Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pre-launch - Lunchtime

Just to say firstly...the Research presentations yesterday went fine. A couple of interesting points that were raised - I''ll just jot down:

- how do you research those that do not normally respond to research?

- importance of fast feedback and bite-size research

The Qualitative vs Quantitative thing came up a little and there was a bit of debate on this.

Two representatives from Hewlett were there and seemed friendly and constructive. Talked to Sarah who is the liaison person with Hewlett and was pivotal in building the relationship and helping to get us the project. She was quite excited about the launch and I felt the buzz myself despite that kind of restrained English thing.

This morning we had a briefing about the event tonight. K gave a briefing to the team about how to be good hosts/ambassadors etc. It felt a bit like the type of staff briefing you would find in an episode of West Wing. Much of it was straight out of Dale Carnegie, "How to Win Friends and Influence People". There were some bits that made me feel slightly embarrassed or that I don't quite agree with but I will certainly go along with the spirit of the thing.

In terms of being aware of all the things to do with the project the area of weakness for me is probably the Creative Commons license...I shall try to get to understand this better. I think I can pretty well remember the funny numbers/targets

-900 by launch date - looks like we've made this
- 5400 in two years
$4.45m with $4.45 pending
$1m from OU

9s seem to dominate these numbers

Labspace - got a feeling this is 5100 but cannot remember

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

OpenLearn Launch - Penultimate Day Part 1

Tomorrow it is time for the launch - with the big event in London - although the site is already up. This afternoon we are presenting as a Research unit to the representatives from Hewlett...the funders for the project.

I only have to do a ten minute talk and have prepared a power point presentation. I am reviewing the results from the initial trials. Likewise my co-researcher Andreias is also presenting. Don't feel too nervous but a little coldy. It might be just a slight sinus thing.

One of my concerns for the launch proper is monitoring the statistics. It looks like we shall have to use Moodle itself to do this. Patrick today has emailed me a load of info on this but I shall have to wade through it after this afternoon's presentations. If I can get it to work fine....I feel it is important, no vital, to monitor the first few days, weeks whatever. This is an area that has concerned me all along but has not been my responsibility. There seem to have been some problems relating to stats and the site particularly with regard to getting VBIS going. ...this however does not monitor internal traffic within the OpenLearn site, but rather where people go to from the site.

Anyway, I'll see if I can get something off the ground later

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

First tool trials and just in time

Yesterday we completed our first set of trials on the tools. This was not particularly easy to set up since:

i) there was only a short amount of time to set it up

ii) the site was not initially ready or in a 'just in time' state

iii) there were a lot more complex preparatory issues especially relating to equipment

iv) we have had about a day to feedback information from the trials to the team

v) I had underestimated the preparation involved.

These trials were more difficult to organise and complex than the first set by an order of magnitude. One of the problems related to getting hold of equipment. Some of the equipment is not necessarily readily available e.g. one cannot guarantee a digital video camera, there were not enough head sets in the IT resources department. It is my view that researchers should where possible be fully equipped with their own personal set of equipment including:

audio recorder
digital camera
digital video camera
microphones necessary for job
laptop computer
data collection and analysis software

Much equipment tends to be located in an IT central area....this is OK for general use but researchers need to have equipment readily available, when they want, and at short notice...therefore it is best to equip them individually. I am not complaining about our own IT section here but simply talking about the need for big projects to self-equip their researchers. I will bring this issue up in our section and am sure it will be sorted. I was asked before the project what equipment would be required but decided to wait and see.

In the end, despite the difficulties I felt the trials went really well and that we gained some good data. Our set of participants have really given us some good data.

By the way the tools we test were FlashMeeting and Compendium