Evaluating ocTEL 2013 with this year: What do the numbers tell us?
As we enter the final topic of ocTEL it’s perhaps not surprising that we, the ocTEL team, are also asking ourselves the question ‘Where do we go from here‘. Part of this answer is to look at where we have come from. Below is a graph I prepared recently comparing this year’s ocTEL with last year. It shows the number of ocTEL participants active in each week (active being classified as making at least one contribution to course reader or forum on ocTEL site). It’s interesting to see that compared to last year we had over 100 more active participants in the first week in 2014 than in the previous year (this is despite registrations being down from 1,400 to 1,000 – although the number of registrations is probably misleading). You could argue that this increased activity in the first week is in part due to how the course has been redesigned. In 2013 this week was a dedicated induction week for participants to find their feet. This year we combined induction with some course material and directed tasks. In the remaining weeks there has been a remarkable similarity in the number of active participants.
There are some caveats when interpreting this graph. One important factor to bear in mind is that the data is based on activity collected on the ocTEL site. This includes activity such as blog posts and social network updates collected in the Course Reader. Given the vagaries of this type of data collection including matching the author profiles to different sites as well changes in the way we collect this data the numbers should be interpreted as an indication rather than a statement of fact. Hopefully you are encountering similar questions as you consider the evaluation of your own TEL projects.