Some useful resources around learning analytics

As I’ve mentioned before, and also highlighted in a number of recent posts by my colleagues Adam Cooper and Martin Hawskey, CETIS is undertaking some work around analytics in education which we are calling our Analytics Reconnoitre.

In addition to my recent posts from the LAK12 conference, I thought it would be useful to highlight the growing number of resources that the our colleagues in Educause have been producing around learning analytics. A series of briefing papers and webinars are available which covering a range of issues around the domain. For those of you not so familiar with the area, a good starting point is the “Analytics in Education: Establishing a Common Language” paper which gives a very clear outline of a range of terms being used in the domain and how they relate to teaching and learning.

For those of you who want to delve a bit deeper the resource page also links to the excellent “The State of Learning Analytics in 2012: A Review and Future Challenges” report by Rebecca Ferguson, from the OU’s KMI, which gives a comprehensive overview of the domain.

@jisccetis – how others see us

Those of you who follow the @jisccetis twitter account will have probably noticed that it is very much a broadcast channel, used to send updates on our latest news, features and events. Those of you who don’t , or no longer follow the account, will probably have noticed that too, and that’s why you don’t /no longer follow it. Over the coming weeks we’re going to be making some subtle changes, and this post will try to outline our rationale.

As I’ve commented before, use of the @jisccetis account has evolved more by accident than by design or any kind of strategic planning other than “we should have one of those twitter accounts shouldn’t we”. Partly this is due to the number/ and activity of individual cetis staff on twitter; partly due to resource issues. We have been quite content with the neutral (or perhaps more accurate, silent) voice of the account, and not following back. We don’t see it as the “face” of Cetis, or want to spend time developing a corporate personality. However it’s always good to get some feedback.

Now Martin Hawksey is part of the Cetis team, we’ve been having some really interesting conversations around the @jisccetis twitter account – backed up of course by some of Martin’s google spreadsheet analytics. So whilst we’ve been content with our automatic workflow, from the other side it’s not always that useful for others. As Martin pointed out, he’s un-followed and re-followed the account several times, mainly because there needs to be some reciprocation. Why follow an account that doesn’t follow you back? What do you get out of that? It’s not great for your vanalytics.

So, change number 1, @jisccetis is following people now. Armed now with our found new twitter and google intelligence, we have a much clearer idea of who is retweeting our posts and driving traffic to our blogs and generally sharing our “stuff”. A pause here to say a big thank you to @nopiedra, @sarahknight, and @drdjwalker! Change number 2, we’re going to make concerted effort to say thank you to people more often for sharing our work.

@jisccetis isn’t about to becoming a coffee drinking, weather sharing kind of account tho’ ;-) It will still be primarily informational, but we are now also going to start listing followers where possible, and hopefully make the @jisccetis twitter page a bit more useful too.

We’re not concerned with measuring our twitter activity based on solely on increasing numbers – we don’t need half a million followers. What we are concerned with is ensuring that we are engaging with key members of our community, and also discovering what other communities we are tapping into, or not tapping into. Martin’s spreadsheets, and the announcement from Google about integrating social network data into google analytics earlier this week will invaluable for us evolve our approach to using twitter more effectively both for us and our followers. We’ll also be sharing our experiences, and our thoughts on using the data we’re collecting over the coming months.