I finally put the finishing touches on Penn State’s Education Technology Ecosystem report. This document will likely live on the “SITE Research” section of this website until we move the blog and research page over to departmental webspace later this year. The first draft of the report (what I’m calling version .1) contains information on the usage of the Penn State Blog Platform and Wikispaces, our institutional Wiki install. Check it out and let us know what you think. Big thanks to co-authors Jimmy Xie and Cole Camplese for ideas and assistance with the analysis. Also thanks to Brad and Hubing for the data dumps. This project would not have been possible without collaboration between the Schreyer Institute, Education Technology Services and Emerging Technologies.
One of the highlights of the report includes a cluster analysis of blog users, which returns three classifications:
- Comment dominant users
- Entry dominant users
- Infrequent users
When we dig a bit further, we find that, over time, the entry dominant users’ GPA increases .06 GPA points from the time they start blogging, compared to .01 GPA for infrequent users and .02 GPA for comment dominant users.
The next minor update will add examples of faculty use of wikis and blogs. The next major update will focus on the inclusion of iTunesU data. Thanks to Brian in ETS for the recent export of iTunes data. Once the semester calms down a bit, we’ll be getting that data into a format to mash with the datawarehouse and see what we discover…
The presentation slides from the Learning Design Summer Camp are now available in PDF format. I’m working on the first draft of the actual report and I’ll be posting a link in the next few weeks where people can go do download that document.
Some really good questions and ideas were discussed during the session. Many folks were interested in the number of blogs and wikis that are being used for educational vs. other purposes. Unfortunately, that’s not something we can determine from the quantitative data; that will take a good chunk of time for someone to determine a random sample then go out and visit each URL to classify the usage of each space. We are hoping to get to that, but it won’t be any time in the near future.
A few notes of interest from the presentation:
- When examining instructor use of both platforms, ‘Professor’, ‘Associate Professor’, and ‘Assistant Professor’ make up nearly 50% of all instructor usage of Wikispaces. Those three categories of instructors make up ~25% of all instructor usage of Blogs @ PSU. One reason could be the flexibility of Wikispaces to be used for things like project management and research collaboration. Another reason cited numerous times related to IP; it appears that faculty see Wikispaces as a much more secure space for their intellectual capital (but the Blogs @ PSU platform does allow individuals to create protected blog spaces).
- When examining blogging characteristics and cumulative GPA of student bloggers, we see a significant difference between students that are infrequent users of the blog platform compared to those that tend to be entry-dominant users (creating several entries across several blogs, and staying active in the blog platform). When we examine pure means of these groups, the infrequent users experience a .01 increase in GPA from the time they first entered the blog platform to their most recent activity, where entry-dominant bloggers experience a .06 increase in GPA.
- Both these platforms can play an interesting role in elearning at PSU. Some folks are using Wikispaces as an elearning platform, which is an interesting idea if faculty do not have a design team to help launch an elearning course. Biology 110 appears to be fully built-out in Wikispaces (PSU authentication required). In terms of open courseware initiatives, faculty are creating some incredibly powerful online materials in both Wikispaces and Blogs @ PSU that Penn State needs to begin thinking about how these resources might be leveraged to enhance the breadth and depth of education across the system.
Please let me know if the PDF of the slides does not open properly. For some reason I experienced troubles opening the file, but other colleagues indicate it works fine.