:

Software utilized --

The Zip code boundary files were downloaded from the US Census Bureau Tiger Line website.

Using QGIS (Open Source Desktop Software -- https://www.qgis.org/en/site/forusers/download.html) (Links to an external site.); the Zip Code layer was intersected with the final version of data as described above. The point file of the attendees was processed using the tool: Points in Polygons (Vector > Analysis Tools > Points in Polygon). This resulted in a polygon layer which counted the number of points per polygon.

The dataset was then saved to GeoJSON file format and uploaded to the online mapping system CartoDB (http://cartodb.com/).  (Links to an external site.)

This tool was chosen to display the geographic information as it provides a platform for sharing the information. The low-cost (free) account can easily be used to display and share gathered geographic information.

I was notified last week that I've been accepted as a client for this IVMOOC (Information Visualization) again in 2016.  I'll be sharing updates here and on theTutor/Mentor Blog.

I've asked the 2016 team to pick up from where the 2015 team concluded. In addition I've sharedthis map, created by a volunteer from IUPUI, that uses Tableau to show conference participation for each conference from 1994-2014. 

The Tableau map does not map to the address level, but only to the zip code level. My hope is that the team will duplicate this in CartoDB or Google, with detail to the address level.  

If you're in another city, the work I'm doing and the IVMOOC team is doing, can be adopted and duplicated for the same purposes in your own city. If you host conferences in Chicago or any place else,  you can adopt the conference mapping strategies I've been piloting for your own events.


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