Forest(s) for the Trees: Filtering Ponder Heatmaps

Ponder provides a place to collect and share your thoughts about your reading, but what to do when you’ve collected a lot of thoughts on a particular piece? Even tens of responses on a single page can get overwhelming, and groups of students often create hundreds, so we’ve added some tools to make it easier to navigate them.Familiar Tick-marks

We love our tick marks and the quick overview they give you, so you’ll find them in their usual place on the right side of the window. As before, there’s one tick mark per excerpt that elicited at least one response, and the colors match the type of sentiment. You’ll also still find each selection underlined in the page, so you’ll see and can reply to them as you’re reading.

Introducing the Ponder Sidebar

As before, clicking a tick mark or underline will scroll your window to the location of the corresponding text in the document, but it will also expand the Ponder sidebar where the new review tools live. (If you need to dismiss the sidebar, just click anywhere outside the sidebar.)

Ponder Sidebar

In the sidebar, you’ll see a list of all the excerpts from your groups. Similar to your feed, all the responses for a given excerpt are bundled together in a “nugget”. When the sidebar opens, the nugget for the tick mark you clicked will be highlighted. You’ll also see some summary stats and drop-downs – more on that in a moment.

Anatomy of a Nugget

The nugget shows the sentiment of the user who made the first response on that excerpt, in this case, badtz appreciates the eloquence of the statement “We are not interested in students just picking an answer, but justifying the answers.” Sidebar Nugget

At the bottom, you can see that 1 other user has replied to Badtz’s comment, and then a green box with a 1 and a yellow box with a 1. Each box indicates the number of responses with each sentiment type. In this case, Badtz’s response was a green/analytical comment. Clicking on the ellipsis exposes the details of the yellow/cognitive reply.

Replying and removing responses

Mousing-over the nugget gives you the option to add your own response to this excerpt (Respond/Update), or remove it (the X).

Embed Respond Box








Sorting and Filtering 

But what if there are a bunch of responses? We’ve added the ability to sort and filter to make it easier to review responses. At the top of the sidebar, you now see summary metrics for the document – the total number of excerpts annotated and the number of annotations on those excerpts. Using the drop-downs at the top, you can filter those responses by group, responder, sentiment, and theme.

The first drop-down allows you to filter the responses by group; for example, so a teacher can see one section at a time. The numbers in parentheses indicates the number of responses created by that group.

Group Filter





Want to see just your responses, or those from a particular student?  The second drop-down shows each responder, sorted by the number of responses they created which are indicated in parenthesis adjacent to each username.

User Filter





The third drop-down shows the mix of sentiments used in the responses, sorted by frequency (indicated in parenthesis), and allows you to filter for them.

Sentiment Filter





And the fourth drop-down shows the themes used in responses on the document, sorted by frequency indicated in parenthesis:

Theme Filter Dropdown






The filters work together and filter each other; for example, when you filter for a particular group, the other filters will only include the users, sentiments, and themes on activity for that group.

Lastly, underneath the filters is the sort drop-down.Sort Dropdown

  • # of Replies sorts the nuggets by the number of replies that occurred on each.
  • # of Themes sorts all of the excerpts by the number of themes that were tagged to each.
  • Controversy sorts the excerpts by the measure of disagreement based on sentiment and sentiment type usage on each.
  • Last Updated shows the most recently updated nuggets first.


As you can see, much of the Ponder power you are familiar with when navigating ideas across documents are now available for minute dissections of a single document or passage.

And don’t forget, these capabilities are all available for custom integration on your platform through the Ponder API.

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