Karin Jolie (Canada), an expert in Internet marketing, founder of the resource Higher Ed Experts
, blogger at collegewebeditor.com
, author of the column “Technology” in University Business
magazine (USA), organized a new project in the field of higher education on the Internet and called it The Higher Ed Online Analytics Revolution.
The goal of the project is to combine key statistics data of visits to educational institutions' websites in order to get an opportunity to build on the experience of colleagues, compare exact data and be able to substantiate their work with specific figures.
Undoubtedly, another goal is to involve those who are far from this in working with statistics. Although Internet specialists are not new to Western universities, there are regular editors and content managers and social media specialists who were not hired during the development of the site, but analytical work on user interaction with the site is not always done.
According to a survey conducted by Jolie in May 2010 among 399 web professionals working in the field of higher education, although 95% of respondents track Internet statistics one way or another, but 72% of respondents follow the statistics less than 2 hours a week, and these are included and those 8% who do not work with site attendance reports at all. Perhaps, Jolie suggests, sharing statistics will revive higher education, and create a platform for future change.
The data will be collected monthly, the participants registered for the exchange of data will fill in the questionnaire, stating in it the data of their statistics for the previous month. Google Analytics statistics was chosen as the basis, and detailed explanations next to each item in the questionnaire, accompanied in some cases with video clips, will help to cope with data collection, even to those who have not yet brought their web analytics skills to perfection.
Unlike Western colleagues, who are willing to use free, but completely transparent Google Analytics, for Russian higher education this idea is not so revolutionary. The overwhelming majority of the sites of the RuNet use free online statistics, the data of which are displayed directly on the buttons installed on the site. Even if the resource administrator has closed access to detailed statistics, there are still loopholes through which you can learn some details. In addition, many administrators of universities' websites gallantly leave detailed statistics available to everyone, so the opportunity to compare their work with the work of competitors in “our” Internet can always be found.
But ... it happens that there are simply no people who can analyze the statistical report in detail, draw the necessary conclusions and make adjustments to their work. Frequently teachers-enthusiasts work on the site of our university, whose job profile is far from the Internet, and only the desire to bring light to the world justifies their workload in the form of working on the site. Often, the site of a university or faculty is created by a software company, and then goes into the hands of all the same enthusiasts who are engaged in their free time to publish news and answer applicants' questions. And, oddly enough, the sites created by students as a term paper or a thesis have not ceased to appear. True, after getting a student diploma, they quickly disappear from the horizon.
Probably, I am not a frequent representative of those lucky ones who are involved in the site at the university in the form of the main, and not an additional burden. In my work, I have to constantly start from statistics - although this is not the most obvious indicator of the effectiveness of a site’s work, but often the planning of routine tasks depends on it. All the statistics of my Russian colleagues have been studied for a long time.
Unfortunately, the websites of Russian universities are still located at various levels of development and therefore it is difficult to compare their statistics and draw some valuable conclusions based on it. You can not compare a well-updated site with a site where the news froze on the past six months. We still do not have internal standards of understanding what a university site should look like, why it works, for whom. And it's not even about the fact that the site should have a section for applicants with mandatory information about the provision of a hostel, but that so far not all employees of domestic universities are ready to accept the fact that the age of boards with paper ads is a thing of the past, but their current students prefer to watch class schedules through the network, and even from a mobile phone ... "there", on the other side of the planet, now many more people believe in it.
So, on August 11, the “analytical revolution” began in the western hemisphere, and even though 12 August came here, we can also make our revolutionary contribution to the development of higher education on the Internet. And this is not the only chance - these statistics will be collected monthly starting from the second Thursday of the month.
Driving statistics into the questionnaire took me about half an hour, the form was sent. The results promise to send in two weeks.Do you also support the website of the university? Join now!