• analytics,  Books


    I read Michael Lewis’s Moneyball over the summer (you’ve probably seen the Brad Pitt adaptation). It’s a great account of how stripping baseball down to the stats allowed a small team to compete against teams with much larger budgets. What is particularly intriguing is how this multi-million dollar industry was basically doing it all wrong. Mythology, tradition, inherited wisdom created a culture where certain attributes were overvalued, and others undervalued. Players who were invaluable to a team when you looked at their stats were passed over by every single club, because their shape was wrong, or they didn’t look right when they swung a bat. It’s hard not to read…

  • analytics,  digital scholarship,  identity,  Research,  Weblogs

    What do all these numbers mean?

    <image –> Bloggers, or anyone who maintains an online profile, have an ambiguous relationship with visitor stats and data. On the one hand we like to dismiss them as meaningless, but then secretly feel chuffed when we can outscore someone. I’ve tried to promote them as one way of measuring impact, but with the caveat that context is important. For instance, if you’re a blogger in a relatively obscure area, such as Barry Town football club, then your range is limited and unlikely to compare in absolute numbers with, say, a blog reviewing Apple products. I recently passed 300,000 views on this blog, over about 700 posts – that’s not…

  • analytics,  assessment

    Quality is the best gaming device

    [There are some games you shouldn't play – image] Gamification comes up a lot in higher education. It's a by-product of a metrics driven economy, as soon as you meaure something, and add value to that measurement, then people will find ways to gamify it. The measurers often know this, and the trick is if you can get people to do the desired behaviour through gaming, then it's worthwhile, for instance good assessment will mean that learners end up acquiring desired skills and knowledge, even if they game the system. But too often, gaming itself becomes the focus. The following are all aspects of gaming for higher education: Assessment…

  • #LAK11,  analytics,  conference

    5 things I think about Learning Analytics

    <Ed Techs go in search of data in the wild> I am at the 1st Learning Analytics conference in Banff, which has been interesting. I came not sure of what it was, or what my take on it was. The conference has been good, very interdisciplinary in nature (for which you can read 'I didn't understand some of it'). I'm still not sure about a lot of it, but here are five things that have occurred to me over the course of the past few days. I don't believe they're strong enough to say I've learnt them, but rather they are things I now have come to a tentative viewpoing…