Activity Data Synthesis

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Tabbloid #3: 28 Mar 2011


Some noteworthy items from this week's Tabbloid:

#LIDP reported in the minutes from their first project meeting that they're planning some qualitative investigations (in the form of focus groups) to test their hypothesis. That decision was the result of the deep thinking they've been doing about the hypothesis itself and how they might hope to get anywhere close to considering all of the different factors which have an impact on attainment. From the minutes it looks like Dave Pattern is working hard to retain his crown as 'king of the data gatherers' (a sheperding role you are only qualified to tackle once you've graduated from the Cat Herding Academy) and is providing LIDP's partner institutions with the guidance they need in order to get data submitted to him by their fast approaching deadline of 23rd April.

Richard Nurse has published a couple of thought provoking blogposts relating to the #OURISE project. One reflecting on what we mean (and don't mean) when we use the term 'recommendation' and another on the importance of considering timeliness when establishing a basis for making recommendations. Richard's points about what a recommendation is reminded me of one of the JISC Conference sessions I attended which quoted a student who was interviewed as part of the OER Impact project:
“I do everything she [indicating a fellow student] tells me to do. If she tells me to look at something, I look at it.”
I come from a sociology background so maybe I'm biased but it feels like these ethnographic nuggets can be powerful reminders of the users' side of the story which might be sitting just below the surface of any activity data.

I spotted an open data event taking place in Birmingham next month which has the question of sustainable business (and funding) models at the heart of its agenda. It's primarily centred around data from national and local government but it will be interesting to see whether there are any solid outcomes in terms of establishing convincing business cases which might translate into the world of HE.

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