University editors will learn how to use statistics

    Karin Jolie (Canada), Internet marketing expert, founder of the resource Higher Ed Experts , blogger , author of the "Technology" column in University Business magazine (USA), organized a new project in the field of higher education on the Internet and named it The Higher Ed Online Analytics Revolution.
    The goal of the project is to combine the key statistics of visits to the sites of educational institutions in order to be able to build on the experience of colleagues, compare accurate data and have the opportunity to justify their work with specific numbers.

    Undoubtedly, another goal is to involve those who are far from this in working with statistics. Although specialists in working with the Internet in Western universities are not new at all - there are regular editors, content managers, and social media specialists who weren’t hired during the development of the site, but analytical work on user interaction with the site is not always carried out.

    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 monitor Internet statistics in one way or another, but 72% of respondents spend less than 2 hours a week on statistics, and this includes and those 8% who do not work with site traffic reports at all. Perhaps, Jolie suggests, the exchange of statistics will revitalize higher education, and create a platform for future changes.

    Data collection will be carried out monthly, participants who have registered to exchange data will fill out a questionnaire, stating in it the data of their statistics for the previous month. Google Analytics statistics were chosen as the basis, and detailed explanations next to each item in the questionnaire, accompanied in some cases by videos, will help to cope with data collection even for those who have not yet perfected their web analytic skills.

    Unlike Western colleagues who willingly use the free, but completely non-transparent Google Analytics, for Russian higher education this idea is not so revolutionary. The vast majority of Runet sites use free online statistics, the data of which is displayed directly on the buttons installed on the site. Even if the resource administrator has closed access to detailed statistics, loopholes still remain with which you can find out some details. In addition, many university site administrators gallantly leave detailed statistics available to all comers, so you can always find the opportunity to compare your work with the work of competitors on “our” Internet.

    But ... it happens that there simply aren’t those who can analyze the statistics report in detail, draw the necessary conclusions and make adjustments to their work. Often, enthusiastic teachers work on the website of our university, whose work profile is far from the Internet, and only the desire to bring light to the world justifies their burden in the form of work on the website. Often the website of a university or faculty is created by a development company, and in the future it passes into the hands of all the same enthusiasts who, in their free time, publish news and answer questions from applicants. And, strangely enough, the sites created by students as term papers or thesis have not yet stopped appearing. True, after a student receives a diploma, they quickly disappear from the horizon.

    Probably, I am not a frequent representative of those lucky ones who deal with the site at the university in the form of a main, and not an additional burden. In my work, I have to constantly build on statistics - although this is not the most obvious indicator of the effectiveness of the site, but often planning routine affairs depends on it. All the statistics of my domestic colleagues have been studied by me for a long time.
    Unfortunately, the sites of Russian universities are still located at various levels of development, and therefore it is difficult to compare their statistics and draw any valuable conclusions on its basis. You can not compare a well-updated site with a site on which the news froze over the past six months. We still do not have internal standards for understanding what the university’s 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 obligatory information on the provision of a hostel, but that far from all employees of domestic universities are ready to accept the fact that the age of whiteboards with paper ads is a thing of the past, but their current students prefer to watch class schedules via the network, and even from a mobile phone ... "there", on the other side of the planet, now much more people believe in it.

    So, on August 11, the “analytical revolution” began in the Western Hemisphere, and although August 12 has already begun, we can also make our revolutionary contribution to the development of higher education on the Internet. And this is not the only chance - 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. Results promise to send in two weeks.
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