Several months ago, before I knew I was going to be directing the Edulink project, I proposed an idea to Andy Gibbons, the chair of the Instructional Psychology and Technology department at BYU, to offer a course on the use and application of web analytics for designing and improving online learning environments, and he loved the idea.
I had been teaching a course on Web Analytics in the Marriott School of Management (mainly taken by students in information systems, marketing, business), but I think this might be the first time any university has offered a course specifically about its application in online education (although I doubt it will be long before others catch on). [If you want to get an idea for what is happening, here is a link to our class space.]
What are my expectations from the course? That everyone in the seminar:
(1) has hands on experience with the application of it with a real case,
(2) has an opportunity to contribute to an academic publication on the topic, and
(3) that our experience together produces knowledge and insights that are greater than any one of us could have come up with on our own.
My experience so far indicates that using web analytics to make and test recommendations for a simple online shopping experience (with metrics like CPC and ROI, measured in $) is a little more straight forward than deciding what set of data to monitor in order to improve online learning environments. But lets face it, with most e-learning there is a lot of room for improvement! -It is pretty easy to see how there must be some beneficial ways that web analytics can help to monitor activity and create insights for recommending and testing data-driven improvements. The initial question of importance is to determine the right KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
Each of the participants in the seminar have already generated some ideas that I think will prove fruitful (click on their name to see their first brain storm of ideas):
Mary McEwen or here too
A combination of a summary of the class’s ideas along with my own thoughts over the last couple years of thinking about it will be forthcoming…
Questions for now:
For anyone who might be reading this blog entry –
– If you were designing and/or teaching online classes, for example, (as opposed to teaching one face-to-face and being able to see student’s reaction and adjust the experience in the moment) – what kind of things do you think would want to look at to help you make adjustments for the needs and experience of those you were teaching?
– Ideally what kind of things do you think you would want to be able to measure and monitor in order to give you insights into what is going well and/or what could be improved – (and for whom)?