The intention of this paper is to report on the e-learning area in OPuS over the period 31st July 08 to 1st August 09. In particular, what did we add? Was our material downloaded? Is the use of OPuS and the encouragement of e-learning team publishing working papers raising awareness of our work? What are the plans for 09/10?
The e-Learning Team use OPuS to store our presentations at external events, conferences and workshops, and to publish our working papers. The intention is to use OPuS as a central repository of e-learning teams’ work so that other members of the University, and elsewhere can access it. Therefore, the key objectives for e-learning in OPuS are;
1. Make people aware around the University of Bath of the work we do. In particular, address a common misconception that we focus on supporting staff on technical aspects of using Moodle.
2. Promote the culture within the e-learning team of an action research methodology. In particular, the idea of developing our ideas and research skills. The longer term vision is these will feed into project development opportunities (internal and external), and personal development goals such as CMALT.
3. Develop awareness within the sector and beyond of e-learning at Bath. Build a reputation as a forward thinking, professional unit with the longer term aim of promote cross institutional collaboration and recruiting top quality staff.
3. Submitting Material
During the time period a total of 12 items where deposited within OPuS. Of which 9 were presentations at external events and 3 were working papers. Out of a team of around 6 people this was a good effort. I was particular pleased to identify material was submitted by the majority of people within the team. This should be recognised as a very good effort.
4. Access to our material
A review of the top 10 downloads from the e-learning area indicates there were a total of 1812 downloads of e-learning materials. This is an incredible result! Another very pleasing indicator for me is when viewing the downloads by type over the period 6 of the 10 were working papers. Also, out of the top 10 downloads it covered 5 different technologies (QR Codes, ARS, SMS, Twitter and Word Clouds).
To place our achievement in perspective with the rest of the University. A review of the top ten downloads from all submissions over the period indicates that e-learning holds the top three places, and have 5 items in the top 10. This is incredible as there are over 15000 items in the total repository. It can be strongly argued this level of us must be feeding through into people perceptions of the e-learning team. Given the proportion of working papers, and the evidence that we present are work to peers at national conferences this can only be having a very positive impact.
Unfortunately, we only have the data to interpret impact of our activity on awareness. However, a review of unique monthly visitors (I assume this involves examining IP addresses) indicates we have a consistently high number of people reviewing / downloading our material (between 150 and 300 per month) In terms of how people locate our material the data is a likely tricky to interpret. It is clear that 11% are finding us from browsing / searching within the OPuS system, while 35% are coming in from search engines. Of the search engine traffic 15% is coming from Google Scholar. The last set of figures is particularly pleasing as a driver for me to encourage the use of OPuS was it would allow people to find our material much easier than if we hosted it on our own web site or individual blogs. I think the performance over the period indicates it was a very good move to publishing through OPuS as it has led to a much larger number of downloads compared to using our own web site.
As a consequence of the traffic it must be having a postivie impact on the e-learning teams profile both within and outside the institution. In addition the breadth of material, and in some cases the developmental aspects of the material give a clear message that the e-learning team do not simply focus on Moodle support.
So where next? Do we relax and continue as before? The answer is no, the next year gives us the opportunity to further develop our working papers. In particular, continue with the use of OPuS. Encourage more individuals within the team to think about submitting material. I’d also like to improve on the quality of the papers. For instance, include (where appropriate) more theoretical underpinning, and have them peer reviewed by other members of the LTEO (I’m thinking members of the ASD team), and academics in Departments.