Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Building on previous experience

Tony Hirst helpfully Twittered a Google search term for locating his posts on Google Analytics and his uncourse
allintitle: "course analytics"

He began (24 October 2007) with a focus on:
"four distribution (rather than average) measures that are useful for analysing user behaviour on non-ecommerce websites:
* Visitor loyalty - how often has each user visited the site over a given period;
* Visitor recency - of all the people who have visited the site, how many have visited in the last N days;
* Length of visit - how long do visitors stay on site;
* Depth of visit - how many pages on the site are seen on each visit"

His focus (25 Oct) was on "website analytics can be used applied to online course websites in order to gain a better understanding of online study habits and the bahaviour of students taking an online course." The length of visit figure gave an idea of how long students were long to spend online studying course material (approx 30 mins in this case).

On 26 Oct he focused on timing of visits. Students on the course appeared to be less likely to visit on a Saturday, and seemed to be online more at lunchtimes and in the early to mid-evening. Apart from these daily and weekly patterns, there were also spikes associated with deadlines.

This is a small dataset (around 100 students) in the context of the OU, and they were studying an online computer course which makes them likely to be atypical in terms of computer use. Still, it gives some broad hypotheses - students will prefer online material provided in up to 30-minute chunks and they are more likely to be available for collaborative activities in lunchtimes and evenings.

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