End of Conference

October 31, 2007

Well, the conference is now over and I imagine Patrick and the rest of the team who organised it and made sure that things ran smoothly are putting their feet up, or fending off trick-or-treaters depending. The Yahoo Pipe was a bit of a disappointment as it only seemed to work periodically. They’re obviously having problems with their pipe engine. It is working now, and I’ve just been looking at the collected blog entries which is quite interesting. You can find it here but try again later if it won’t run first time. 

At the Houston meeting for Hewlett’s OER Grantees we have been looking at the way forward, and in particular a report produced by John Seely Brown, Dan Atkins and Al Hammond. In the report they end up with a proposal that the way forward can be best achieved by working on an Open Participatory Learning Infrastructure OPLI Initiative. More about all that including the link to the paper can be found at the OERderves bloghttp://www.oerderves.org. Before the conference they asked for comments and I posted about not being sure that the word “infrastructure” gave the best message. On arrival I found my blog comment offered as an example of misunderstanding and a fuller explanation of infrastructure as not just the pipes and wires was given. I was not too sure how to feel about being such an example but was reassured by John Seely Brown that the post was very useful to give them the chance to explain further. So I will be happy about it – though actually I am still not sure that infrastructure *is* quite the word that is needed I will practice dropping OPLI into future conversations and proposals!

I have just been looking at Steve Carson’s blog at the OpenFiction Project. In particular a post on Toward an Effective Understanding of Website Users a paper by Diane Harley. I felt both the paper and the blog entry made very good points and so I wanted to make a comment, but in the end failed. Looking back I was not the first to have failed as Stephen Downes had had some trouble commenting on an earlier post. I have therefore followed Stephen’s example and made the comment here on my blog. Not such a famous place so not sure it will ever get read!

Hi Steve,
Thank you very much for this post which pointed me towards a very interesting paper. On the openlearn site (http://www.open.ac.uk/openlearn) I have been reluctant to push a questionnaire because it won’t tell us about many in our audience. However just recently we used the access statistics to help us find some of those who had made significant use of the site. When people register we also ask if they are prepared to be approached for research purposes. So we used these in combination to select a deliberately biased sample who were asked to complete the questionnaire. These users will not be typical of the site but we certainly managed to get informative and useful replies from them. I guess this supports your statement “No, the survey results don’t represent all of the traffic to the site, but I’m not sure that information is worth having anyway.”

Patrick.